Potomac Forum The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

Agile Engineering, SAFe and DevOps: A Roadmap to Adoption - Agile Development in Government Training Workshop IX
Thursday, June 14, 2018

On site registration will be available at the Willard. Online registration is now closed.

Keynote Speaker: 

Brent Weaver


Systems Implementation CCSQ

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


Government Speakers:

Melissa Cohen

Director, Center for Enterprise Agility

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services


Rob Brown

Branch Chief

Department of Homeland Security-USCIS



Bob Maslyn

Senior Manager, SAFe Program Consultant



Tia Norman

Agile Program Manager

Enterprise Business Management Office - IT Standards

Department of Homeland Security



Bill Pratt

Director, IT Standards

Department of Homeland Security

Directorate for Management, OCIO



Simmons Lough

Software Architect



Thursday, June 14, 2018

Meeting Location: 
Willard InterContinental Hotel

Willard Intercontinental Hotel
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington 20004
United States

Metro Center (Red, Orange, Blue Lines). Use the exit marked “12th & F Sts” to exit onto F St., then continue straight two blocks and cross 14th St.


There is no question that many Federal agencies have seen measurable improvements in the way that they provide digital services that support their missions.  Agile and Lean Thinking concepts have led to faster cycle times and increased efficiencies in developing software solutions.  However, many agencies feel that they have reached a plateau and are ready to move through to the next logical steps. Improving digital services delivery and getting working software into the users’ hands shouldn’t stop with just Scrum. What might a strategic progression for project delivery look like? Should we look at the Agile Engineering practices of XP? What about scaling Agile for larger projects and across multiple teams? If we’re improving efficiencies and software quality through these Quality First Principles, how can we get the finished product into the hands of the users faster? 


Most Agile transformation efforts in government and the private sector begin with the Scrum process.  As agencies progress in their Agile adoption, they begin to see the value of adding the Agile engineering practices, such as Test-Driven Development, Continuous Integration, and Pair Programming, to improve code quality and the downstream delivery of fully functional and tested software solutions. Scaling Agile for larger projects across multiple teams using approaches like Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) will often be the next step on the roadmap to Agile maturity.  As code quality and delivery readiness improve as a result of the previous progressive steps, the need to now lean out the deployment process becomes apparent.  Integrating development, security, delivery and operations early in the cycle, (DevOps), now becomes the next logical step. 


But as an agency, how do we get there from where we are today along the continuum of Agile adoption?   This will be the focus of our ninth Agile in Government workshop, Agile Engineering, SAFe and DevOps: A Roadmap to Adoption.


1.       Adoption of the Agile Engineering Practices, such as Test-Driven Development, Continuous Integration, and Automated Testing to improve quality


2.       Becoming proficient at scaling Agile for larger projects through such techniques as Scaled Agile Framework methods (SAFe)


3.       Implementing DevOps to improve downstream delivery of working software to the end-users



This workshop is designed to provide attendees with specific insight into the logical progression from basic Agile initiatives to the continuous delivery and continuous deployment of working software, based on Agile disciplines and Lean Thinking.  You’ll hear from other government agencies about how they are moving along this path, and the challenges you can expect to encounter.   The afternoon government panel will also share their insights on lessons learned based on their real-world experiences as they navigate through their Agile transformation, scaling and deployment at their agencies.

What You Will Learn: 

o Scrum seems to be working for us. Why should we also look at the more advanced practices?

o How can we assess the potential value of moving forward?

o How much of the Agile engineering practices can a Federal agency use?

o What agencies are using SAFe methods now to scale their large projects 

o How do we lay the right foundation in our preparation for DevOps implementation?

o How do we know if we’re ready to move to DevOps?

o We’ve already started down the path of Agile adoption. What are some of the commercial best practices we should consider as we move to SAFe and DevOps?

o What should we know about interacting with Agile partners from industry?

o What kind of training should our staff be looking for as part of this process?


Why You Should Attend: 

o The efficiencies gained in the application of Lean Thinking, and Agile disciplines can become of little consequence if the downstream delivery and deployment grinds the progress to a halt.

o There are agencies that are eliminating costly mistakes and downtime by successfully adopting SAFe and DevOps practices. Come and listen to their experiences and lessons learned.

o Agile, SAFe and DevOps practices not only take technical expertise, but require deep cultural change. Hear from experts and daily practitioners about the importance of managing these cultural challenges and how they are successfully driving cultural change based on their real-world experiences.


