Government is building digital services that are simpler, clearer and faster to use. This is called Digital By Default and the mission statement says it all: “digital services that are so straightforward and convenient that all those who can use them will choose to do so, whilst those who can’t are not excluded”.
With help from the Government Digital Service, 8 departments across government set about redesigning digital exemplars based on the needs of end users, not the needs of government. By 2016, this is in full swing across government departments, from DWP to NHS, from HMRC to DVLA.
The critical issue
In its bid to transform, the UK Government aimed to set up multiple digital delivery centres with dozens of digital delivery teams – a major centre being in Newcastle. The challenge was clear; how to maintain velocity and quality of delivery while growing in size at such a rate.
In order to deliver on aggressive deadlines with high levels of quality, UK Government needed access to technical experts with experience, flexibility and in the right location – fast!
The UK Government, in line with its own policy, spoke to specialist, local Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).
Opencast’s solution was to create exemplar teams with the very best developer talent in the North East region. By providing an exemplar service, this would guide and coach the use of best practices both by natural healthy competition and planned cross pollination. Opencast play a full part in the technical “communities” within the UK Government as well as provide the centre scrum coach to reinforce and support delivery centre direction.
The Opencast delivery teams are acknowledged to be providing high quality output with low levels of defects. The ingrained usage of best practice has allowed key services to be released without major issue.
The use of a local SME has increased productivity and reduced cost in an environment typically dominated by large corporation outsourcing deals. The strategy to utilize more SME help and increase the permanent delivery centre staff headcount continues at pace following these very positive results.