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Doing agile right to enable a new era of innovation in government

DOING AGILE RIGHT TO ENABLE A NEW ERA OF INNOVATION IN GOVERNMENT

Government: Are you Agile ready?


The digital world keeps challenging government to reinvent itself. With citizens’ expectations rising quickly, digital services that are “good enough for government” are no longer good enough.

To meet changing demands, governments must become faster, nimbler and
more flexible when designing and delivering public services. It is no small
task. In fact, it evokes an important question:
Do you start with an Agile
project—or do you first work to become an “agile” organization?

Doing agile right to enable a new era of innovation in government
SIX STEPS TO AGILE SUCCESS

Set the right context for Agile

Agile methodologies can be very much at odds with “business as usual” inside
many state and local agencies. As you work to become more responsive, consider
whether and to what extent you have created an organizational context where
Agile can succeed.

BEFORE AGILE

  • Risk-averse leaders are hesitant to try new approaches for fear of failure—an attitude that cascades throughout the organization.

  • Leaders expect the certainty of detailed, set-in-stone system requirements.

AFTER AGILE

  • Leaders are willing to take risks, try new approaches and “fail fast”—using what’s learned to produce better long-term results.

  • Leaders recognize that system requirements can and, in fact, should change to address evolving needs and opportunities.

BEFORE AGILE

  • A new system is an IT priority.

  • Business stakeholders are involved at the very start—and the very end—of an IT project.

AFTER AGILE

  • A new system is an organizational priority.

  • Business stakeholders stay engaged, providing feedback throughout the process.

BEFORE AGILE

  • System design may be driven more by process or organizational considerations.

AFTER AGILE

  • System design is driven by the needs of internal and external users. Teams use service design techniques—including hands-on, interactive field research—to uncover and address users’ stated and unstated needs.

BEFORE AGILE

  • With waterfall development, teams could build a detailed budget for the intended design.

  • The procurement process is long and complex, often with 1,000-page RFPs.

AFTER AGILE

  • With Agile, there is no upfront list of requirements. Budgeting is fluid and flexible.

  • Sourcing is “agile”—occurring in “sprints” that more closely align with changing needs.

BEFORE AGILE

  • Obtaining approval for a new system and any related changes requires a detailed process that can be slow and cumbersome.

AFTER AGILE

  • The approval process supports greater speed and flexibility—enabling project teams to more quickly assess and address evolving needs.

BEFORE AGILE

  • New system training occurs in a “big bang” just before system go-live.

AFTER AGILE

  • Training occurs organically, with users interacting with the system throughout the development process and often helping to shape ongoing changes.

START THE JOURNEY

Governments didn’t become bureaucratic overnight, and they won’t become Agile that way either. Focus on planting the seeds of Agile—then nurturing that growth as it takes shape throughout your organization. Some ways to start:

Always put users at the center

Always put users at the center

Begin any project by specifying the results or outcomes you need to produce and for whom. Then create designs to achieve those outcomes—making designs and designers accountable to the users.

“Lean in” before you build out

“Lean in” before you build out

Start with the business processes and practices. Use Lean or another process optimization methodology to ensure that you’re supporting fast, efficient and agile processes.

Bust barriers

Bust barriers

As part of the governance of any design or development project, create mechanisms, such as waivers and exemptions, to eliminate bureaucratic obstacles.

Engage Agile coaches

Engage Agile coaches

When diving into Agile for the first time, having an experienced coach on site is crucial to project success.

Walk before you run

Walk before you run

Start with a relatively small, self-contained project. Or consider using traditional waterfall for requirements definition but introducing Agile into the development and testing phases.

Educate and engage the business—repeatedly

Educate and engage the business—repeatedly

It can be challenging to get and keep business stakeholders fully engaged in the process. But persistence pays off: Once one team proves how well the approach works, others will want to emulate their success.

UNLEASH THE NEW
STATE GOVERNMENTS GET AGILE

Agile is changing the game for state governments. To explore the implications and opportunities, Accenture and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) are partnering on multifaceted research. Drawing from the public and private sectors, the research reveals a comprehensive perspective on the role of Agile within state government.

Findings of the first phase of research shed light on why state governments are using agile. Where and how they're applying it within their enterprises - and the barriers to agile that they're working to overcome.

In the next phase, Accenture and NASCIO will conduct a series of interviews aimed at identifying best practices and lessons learned around agile implementation.

GET THE INITIAL FINDINGS NOW (DOWNLOAD PDF)

Stay in touch: Full research results will be available at NASCIO's Annual Conference in October

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