Who Should Attend: 

o CIOs, CTOs, Federal IT experts 

o Contracting and Acquisition professionals who are or will soon be supporting Agile adoption at their agencies

o Project and program managers who want to better understand their role in an Agile environment

o Agencies new to adopting Agile projects

o Agencies that have already started to adopt Agile practices who want to move to the next level of agility

o Development and Operations teams facing ongoing challenges to deployment



Presentations and panel discussions.



7:30 AM

Registration and Continental Breakfast


Art Chantker, President, Potomac Forum


An Overview of the Roadmap

Jeff Henley, Lean-Agile Federal Practice Director, CC Pace


Presentation: An introduction to Agile Engineering

Kuryan Thomas, CTO, CC Pace


Keynote Presentation: SAFe

Brent Weaver, Director, Systems Implementation CCSQ, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


Refreshment Break


DevOps – Keeping Pace with Emerging Concepts in Agile Delivery and Product Deployment

Ashok Komaragiri, Senior Technical Consultant, CC Pace


Hosted Working Luncheon
Students will be presented with a discussion topic based upon the morning’s presentation and will be asked to discuss.  Each lunch table will select a “leader” who will “report out” after luncheon


“Report out” of Working Luncheon Discussion Topic




Panel: How Are They Making It Work?

Moderator: Jeff Henley, Federal Practice Director, CC Pace


Federal panel:


- Rob Brown, Branch Chief, DHS-USCIS, OCIO

- Melissa Cohen, Director, Center for Enterprise Agility, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Bob Maslyn, Senior Manager/SAFe Program Consultant, GSA 
- Veretta “Tia” Norman, Agile Program Manager   Enterprise Business Management Office - IT Standards, OCIO, DHS   
- William “Bill” Pratt, Director IT Standards DHS Directorate for Management, OCIO


Refreshment Break


DevOps Initiatives at USPTO


Simmons Lough, Software Architect, OCFO, USPTO


Commercial Best Practices: A Case Study

Philippa Fewell, VP, CC Pace


Wrap-up - Lessons Learned from the Field

Jeff Henley, Lean-Agile Federal Practice Director, CC Pace


Workshop Adjourns


Post Workshop Discussions with Instructors on Specific Individual Topics






Registration Information: 

  Early Bird Registration Fee AFTER May 25th
Government Employees:
(Federal, State or Local Government Issued ID)
Special Reduced Rates in Support of Government Budget Reductions
Team Rate for Government: Send a government team to learn together. Register two government employees from the same office at the same time and the third person registers at $200 off the current government rate.
Industry and Contractors:
(Including contractors on-site and in direct support of government agencies).

Registration Includes: Presentations, Workshop Notebook, Continental Breakfast, All Day Refreshments and Hosted Luncheon

Keynote Speaker: 

Brent Weaver


Systems Implementation CCSQ

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


Brent Weaver is the Director of the System Implementation Staff (SIS) within the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ) at the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). His team develops, maintains and operates the Quality Payment Program (QPP). He is responsible for leading an agile transformation initiative for CCSQ.


Mr. Weaver has over 20 years experience in the IT industry working in both the private and public sectors. His broad information technology background includes positions in software development, quality assurance, operations management, systems engineering, and IT program management.


Mr. Weaver has a Masters of Science degree in Applied Information Technology from Towson University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University that beat Virginia in the first round of the 2018 NCAA tournament.

Guest Speakers: 

William Pratt

Director, IT Standards & Program Support

U.S. Department of Homeland Security


Bill is the Director of IT Standards & Program Support in the CIO’s Enterprise Business Management Office at DHS.  He leads the DHS IT Systems Engineering Life Cycle (SELC), Agile, and IT Program Management Centers of Excellence.  Bill and his team are coordinating the adoption of Agile and Incremental software development as the preferred process at DHS.


Recent metrics indicate that 87 percent of major DHS software development programs are delivering new releases in six months or less.  Bill led efforts to create the DHS Agile Development Guidebook, which was awarded the 2015 AFFIRM Award for Leadership in Best Practices Implementation.


Bill also was the ICE Section 508 Coordinator, for which he was named the DHS Section 508 Coordinator of the Year in 2013.  Bill has more than 30 years of experience in IT development, supporting the federal government, private industry, and the DoD. He holds certifications as a PMP, Certified ScrumMaster, and in ITIL Foundations.

Tia Norman

PMP, PMI-ACP, ICP-Agile Coach, DHS PM Level III

Branch Chief – Agile Maturity & Governance

Office of the Chief Technology Officer - Strategic Technology Management

Office of the Chief Information Officer

U.S. Department of Homeland Security



Tia Norman serves as the Agile Program Manager at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Headquarters, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Business Management Office (EBMO).  Ms. Norman is instrumental in executing the adoption of Agile and Incremental software development as the preferred methodology at DHS and its goal to achieve Agile mastery across all DHS Components through outreach and education.


