By Tony Collins
The principles (below), which are largely managerial, highlight the challenges for government departments and suppliers of adopting agile principles for major IT-related projects such as Universal Credit.
Some in government have said that agile can deliver systems to support political policy quickly, say within two years – but that’s far too long. Under agile principles, working systems should be delivered between two weeks and two months.
I particularly like the tenth principle, which defines simplicity as the art of maximizing the amount of work not done; in other words not gold-plating requirements.
The second principle is also especially important for government IT-enabled projects and programmes: it states that changing requirements are welcome, even late in development.
The principles are from the excellent website of project manager Robert Kelly.
- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
- Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
- Working software is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity –the art of maximizing the amount of work not done– is essential.
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
The Institute foir Government recently produced some case studies from its System Error report.