How to Roll Out a Successful Software Project in Government: Insights from the DoD and Texas Department of Public Safety

Shari Ingerman, Content Marketing Manager
December 15, 2022

Government agencies and industry leaders convened this month in Washington, DC, to attend the 5th annual Appian Government conference. Sessions addressed how to accelerate digital transformation, reimagine the citizen experience, and optimize case management through intelligent process automation (a.k.a., hyperautomation) using low-code software development.

Government Software

During the session titled, “The Appian Mission in the US DoD,” IT executives from the US Department of Defense (DoD), representing both the Army and Navy, shared insights on how they strategize, initiate, and execute software projects in the DoD. Here are the top three lessons learned from their vast experience overseeing complex software implementations:

  1. Meet with all stakeholders. At the early stages of a project, involve all the stakeholders, especially the people who are actually going to do the work. Sounds obvious, right? But it often doesn't happen. When you make this a priority, you’ll have a better understanding of what is needed, what is achievable, and potential challenges or roadblocks that may arise. For example, some people may not have the required security clearance to access specific data, or you may make improper assumptions about software compatibility within your existing IT environment.
  2. Make it measurable. Find out what metrics will indicate success, and build those into the reporting. Make sure these performance goals are attainable and agreed upon.
  3. Don’t shoot for the moon. Start small and remain focused on a discrete issue. Strive to implement and practice agile methodologies in project planning and execution phases. Otherwise the project will balloon and become impossible to complete.

Download the eBook, Rapid, Future-Ready IT Modernization in Defense Agencies.

Optimize government software projects at the federal, state, and local levels.

The struggles of executing IT projects at the federal government level are unique in many ways, but the challenges faced by state and local government agencies aren’t altogether different.

In fact, the lessons learned by the DoD were echoed by the Texas Department of Public Safety's Director of Procurement, Michael Parks, and Business Success Manager, Jasmine Robinson, in the session, “Modernizing Government Acquisition with Appian.”

Deloitte, an Appian partner working with the Texas Department of Public Safety, could not stress enough the importance of involving end users from the outset and at every stage of development. That way, you can identify early if you’re going off-course and quickly get back on track. Deloitte also recommended demonstrating the product as it’s being developed to make sure the agency can envision using it. Such close collaboration with the vendor is key to project success.

In addition, they highlighted the importance of adopting a phased approach. A gradual shift not only makes it easier to transition the team to a new way of doing things, but it lets you see a return on your investment faster, without waiting for full project completion.

Streamlining Government Procurement with a Modern Acquisition Management Solution

Gain traction on government software project goals with an agile methodology.

Prior to working with Appian to overhaul their acquisitions system, the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) used a slow, painstaking manual process and fragmented data silos. To meet government acquisition regulation requirements, they need a solution that would help them quickly access, archive, and modify information while providing high visibility and transparency into the contracting process.

Appian offered an agile solution to automate the acquisition process end to end. TXDPS employees were originally resistant to adopting an agile methodology because it was new to the team and “hard to absorb.” But views changed once they saw how modifications could be made easily on the fly. They now insist, in their own words, “Agile is the only way to go. It’s been eye-opening.”

The first phase of the project was deployed in just three months. It was so successful, with people immediately adopting the solution as the go-to place for procurement data, that Robinson received the agency’s coveted Chiefs Award. Executive management was thrilled with the easy, transparent access to all their data in one place that the solution allowed, eliminating the need for phone calls and speeding up the entire acquisition process.

Prioritize compliance and customer experience in software projects.

Like all government agencies, both the DoD and Texas Department of Public Safety are mindful of the need to demonstrate regulatory compliance by increasing transparency and efficiency. In addition, there is growing emphasis on usability and the customer experience. Using the Appian platform to build, orchestrate, and automate processes, both agencies are able to:

  • Develop and deploy applications faster.
  • Adjust workflows on the fly to meet changing needs or regulations.
  • Access real-time data at any point, no matter where it is stored, even across agencies.
  • Create user-friendly applications that people want to use, increasing adoption.

Access the full sessions on-demand at appiangovernment.com, and visit appian.com/government today to learn how to get started on the path to faster, more efficient workflows with intelligent process automation.