Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Using Agile in DoD Acquisitions

Agile development methods have existed for many years, and, in fact, are based on concepts that have been around for decades. Agile achieved its greatest success in small- to mid-sized, commercial applications. There has been limited documented usage in the DoD/government arena.

In recent years, Agile matured and personnel became skilled in applying Agile; some DoD contractors started to build internal Agile capabilities and use Agile on DoD programs. Some DoD acquisition pro-grams proposed and used Agile processes, attempting to take advantage of contractor capabilities, but without (as yet) any formal DoD guidance, templates, or best practices.

Given this backdrop, can Agile produce a better product developed within cost and schedule parameters? If barriers interfere with the DoD adopting Agile, how can they be addressed?

Research into whether Agile can benefit the DoD resulted in a resounding, but qualified, Yes. Agile is another tool that can provide both tactical and strategic benefits. The tactical benefits of lower cost within schedule and increasing quality are important; however, the strategic benefits of being responsive and being able to adjust to the current situation more rapidly might be of even greater value.

This introductory one-hour course presents an overview of key issues and lessons learned in applying Agile development methods in the DoD environment based on actual DoD program experience and extensive research. This course debunks the myth that Agile and DoD practices are incompatible and provides considerations for deciding when to use Agile. Exercises are used throughout the course to provide a concrete context for the understanding and use of the Agile method.

Who should attend?

  • Senior DoD acquisition policy makers
  • Members of DoD program offices
  • Software development contractors


  • Overview of key issues and lessons learned in applying Agile
  • Agile and DoD practices
  • Deciding when to use Agile


At the completion of the course, learners will be able to:

  • Define and understand the basic concepts of Agile acquisition in the DoD environment.
  • Differentiate between Agile and traditional (Waterfall) development methods.
  • Determine where DoD 5000 guidance supports and challenges the use of Agile methods.
  • Describe key concepts and conditions for the use of Agile methods.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

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This course is presented in the form of narrated instructional pages. Self-assessments following each topic presented assist with comprehension of the subject matter. Learners will also be able to access additional resources related to the subject matter and a downloadable copy of the course presentation slides.


Learners will have three weeks to complete the course. Upon completing all course elements, the learner is awarded an electronic certificate of course completion.

Course Details

Course Fees [USD]

eLearning: $75


This self-paced course is available online via the SEI Learning Portal.


If you wish to purchase this course for a group of learners, please email or telephone at +1 412-268-7622 for group rate details.

For More Information

Phone: 412-268-7622