28 September - 30 September 2016

Churchill College, Cambridge, UK

Scaling agile development at the Government Digital Service

Adam Maddison Government Digital Service

Session type: Case Study
Session duration: 45 minutes

Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Case Study

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is at the centre of the UK government's digital transformation. At GDS we build and maintain some big and important products and services, like GOV.UK, the single government website, and GOV.UK Verify, the new way to prove your identity when using digital government services - both of which are now part of the UK's national infrastructure.

These complex products necessarily have large, multi-team, multi-discipline programmes supporting them. We know that autonomy is vital for motivating people. So we strive to maintain the team-level autonomy we believe is necessary, even when faced with the size and complexity of the products we need to support and deliver.

I am the Head of Agile Delivery at GDS and I'll talk about how GDS successfully delivers these large programmes while adhering to the principles of the Agile Manifesto and GDS' own design principles. We do this through focusing on effective communication and constant collaboration, rather than dogmatically following any particular scaled agile process or framework.

We've learnt a lot (sometimes the hard way) but, true to our values, we keep iterating and improving how we organise ourselves and our work. I will talk about the tools, practices and structures we've used, what we've learnt and how those tools, practices and structures have necessarily evolved to meet our needs. And I'll talk about how features like good leadership, a platforms approach and communities of practice are vital to enabling this scaling, not just within programmes but across the whole organisation, and indeed the whole of the UK government. The lessons we've learnt, we hope, are valid for any organisation trying to deliver complex programmes that need to be responsive to change.

About the Speaker

Adam has been working in IT for 20 years, as a developer, manager and consultant - and pretty much everything in between. He's now Head of Agile Delivery at the Government Digital Service, where he's helping make the whole of government deliver better products and services that really do meet the needs of users.


To ensure you're the first to hear about Agile Cambridge 2017, join our mailing list.

Join the mailing list