We design and build public services for Yukon citizens in agile, user-centered and iterative ways. This helps teams to start small and learn fast and, and to create transactional services that can be delivered quickly and save money by reducing project failure.
Agile can be very different for people who are used to traditional methods for software development.
With waterfall methods the process is sequential. You start by gathering requirements, making plans and going through procurement processes. You then design the product and build it. In the final stage you test and release it to the public. It’s only at this end stage that you get feedback and find out if it works for your users. You only have one chance to get each part of the project right, because you don’t return to earlier stages.
Agile takes a different approach. You do all these things - gathering requirements, planning, designing, building and testing - at the same time.
- You start small in the discovery phase, where you learn about your users’ needs, organizational policies and processes, and basic requirements
- You research, prototype, test and learn about your users’ needs when you start building the service in the alpha phase
- You only move to beta when you have enough feedback to show your service works for your users and meets their needs
- You continuously learn and improve to build a live service that’s available to everyone
While a sequential waterfall approach is necessary to build things like bridges and buildings, it’s less effective for building and running digital services when technology changes quickly. These services also need to be able to adapt quickly to policy changes and the needs of the public.
Using waterfall methods means you may spend 18 months building a service that no longer meets government policy, can’t work with the latest technology and doesn’t meet users’ needs.
Agile methods allow you to quickly make any changes while you’re building the service in alpha and beta, then when it’s live.
For example, since January 2014 visits to gov.yk.ca from mobile devices increased by almost 40%, which means any services not built to adapt to mobile will need to change quickly to meet users’ needs.