Last week the London peer group launched its 2017 teacamp: a series of meetups on different aspects of the local government digital service standard. The first session focused on 'Creating a service using the agile, iterative and user-centered methods set out in the Government Service Design Manual'.
The session kicked off with representatives from LoGov and Newham Council, who talked about how agile meant challenging hierarchy, working across teams and having better tools for collaboration and work management. It was great to hear how many benefits they have gained from being able to speak directly to users, to understand their needs and to help them.
In particular, senior people at the council now listening more to the team because they've spoken to users directly. They also highlighted other benefits, such as how they have shown back office staff how their decision making has a direct impact on users, and how useful an ‘alpha’ can be to test out a system and see whether it can meet your user's needs.
As others got involved in the ‘fishbowl’ discussion, there was lots to talk about regarding capability and how you get the right staff. We discussed various tactics, such as using suppliers to upskill existing staff, the central digital team running master classes for the rest of the organisation, and how you upskill developers using open source communities for support. We also talked about the benefits of building apprenticeship schemes, training up less experienced recruits, and intern schemes.
The next teacamp is scheduled for April 27th and will focus on user research. Save the date and look out for the invite. To get on the mailing list for future events, please contact us at [email protected]