Agile Lifecycle Process Model

The following is a proactively tailored acquisition model to apply Agile development practices within the Defense Acquisition System, in compliance with DoDI 5000.02. Tailored acquisition models provide targeted, useful guidance on how to acquire a specific type of product or service, taking the guesswork out of the tailoring process. The model has already been filtered to provide the key information and process steps needed under each acquisition phase to best execute an acquisition for Agile IT development. This proactively tailored model is designed to offer a solid starting point for programs; it is not intended to be a standard solution for all programs applying Agile practices. This guidance via these pages should be used as a reference point in designing acquisition strategies.

Agile Model Overview

An Agile acquisition is a process to rapidly and iteratively develop IT capabilities leveraging concepts from Agile software development and related methodologies.  It is used for development and/or customization of COTS/GOTS software applications via small, frequent releases.  The software will generally be hosted on an existing COTS/GOTS platform or established military hardware.  This model is designed to be dynamic enough to respond to changes in operations, technologies, and budgets.  Some of the key characteristics of Agile IT development include:

  • A dynamic process to regularly update, refine, and reprioritize requirements
  • Active user engagement throughout the design, development, and testing process to provide insight on operations and feedback on capabilities
  • Contract strategy and timelines that support requirements changes and frequent capability releases
  • Integrated testing often automated across the lifecycle to support short timelines
  • Development and certification environment that supports rapid transition to operations
  • Designed to enterprise architectures, common standards, and interfaces
  • Emphasis is placed on working software vice extensive documentation

For those that are looking for further definition and background on the fundamentals of Agile, visit the Agile Overview page which further describes Agile methods, integrating Agile in the DoD acquisition environment, the prerequisites for Agile Acquisition, and embracing the Agile culture. The information published on this site is an iterative update to MITRE’s Defense Agile Acquisition Guide published in 2014.

How to Use This Model

This acquisition model was designed to help users that want to adopt an Agile acquisition methodology to navigate the complex DoD acquisition lifecycle process.  The model has been proactively tailored so that the acquisition can embrace Agile development fundamentals, but also comply with the intricate policies and procedures that guide DoD acquisition. The user is encouraged to walk-through the Agile acquisition model starting with the Material Development Decision, through each of the distinct phases of the acquisition lifecycle.  Within each acquisition phase are a series of key activities that should take place during that phase and the model provides detailed “how-to” guidance on how to execute each activity within the context of an Agile acquisition.

The links on the left provide detailed guidance to each activity outlined in the Agile process model graphic above.

As we continue to evolve the model, we want your insights and feedback. Each page has a comment section at the bottom to enable collaboration of ideas, issues, program exemplars, references, and recommended improvements to the model.

Also see our Tailored Acquisition Models page for more information on proactively tailoring process models for your agency or organization.

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