Why Government Contractors Need Agile Working Practices

Organisations that deal with government agencies are facing a new wave of challenges. Small and medium sized contractors are feeling the bulk of these new tensions, but many of the issues apply to contractors of all sizes.

Some of the current challenges facing contractors include:

Government agencies are tightening their belts

This means there are fewer projects going around, and contracting officers are often under-trained and overworked. This, coupled with the pressure to do more with less, is affecting officers’ ability to make the best decisions for a project.


A degree of automation is creeping into the tendering process, meaning that groups of potential bidders will be pre-qualified for tasks. For those outside the favoured pool, this makes the bidding process almost impossible.

Solutions, not purchases

Government is now less interested in making purchases than it is in looking for solutions. This means that bidders need to develop substantial “value add” capabilities and find staff with deep government-related skill sets to implement the solutions.

How does agile working help manage government projects?

Many of the challenges organisations face with regards to government contract projects can be resolved by adopting agile methodologies, particularly the Scrum approach.

The Scrum framework has been gaining a lot of steam in recent years thanks to the emphasis that it places on collaboration, iterative development and meeting evolving requirements over time.

4 advantages of using Scrum

1. Meeting evolving needs

What does this mean from a government perspective? In short, the Scrum methodology is compatible with the government push for solutions, rather than products. The iterative nature, and ability for Scrum projects to meet evolving requirements over time allows a government agency to take a broader approach to tenders.

Rather than offer a single technology-driven solution for a single problem, the contracts instead allow contractors to provide a degree of “future proofing” by designing a solution that can be scaled to the agency’s changing needs.

2. Win-win situation

This benefits the contractor, too, since it provides them with the potential for an ongoing project. Additionally, this form of project is a more effective way to ensure that the development and delivery of the project meets or exceeds the baseline expectations of the client.

In short, the client gets a more efficient service when the contracted agency is able to iterate on the product based on the unique needs of the client, as opposed to the submission of outputs that only meets the initial requirements.

Learn how Amazon and Spotify used agile methodology to improve the way they work

3. Better evaluation

Another important benefit of adopting the Scrum approach is that the development team will be afforded a better opportunity to properly evaluate the requirements of the government client, and establish a more accurate project schedule.

This is because Scrum projects are focused around the schedule of rollouts and iterations, rather than an attempt to finalise the project in a single instance and then provide an ongoing support contract afterwards.

Additionally, the iterative approach to development means that there’s a great deal of transparency between developers and the government agencies, and this in turn facilitates better communication and outcomes for the government client.

4. One size fits all

Another critical benefit gained with the Scrum methodology is that it is easily reusable across a wide range of government projects – mobile application development and websites right through to data transfer projects and audits. They can all be managed through a Scrum project management framework to improve the overall results of the project.

For the contractors, adjusting the approach to become Scrum-orientated couldn’t be easier. By becoming a certified Scrum Master, you will be armed with advanced knowledge and techniques to efficiently manage large-scale government projects under the Scrum banner.

Learn more about becoming a Professional Scrum Master

Arm yourself with Scrum knowledge with ALC Training

If your business works with government bodies, then meeting their evolving needs in an increasingly-complex and competitive space is important. Now is the time to adopt the Scrum methodology in your business. Contact the team at ALC Training to begin the training process.