Agile Research

Because cybersecurity events and trends are fast-moving and unpredictable, research that could make a difference often fails to produce actionable results in time to be effective, and can easily end up as “shelfware.” The R&K National Cyber Security Laboratory (NCSL) has created a new research model that delivers authoritative subject matter expertise to sponsors when speed is critical.

Key Principles

  • Predefined Infrastructure. Resources and logistics for cybersecurity research can be predefined, and quickly instantiated by sponsors for fast responses when needed.
  • Incremental Results. Research can be organized into initial fast looks followed by iterative, accumulating increments that each produce actionable results.
  • Incremental Management. Visibility and transparency permit flexible sponsor management to meet goals based on evolving research findings.

Projects proceed through up to four stages, each culminating in a sponsor briefing and decision on how to proceed.

  • QuickLook. This stage, generally performed in days or weeks, answers the question of what is known now about a problem.
  • DeepLook. This stage is generally performed in weeks. Based on QuickLook results, it answers the question of what the research can be expected to accomplish and how it should be done.
  • Incremental Research. The incremental approach permits fast adaptation and redirection by sponsors based on shortfalls and windfalls in intermediate findings.
  • Technology Transition. If necessary, this stage, generally performed in months, provides specifications, prototypes, and support for technology implementation and operations.

Projects proceed through up to four stages, each culminating in a sponsor briefing and decision on how to proceed.

  • QuickLook. This stage, generally performed in days or weeks, answers the question of what is known now about a problem.
  • DeepLook. This stage is generally performed in weeks. Based on QuickLook results, it answers the question of what the research can be expected to accomplish and how it should be done.
  • Incremental Research. The incremental approach permits fast adaptation and redirection by sponsors based on shortfalls and windfalls in intermediate findings.
  • Technology Transition. If necessary, this stage, generally performed in months, provides specifications, prototypes, and support for technology implementation and operations.