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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
AGILE IT DELIVERY:
IMPERATIVES FOR GOVERNMENT SUCCESS

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

AGILE IT DELIVERY: IMPERATIVES
FOR GOVERNMENT SUCCESS
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Accenture and NASCIO surveyed a number of state government leaders about their experiences with agile and to tell us where and to what extent they succeeded. Seven key steps emerged—all centered on people—their willingness to embrace this methodology and collaborate at every step. And it requires a clear plan of action.

Download the full report
Download the initial findings
7 STEPS TO AGILE SUCCESS

Set the right context for Agile

Accenture and NASCIO surveyed and interviewed a number of state government leaders to
find out what it takes to succeed in agile. So whether you’re a novice or just considering going agile,
take heed of the experiences, perspectives and success factors of those who have journeyed
before you, and you too can achieve results.

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

  • The IT team and business teams are siloed, with the IT team working independently on the end technology product.

  • IT projects enter the ‘black box,’ business hands over requirements and IT develops an end product with minimal interaction along the way.

AFTER AGILE

  • IT and Business are working together as a team to develop the end product.

  • Business provides ongoing feedback and input throughout the process. The broad ecosystem can contribute to the development of the project.

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.

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