Ms. Norman, an Agile practitioner since 2012, is responsible for the DHS Agile Center of Excellence (COE), Agile outreach, Agile coaching, and Agile governance.  Her duties include conducting extensive outreach efforts to increase the understanding and benefits of Agile software development, Systems Engineering Life Cycle (SELC) Framework, and Agile adoption across DHS.  Ms. Norman has been integral in developing a number of Agile training programs, governance, Agile information sharing sessions, and Agile tools including: DHS Agile Guidebook, Agile COE website, Agile Toolkit, DHS Agile Instruction, DHS Agile Community of Interest Forum, Annual DHS Agile Expo, and Agile best practices.


She has a Master of Science degree in Project Management from the George Washington University, is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP), and certified Level III DHS Acquisition Professional Program Manager.

Robert (Bob) Maslyn, SPC, SA, CSPO, CSM, PMP, GSA IT

Integrated Award Environment Program (beta.SAM.gov)

US General Services Administration

Bob Maslyn has been in service with the U.S. Government in Washington, D.C. for 40 years, about half his career with the Department of Health & Human Services and half with the General Services Administration (GSA.gov), entering government as a change agent in the first year of the Presidential Management Intern Program.  During that time span, Bob has experienced numerous management improvements such as Total Quality Management, Business Process Reengineering, Zero Based Budgeting, Balance Scorecard, etc. His focus has always been on transforming government so that it best serves the public (not bureaucrats).


Bob readily gravitated to Agile in 2014 and then to SAFe, especially in its power to transform culturally how an organization works and delivers value. Bob is a SAFe Program Consultant (SPC4), SAFe  Agilist, Certified Scrum Master, Certified Scrum Product Owner, Project Management Professional (PMP), and certified as a Federal Acquisition Institute Contracting Officer’s Representative and Program Manager.


He is the prime advocate for coaching SAFe practices for GSA’s Integrated Award Environment (IAE) Program which has been consolidating 10 government-wide legacy systems into one platform – this is the process of how businesses contract with federal agencies. This is the new System for Award Management, currently called beta.SAM.gov (even though it is in production).


He holds a BA in journalism and two Masters (Public Administration and Social Work), is a native of Rochester, NY, currently lives in Alexandria, VA, and hopes one day to re-locate to New England in the future, perhaps Western Massachusetts.


Melissa Cohen

Division of IT Investment Management & Policy (DIIMP)

IT Capital Planning Group (ICPG)

Office of Information Technology (OIT)

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)


Melissa Cohen is a transformative agile leader with both a technical and IT Governance Modernization background. She currently leads the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Enterprise Agile Transformation Initiative. As the Chair of CMS’s Center for Enterprise Agility, she champions delivering value to customers and increasing Agile adoption across the federal space. Melissa is a driving force in breaking down barriers, changing organizational culture, and instilling an Agile mindset. Under Melissa’s stewardship, CMS leverages a growing number of resources dedicated to successfully training teams in Agile principles, transitioning key projects to Agile practices, and re-working the Agency’s SDLC to accommodate Agile.

Simmons Lough

Software Architect

Office of Finance Management Systems

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)


Simmons Lough is a software architect committed to transforming the way the federal government builds, maintains, and delivers software solutions. He earned his stripes during the start-up movement of the early 2000s. During that time, his lean teams lacked the resources to hire specialists, so they worked together to produce high quality code with speed and accuracy. The secret to their success: collaboration, automation, and data. In other words, DevOps.


At the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Simmons is now helping the Office of Finance Management Systems move towards a similar culture of speedy and collaborative development. The USPTO exists to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.[i]” DevOps culture is the perfect blend of progressive science and useful art, making the USPTO a fitting agency for a DevOps pilot.


Simmons’ core project at the USPTO, Fee Processing Next Generation (FPNG), collects all of the 3+ billion dollars in annual revenue that keeps the agency running. In partnership with the OCIO, the FPNG team is embracing DevOps as a key component of its IT modernization approach. The scope is focused, but powerful, and demonstrates how the federal government can give Silicon Valley a run for its money. FPNG offers a template that other federal agencies can use to improve and transform their software development processes.

Robert D. Brown

EID Division Chief, Cloud Solutions Developer

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Bob is the Cloud Solutions Developer/EID Division Chief with USCIS


He has  with 18 years of experience providing technical, managerial and business development solutions to the IT industry.


