Working Group C

Working Groups

Working Group C

Agile Anti-Patterns with Government Programs and Contracts


Wednesday – February 28, 2024
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM PT


The purpose of the workshop is to create a forum where workshop participants can share their experiences and raise their questions about anti-pattern behavior in Agile programs, and workshop subject matter experts (SMEs) can facilitate a discussion to identify best practices in dealing with anti-pattern behavior. An “anti-pattern” behavior is a process or technique that someone uses because they think the technique or process is correct – but is not and creates a hindrance to accomplishing their goal.

Proposed Format: The workshop will use a variety of techniques to accomplish the objectives laid out in the purpose statement above.

  • Discussion Panel (~30 Minutes) – The SMEs will speak on common examples of anti-pattern behavior to “prime” the participants to share their own experiences.
  • Small Group Exercise (~1 Hour) – The SMEs will break the participants into small groups to answer previously prepared questions from the SMEs
  • Facilitated “What If?” Scenario Discussions (~2.5 Hours) – SMEs will lay out a scenario and facilitate a discussion of options and potential outcomes.

Topics for Discussion: The audience will determine a subset from the assortment of topics below to apply the three techniques identified above for this workshop that may include:

Agile Contracts and Requirements such as:

  • Micromanagement of Agile requirements in the Statement of Work (SOW)
  • Codification instead of recommendation of Agile Ceremonies
  • Not setting up the Agile terms correctly (e.g., matching organization’s contracting requirements with Epics)

Agile Cost and Schedule

  • Identifying the cost of the program vs cost of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) vs cost of the Minimum Marketable Product (MMP)
  • Endearing your program and building trust with your customer organization – the Agile and Earned Value Management (EVM) relationship
  • Appropriate scheduling practices with Agile and US Government standard milestones

Agile Architecture, Programmatics, and Quality Control:

  • Agile Architecture
  • Agile Architecture Governance
  • Backlog
  • Program Increment (PI) Planning Events

Agile Programmatic, Integration:

  • Agile success patterns that work for micro or small projects but become anti-patterns at scale.
  • We don’t need configuration management, we’re agile! Creating a culture of trunk development.
  • Business value as an anti-pattern for government. Industry typically uses ”cost of delay” (usually defined as delayed profits/business value) to define priority; government usually doesn’t have that rubric, how do you define ”mission value?”
Leads Timmie McArthur, Brook Cavell,  and Curt Holmer,  The Aerospace Corporation


Timmie McArthur – is a Senior Engineering Specialist in the Ground Communication Division within the Infrastructure Services and Operations Directorate. She has over 35 years of experience supporting the federal government across a spectrum of customers, including 8 years advising the government on agile and scaled agile topics. Ms. McArthur has been a certified Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Agilist since 2016.

Brook Cavell – is a Senior Engineering Specialist in the Systems Engineering Division within the Acquisition Analysis and Planning Subdivision. He has 25 years of experience in engineering supporting industry and federal agencies and over 20 years in Agile experience. He is a Program Management Institute (PMI) Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®), Project Management Professional (PMP®), and certified SAFe Agilist for government. Mr. Cavell started his career as an agile developer practicing extreme programming, then became a program manager for a government software portfolio.

Curt Holmer – is a Senior Project Leader in the Ground Communication Division within the Infrastructure Services and Operations Directorate. He has 30 years of experience in system and software engineering supporting industry and federal agencies. Mr. Holmer is certified in several programming languages, holds PMI certifications for both PMP and ACP, and is a certified SAFe Program Consultant (SPC).