Big Bang or waterfall development has long been the standard approach to legacy modernization projects. However, government agencies are increasingly turning away from this approach, finding an incremental, agile approach to suit their missions and goals better. For instance, agencies such as Veterans Affairs stating they are moving away from Big Bang projects.

Issues with the Big Bang

In the Big Bang approach, agencies spent years gathering requirements and awarded projects to a single contractor. The contract was then delivered based on these requirements, leaving little room to adapt to changing requirements and needs. Further, since this frequently tied agencies to a single, large systems integrator, there was little opportunity to introduce small and emerging contractors with specialized expertise. The result was delayed, over budget, and underperforming modernizations. 

Taking an Incremental Approach

Agencies are shifting from Big Bang modernization to agile, incremental, or bit-by-bit approaches. In this approach, they identify a minimal viable product (MVP), ensuring the solution first meets the minimum needs of its users. Then, its agile development teams add enhancements to the solution incrementally. This allows agencies to scale up and down, add new programs and features, and adapt to change requirements.

Modernization to Meet the Mission

The result is modernization that meets the agency’s mission. There are additional strategies teams can employ to ensure mission-oriented development. When experts modernize alongside domain experts, that collaboration supports an MVP that will meet the needs of its users. At Karsun, we use processes like event storming, human-centered design, and others to ensure we receive this feedback throughout our engagement. Moreover, working with a partner experienced in combining public sector experience with modern methodologies and tools enhances this synergy further. 

The Karsun Approach

At Karsun, we take this approach to our modernization projects from the beginning. Critically, we also look beyond to understand the application’s purpose and its users’ needs after our departure from the project. This product mindset, which we call Modernization for Every Next, is an incremental approach that allows us to focus on meeting agency missions, introduce emerging solutions at the appropriate time, build secure architecture meant to last, and accelerate transformation with fit-to-purpose toolkits. Learn more about our modernization successes in the Acquisitions, Aviation, Fleet, and Grants industries.