California is utilizing agile principles in the development and procurement of a new statewide child welfare system, eschewing the “waterfall”-based design model that has been entrenched in state government for decades.
Over the past few months, TechWire’s editors and writers have spoken to more than a dozen state officials and subject matter experts about California’s plans to switch to agile. If there’s a common theme from those conversations, it’s that the state must “start small” if it hopes to succeed.
Starting small could prove to be a challenging task, given that the Child Welfare Services-New System (CWS-NS) will be, by its very nature, one of the largest mission-critical systems used by the state and its 58 counties.
The state seems to be aware that a smaller, modular approach is important. It has divided the procurement phase of the CWS-NS project into smaller chunks by quickly releasing separate bids for an intake module and Application Program Interface (API). The hope is those modular projects will go live in a matter of months instead of the several years it typically takes a big-bang, waterfall-type project.