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Case Study

Improving Delivery and Customer Satisfaction with Agile and DevSecOps






Federal Health and Civilian


Organizational Transformation

Developing an Agile PMO to Improve Delivery and Customer Satisfaction is a Federal career portal providing a talent pipeline for over 500 Federal agencies and a multitude of smaller organizations. It has become the most recognized component of the Federal hiring program, with over 300,000 job postings, 17 million job applications, and 80 million visitors to the site over the last 12 months. The USAJOBS Program Management Office (PMO) provides the operation, maintenance, and support of the USAJOBS web platform.

The Challenge

In May 2010, USAJOBS began a complete system redesign to increase capacity of the website. After the initial release of the new site in 2011, poor performance led to dissatisfied users and a decline in the USAJOBS American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). USAJOBS looked for assistance to help craft a new Concept of Operations that would ensure the site could better meet  the needs of users.

USAJOBS chose to partner with Excella to enhance the site’s program and project management. Excella quickly identified opportunities to improve the PMO’s strategic planning, design, and stakeholder communications processes. Excella also worked closely with USAJOBS Agile teams to adopt automation throughout their DevSecOps development, delivery, and support processes.

Excella’s partnership with USAJOBS helped to dramatically enhance the site’s performance. These improvements allowed the site to be named one of Forbes Magazines “10 Best Websites for your Career” in 2013 and USAJOBS ASCI jumped to an all-time high in 2014.

Approach and Solution

Improved Customer Satisfaction through Refined Planning and Enhanced Agility


New Planning and Communication Practices in the Agile PMO

To support change and increase transparency, Excella introduced a strategic planning process that used Impact Mapping to create and prioritize features based on value and impact to the program’s goals. This focused the PMO’s efforts around a singular priority, ensuring unified progress toward the end goal. The process also led to two Agile planning artifacts, the Strategic Roadmap and the Product Backlog. Once these were in place, Excella helped the PMO craft and execute on a strategic communication framework for release management, focused on why specific changes were occurring and the value to be gained from them.

Design Thinking and Product Backlog Refinement

The USAJOBS design teams used Design Thinking to put users at the center of their problem-solving process and improve their ability to solve difficult challenges. Excella assisted USAJOBS as they introduced an improved design process with rapid prototyping and usability testing for all potential new features, ensuring Product Backlog refinement focused on the most impactful, user-validated iterative design outcomes.

Improved Agile Team Performance

By embedding within USAJOBS Scrum teams, Excella was able to understand current challenges and guide team members to adopt Agile best practices for DevSecOps development, testing, and support. Increased automation reduced product delivery batch sizes, improved the software release process, and shortened the release cadence from twelve weeks to just four. Excella trained team members in core Agile practices such as writing better user stories. More effective team ceremonies improved collaboration and communication. Excella’s expertise in a variety of Agile frameworks ensured team improvement regardless of their specific Agile implementation.


A New and Improved USAJOBS

During their Agile transformation, the USAJOBS PMO established and matured a transparent approach to strategic planning and communications while championing innovative design techniques that focused on user needs. These top-down improvements enabled their DevSecOps teams to increase production delivery frequency of valuable new enhancements and features from twelve weeks to just four, leading to an all-time high American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score and broad recognition for the website.

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Michelle G. Earley, USAJOBS Program Manager Office of Personnel Management says:

“Excella continues to support USAJOBS’ evolution through robust, transformative practices…these practices successfully allow USAJOBS to provide value in meeting customer needs and expectations.”