Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Agile Manifesto:

Recently I read an article titled:

The article is an overview of Agile and how it may work within the Department of Defense and how it could be incorporated into a PMO setting.  Within the article there is a small part that mentions that the Air Force has tried Agile methodologies for a couple of small projects and they have come up with their own Agile Manifesto (here is part of it):

THE FIST MANIFESTO (Fast, Inexpensive, Simple, Tiny) 

System development projects should be done by the smallest possible team of talented people, using a short schedule, a small budget and mature technologies to deliver innovative solutions to urgent needs. 

This approach is called FIST: Fast, In-expensive, Simple, Tiny. 

Short timelines increase agility and stabilize requirements, technology, budgets and people. Short timelines also force accountability, ownership and learning. To maintain short timelines, a project must also exercise restraint over budgets, complexity and size. Increases to the project’s budget, complexity or size inevitably reduce its speed.

Accordingly, the FIST approach advocates the following: 

  • Minimize team size, maximize team talent.
  • Use schedules and budgets to constrain the design.
  • Insist on simplicity in organizations, processes and technologies.
  • Incentivize and reward under-runs.
  • Requirements must be achievable within short time horizons.
  • Designs must only include mature technologies.
  • Documents and meetings must be short. Have as many as necessary, as few as possible.
  • Delivering useful capabilities is the only measure of success.


  1. Ryan,

    There are several "killer" conditions. The first is "only mature technology."

  2. What does "only mature technology" mean? A known system with easy and straight forward requirements?

  3. In the defense world there are Technology Readiness Levels..


    Project with High technology readiness level (TRL) are "simple," many times butt simple. These are places where F.I.S.T excels.

    While Dan has some interesting ideas, he is not a Program Manager, nor works programs with developmental aspects.

    Kinda reminds me of the very early days of agile where a simple project was a raving success for XP and the people then extended that "win example" to every project on the planet.

    Glad to see he's putting boundaries on the success criteria. Those 8 conditions are rare in the DoD acquisition world.

    Dan's got great ideas, they just need feedback test of the "real world" to establish a the sweet spot for their applicability.

  4. Ryan,

    The bigger question which Dan doesn't answer is:
    From the population of all project in the domain (his is DoD USAF procurement) how many are candidates for the FIST approach?

    This is a question that needs to be asked for all suggested methods. This moves the discussion from anecdotal example to business decision making.


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