Agile Transformation and Delivery at U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Cargo Systems Program Directorate (CSPD)


ALEXANDRIA, VA: CMS has been a key partner to CSPD in their transition from Waterfall to Agile. Our Agile teams worked side-by-side with Government and other contractor resources to foster a collaborative and transparent environment that has been crucial for Agile to succeed. The transformation from long development cycles with infrequent deployments to production to a dynamic environment with 2-week sprints and a regular cadence of frequent deployments to production has been a significant success for CSPD. Everything from the organizational structure, processes and procedures, and tools and technologies have transformed at CSPD and we are proud to be part of the team that helped make this transition successful. Teaming with SRA International on this engagement, we instituted Agile Scrum for the majority of the program where new development was the main objective, and have taken advantage of Kanban for the teams primarily focused on Operations and Maintenance (O&M) activities.

Although CSPD had piloted Agile with a few smaller development efforts prior to this engagement, this program was the first major Development contract awarded by CBP focused on Agile development methodologies. A proven track record with the ability to successfully scale the Agile methodology on large programs with multiple teams was critical to winning and delivering this scope of work. CMS brought our deeply skilled Agile experts, applied quality assurance to Agile processes, and employed change management to ensure discipline, communication, and collaboration across teams and to achieve high productivity at scale, integration discipline, and faster high-quality product delivery.

At CSPD, CMS provides IT services to develop, migrate, and support cargo system applications, leveraging Agile development methodologies. These services include new functionality development and testing, re-factoring existing system functionality, corrective and adaptive maintenance of existing applications, application maintenance of existing systems, and architecture and engineering services to support application development to migrate the functionalities of the Cargo Production applications to the DHS directed target architecture using Agile development methodologies.

The changing global environment directly impacts CSPD’s ability to meet its mission of enforcing trade laws and securing the borders while facilitating legitimate trade. At the same time, CBP faces the challenge of countering criminal and terrorist exploitation of trade laws and cargo transportation systems at all ports of entry. Further driving complexity are the significant number of diverse stakeholders including the CBP Offices of Field Operations and International Trade, the public trade community, Participating Government Agencies (PGAs), and foreign governments. Our team understands what it takes to deliver in this highly complex environment, while minimizing downtime and ensuring 24/7 support of a mission-critical system. By our understanding of the CBP legacy platform, our team was able to incorporate Agile best practices, architecture alignment, release and data migration planning, and continuous stakeholder engagement to migrate disparate technology systems into best-of-breed open-source and commercial products on a commodity platform.