Episode 157: Transforming the UK Government Digital Service with James Stewart

Craig is at YOW! West in Perth and has a conversation with James Stewart, formerly Deputy CTO for the UK Government and co-founder of the Government Digital Service. In varying locations they talk about:

  • YOW! West keynote “Lessons Learned as a Government CTO
  • UK government had some large IT failures  in the last like the NHS National Program for IT (12 billion pound failure), but now lots of successes like Spine 2
  • Agile techniques have been successful in the UK government not just because other approaches have failed so badly but the cost of an IT project is only a fraction of the overall cost of a system
  • The Government Design Principles – start with user needs – successful projects start with clearly articulated principles, did not realise how much they would resonate
  • Worked around a number of government process early on, support from the Minister and investing time to find allies was essential
  • Design Principle posters – essential to invest in presentation, help people feel involved
  • Were never dogmatic about flavours of Agile, this presented challenges with vendors – can you make changes quickly, can you ship software faster, have you thought about quality?
  • The problem is not scaling frameworks, it’s that you tried to start big – need to start with a small team and seed the trust
  • Tackled the financials with the spending control process and an Agile business case (based around progressive funding) and align spending around Discovery, Alpha, Beta and Live stages and approval for later stages comes from what you have learnt from the previous stage
  • Genuine leadership requires openness – be self reflective, clearly articulate values and principles, the biggest risks you are concerned about and the outcomes you wish to achieve – then build trust with the team to achieve this
  • The strategy is delivery
  • Don’t start until somebody can express an outcome – once they do, turn something around quickly
  • Digital By Default Service Manual – good place to start, how to do delivery
  • UK Government Technology Code of Practice – underpinning of spending controls

TheAgileRevolution-157 (43 minutes)

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