Delivering effective digital services in an Agile way
By Mark Constable | 19 December 2018
First Published: 17 December 2018 Open Access Governement
Peter Stansbury introduces us to the new AgileDS (Agile Digital Services) guidance, published to support the Agile development and evolution of digital services
We’re living in an ever-changing and increasingly digital world which is having a significant impact on the ways in which organisations deliver services, and how consumers interact with those services.
To be successful, organisations need to be agile and able to react quickly to an ever-evolving business landscape and fierce competition.
And it’s far from just the private sector; governments and local authorities have a great opportunity to embrace the shift to digital and revolutionize services they provide to citizens. From personalised services in health and social care for the elderly at home, to tailored learning in education and access to culture, the tools, techniques, technology and approaches of the internet age offer greater opportunities than ever before to improve services.
The UK Government is recognised as a world leader in digital government, led by the Government Digital Service (GDS) with its tenacious focus on user needs, common design principles, openness, balance between the needs of citizens and government… and Agility.
GDS was developed as part of a response to the situation where the UK Government’s digital services initiatives were characterized by inconsistency, lack of maintenance and frequent reliance on big projects run by large suppliers resulting in cost overruns and late delivery.
In response to the special complexity of government, GDS has created the GOV.UK Service Standard and Supporting Service Manual, which defines a development lifecycle for digital services and provides standards and supporting guidance.
The UK Government’s Digital Service Standard is focused on ensuring user needs are met. In fact, the Standard states “start with user needs” and “build services not websites” as two of its design principles, helping government create and run great digital services. The standard is well tried, shown to work, and drawing increasing attention from other countries.
The scale and complexity of public sector digital transformation is enormous. User research conducted by the Agile Business Consortium, talking to people working within government departments, found that people need support and guidance to put the GOV.UK Service Manual into practice.
AgileDS is that guidance
The guidance is designed to support the Agile design and development of digital services. It enables organisations to develop a consistent approach, common language and skilled workforce for the successful design and delivery of digital services, whether through evolving improvements or step-change transformation.
AgileDS offers practitioners involved in the design and delivery of digital services with a mature Agile approach that embraces Agile product and service development in the context of Agile, business change-focused programmes and projects. The guidance has been designed carefully to use language familiar to public sector staff from the GDS Service Manual, including the GDS lifecycle (user-needs-discovery-alpha-beta-live) and GDS roles.
AgileDS helps practitioners to understand the:
- Underpinning philosophy and principles of Agile Digital Services in a project situation.
- Lifecycle of an Agile and Digital Services project.
- Effective application of key Agile techniques.
- Roles and responsibilities within an Agile Digital Services project.
- Mechanisms for planning, control and governance of an Agile Digital Services project.
AgileDS is aimed at all those involved in the delivery of digital services, including central government, local government, the NHS, and private sector organisations.
It’s designed to be useful to all members of multidisciplinary service delivery teams and those who support them. For those with a good grasp of Agile methods, guidance on elements that might be new – such as user research, user experience design and digital performance analysis – are introduced. At the same time, the fundamentals of Agile culture and delivery are covered, as well as demystifying Agile jargon for civil servants and others who are new to Agile.
Alongside the new guidance, Foundation and Practitioner-level exams have been launched, administered by the award-winning examination institute APMG International.
Accredited training for AgileDS is available via a network of providers accredited by APMG International and the Agile Business Consortium.
Find out more about AgileDS at: www.agilebusiness.org/digital-services
Find out more about AgileDS training and certification at: www.apmg-international.com/AgileDS
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