Robert has a thorough understanding of IT and business, leading to successful experiences in completing large scale IT deployments from the initial corporate IT strategy and vision to design, build and maintenance. He also has expertise in auditing, directing and managing corporate IT strategies for small to large sized commercial businesses. Additionally, Robert has a strong background in health care, scientific research and biomedical industries.


Robert holds a MS in Bioinformatics from George Mason University and a BS in Microbio/BioChem from Virginia Tech. He holds certifications from (ISC)2, Sourcefire, Fonality and Juniper. Prior to joining DHS USCIS Robert worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, Information Innovators, QSSI, V2 Systems, Ronin Tech Solutions, Clearant, Inc. and the American Red Cross.


Professional Certifications: CISSP, ITIL, CSM, JNCIA-FW, FtOCC


Philippa Fewell

Vice President, Enterprise Solutions


As Vice President of CC Pace’s Enterprise Solutions Group, Philippa has practiced Agile Methods with development teams for the last 13 years. Philippa has coached dozens of Agile project teams to success and led the development of CC Pace’s nationally recognized Agile Training curriculum. She has trained thousands of individuals on the Agile Methodology and works continuously with Agile Industry Leaders sharing ideas and thoughts on improving agile training and adoption practices.

Kuryan Thomas


CC Pace


As CTO, Kuryan is primarily responsible for CC Pace’s custom application delivery practice, which includes making sure CC Pace maintains its record of client satisfaction and successful delivery in custom software projects. He personally engages as a lead developer on some projects, where he actively writes and delivers code to keep his skills fresh. He also helps the entire company understand the implications of technology for all its clients and for its internal operations.


Kuryan started programming more than 35 years ago, and has worked in the software industry for over 25 years. His experience covers numerical software simulations, systems programming, operating system internals, and enterprise-class business process software. Throughout his career he has focused on delivering business value using software, and has learned that this takes much more than just being good at software engineering. It includes learning team dynamics, finance, software delivery processes such as Lean-Agile, and—because he strongly believes that an organization’s corporate and personal values are an integral part of its success—it also means studying history, ethics, and other aspects of human behavior.


He considers his greatest accomplishment here at CC Pace to be building and leading the software delivery team, and believes it is a privilege to work with a group of such talented, committed, and successful software developers.


Kuryan earned a PhD in condensed matter physics from Virginia Tech and is a Certified Scrum Master.

Jeff Henley

Managing Director of Federal Practice

CC Pace

As Managing Director of the CC Pace Federal Practice, Jeff is responsible for providing customized and certified Agile training, coaching, consulting, and development to the government. He has spent fourteen years growing as a consultant helping clients increase the business value of their projects and strategic initiatives through the use of Agile principles and practices.

Jeff’s belief in servant leadership is driven by the tremendous results he has seen teams achieve which have proven transformative and culture shifting for organizations. His most recent experience has been as an Agile Coach, but it’s Jeff’s vast background where he has performed different roles (Release Train Engineer, Product Owner, ScrumMaster, Program Manager, Project Manager, Business Analyst, Portfolio Manager and Trainer) that has driven his expertise, and his ability to provide mentorship and coaching to each project team member.

Jeff’s career has spanned both commercial and government clients. His primary focus in the last ten years has been in the Federal Government space supporting projects at 9 government departments, DoD and more than 25 agencies. Jeff joins the senior leadership team at CC Pace after serving in executive leadership roles over the past five years leading transformative initiatives from a corporate and project level.

Jeff graduated from the University of Virginia with a BS in Economics and served in the US Navy from 1995 to 1999. He is a certified PMP, CSM, SAFe (SA), and KMP.

Ashok Komaragiri

Senior Technical Consultant

CC Pace


Mr. Komaragiri is a Lead Technology Consultant for CC Pace with over 11 years of experience in Software and Web Application Development.  He has successfully implemented multiple highly-visible, mission-critical software systems through the pragmatic adoption of Scrum and XP practices.  Mr. Komaragiri is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). He is currently leading the DevOps practice at CC Pace. He helps agencies in their digital transformation by guiding them with Agile and DevOps best practices. He is intimately familiar with a vast array of software development and deployment tools on both on-premise as well as cloud platforms.


Education:  Master of Science (M.S.) in Information Systems, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA; Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Electronics, Mumbai University, Mumbai, India


Cancellation Policy: 

Confirmed registrations who cancel within 3 business days of the program will be subject to a $250 cancellation fee. Registrations cancelled after the program starts are subject to the full registration fee. Substitutions can be made at any time. In the event a particular training workshop is cancelled, the liability of Potomac Forum, Ltd is limited to refund of any prepaid registration fee.

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