Agile delivery management is becoming increasingly popular within the public sector as we strive to improve our ability to deliver value quickly. Especially popular within ‘Digital’ departments across government, with the current backdrop of reducing budgets and increasing costs, being efficient and user centred when delivering any type of work becomes increasingly important. Within Essex County Council (ECC) there was a groundswell of people interested in the world of agile delivery and user centred design, recognising how it can improve our ways of working and services in Essex.
Where we were
We had a good place to start from, there was an interest in Agile delivery and it was recognised by ECC as a method for delivering value. However there had not been a forum for people to come and discuss ideas and training in the subject was patchy, with some people having formal qualifications and others just having heard about Agile as a concept.
I found myself having regular conversations and coaching sessions in a 1 on 1 basis and presenting to different teams about agile subjects and techniques. This was great and offers the opportunity to discuss a focused subject in detail, but I felt that I was covering the same subject multiple times and that maybe it would be valuable to others who hadn’t approached me to have a conversation.
So in the spirit of working in the open and maybe maximising work not done..;) we decided to open up our regular team catch up and start an open community.
Setting up the community and our objectives
We set up the community to help pass on our knowledge around using an agile mindset, tools and techniques.
To make it as easy as possible for people to attend we opted for an online format, that is purposefully at the same time every week. This is not only to make it easier for people to plan but emulates how we would try and plan regular sprint events in a consistent way.
We mainly utilise a lean coffee method to enable the participants to raise any subjects they would like to discuss and then vote on the most popular, this then also allows us to cover many subjects in a 45 minute meeting. Sometimes we will do a focused session about a topic, for instance I delivered a session on the agile mindset and the history of agile.
As a community we have created some objectives that we will regularly come back and revisit.
Our objectives are:
- Provide an open forum of collaboration and support all about ‘Agile’ for Essex County Council staff
- Developing and promoting agile delivery management standards and practices within the organisation
- Providing templates, resources and information to improve delivery across Essex County Council
We believe this will enable us to deliver projects, products and services in a better way and ultimately add value for the residents of Essex.
We intend to continue to grow the community and are in the process of promoting it internally at every opportunity.
Members of the community are trying to use some agile techniques and apply the mindset into regular project delivery, this will show the value of Agile to a wider audience. This should feed through to more efficient delivery of projects, products & services that are centred around the user and ultimately add value to the residents of Essex.
Soon we will be asking members of the community to look at putting together lightening talks on ‘agile subjects’ for the group that we can then discuss. We hope that the community will also give us fertile recruitment grounds for staff members that are interested in progressing a career in the Digital Data and Technology field.
If you would like to join the community, (Only available to ECC staff currently due to work discussed) Or if you would like to discuss setting up your own community please get in touch. Charlie.email@example.com