Meeting Speaker Alan Benson: Integration of Agile Principles into the Systems Engineering Lifecycle Model
Abstract: This presentation is about State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) experience integrating Agile principles into the Systems Engineering Lifecycle Model for software intensive projects. Caltrans has found that there is increased stakeholder involvement, immediate validation, faster deliveries of functionality, and reduced rework cycle time by integrating certain Agile principles into the design, development, and integration phases of the project. Traditional (waterfall) software development lifecycle where, the total set of requirements were given to the Contractor, and complete functionality returned created several issues including, the length of time it took to see any demonstration of functionality, and the increased rework cycle times, discourages stakeholder involvement thereby settling for less than envisioned functionality.
Caltrans is not in the software development business but focuses on deliverables, therefore, Caltrans contracts for software development services and provides guidance on what is required and when. By setting up Agile principles as guidance, the Contractor can continue to use their internal development process but required to demonstrate functionality bi-weekly. This good Project Management principle is augmented with good Systems Engineering in that the Contractor must decompose functionality down into 2-week cycles of demonstrable functionality. In addition, the documentation is updated in a timely manner, and the stakeholders are continuously engaged in two ways, one by witnessing the bi-weekly demonstrations and offering immediate feedback or validation of the feature and two, when the feature is completed it is hosted on a test server for the stakeholders to evaluate while the Contractor completes the documentation.
Bio: Alan Benson currently serves as the Project Manager for the Caltrans Advanced Transportation Management System (ATMS). In this role, he is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the project including interaction between Caltrans multi-Division Headquarters and District personnel. Since 1993, Alan has worked in the Headquarters Division of Traffic Operation where he is responsible for the statewide support of the ATMS. Alan developed the first Systems Engineering (SE) process for the Division of Traffic Operations in 2000. Alan received a Bachelor of Science in Electronic and Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Robotics and Automation in 1992 from the California State University, Sacramento.