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Agile Intelligence

Posted by Tor Hough on 24 Mar 2010

We are developing a platform that does lightweight intelligence management very well.  You don't need to dig very deep to understand that the heavy weight all encompassing approach to intelligence is not very effective in the current environment.  In saying this, we intend to take nothing away from the tools and practices employed by the intelligence community. 

There is a need and a market for an agile tool set that permits a small(ish) team of intelligence professionals to do intelligence on a narrow(ish) array of subjects across a broad spectrum of sources. 
It is the end-to-end management of that effort that will be our ultimate accomplishment.  We are as different from conventional intelligence as agile software development is from the waterfall model.


From Wikipedia on Agile software development:


The modern definition of agile software development evolved in the mid-1990s as part of a reaction against "heavyweight" methods, perceived to be typified by a heavily regulated, regimented, micro-managed use of the waterfall model of development. The processes originating from this use of the waterfall model were seen as bureaucratic, slow, demeaning, and inconsistent with the ways that software developers actually perform effective work. A case can be made that agile and iterative development methods mark a return to development practice from early in the history of software development.[3] Initially, agile methods were called "lightweight methods."


I would be in favor of re-writing this statement as though it were about agile intelligence not agile development.  There are also an Agile Manifesto that could be liberally borrowed from:


Agile Intelligence Principals (Slight Modification of Original Agile Manifesto)

  • Customer satisfaction by rapid, continuous delivery of useful actionable intelligence
  • Working positions are delivered frequently (hours and days rather than weeks)
  • Actionable intelligence is the principal measure of effectiveness
  • Even late changes in opinions are welcomed
  • Close, daily cooperation between policy makers and intelligence team members
  • Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  • Teams are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  • Simplicity
  • Self-organizing teams
  • Regular adaptation to changing circumstances

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