3. Create a service using the agile, iterative and user-centred methods set out in the Government Service Design Manual.

The purpose of this point is to make sure the Agile approach to project management is used to build and implement digital services. Agile approaches are very different from the Waterfall methods traditionally used by councils for software development.

With Waterfall the desired solution for each project is defined from the start, whereas with Agile the desired outcome for each project is defined from the start but the solution is discovered through user research, prototyping and user testing. The speed of delivery comes from working progressively and collaboratively with users during the project.

A discovery phase doesn't always lead to an alpha phase, or a digital service. A good example of not delivering a digital service is where the discovery phase of a DWP project was used to improve their telephone service based on user need.

Very often your discovery phase will conclude that a digital redesign is the better, cheaper way to deliver a service, but your project should focus on service improvement, not digital.

Once live, the service needs to be able to respond quickly to changes in policy, technology and the needs of the public. The Agile methods used to create the service also enable change arising from user feedback, new technology and other requirements to be implemented quickly and in a collaborative way.


The Standard was launched on 7 April 2016.

This guidance was last amended on 17 June 2016 as part of Service Standard Sprint #1.

You can read more about the Standard here.

All content in this guide is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated.