Abstracts: August 1st, 2013

With public service organisations under huge pressure to do more things more quickly and at less cost, Agile methodologies cannot be ignored says Socitm in its new guide.

Planting the Flag: pocket guide 6 – Agile is the final guide in the Socitm series covering strategic capabilities required for public service reform. The five other capabilities are leadership, governance, shared services, strategic commissioning, and organisational change.

With public service organisations needing to reduce cost and increase productivity faster than ever, the guide explains how Agile development can help them deliver the adaptable ICT-supported business processes they need in future.

The guide points out that Agile is now at the heart of all development related to the new GOV.UK website produced by the Government Digital Service, and is firmly embedded as the future methodology for its digital services.

Agile promises delivery of high quality solutions within defined and short timescales, says the guide, and manages risk by building in flexibility to the approach, as opposed to traditional ICT methodology that tries to predict everything from the outset.

Many of the principles of ‘Agile’ are simply common sense, such as the close involvement of the client and/or users throughout projects rather than just at the beginning and the end.

The Agile methodology describes how Agile inverts the traditional thinking about project management. While the waterfall method defines and fixes user requirements, Agile fixes the number of people involved and the time allowed for the development, using a series of devices and techniques – among them ‘MoSCoW’, ‘Sprints’, and ‘Scrum’ – to deliver projects. It also describes the critical steps for adopting Agile approaches successfully.

Published by SOCITM the guide can be downloaded here.