CANgov

Canadian Digital Service – Open sourcing best practices

The core theme of DigitalGovernment.io is ‘Open Sourcing Best Practices’, meaning the documentation of Digital Government transformation case studies, in a reusable form so that other agencies can repeat that same success.

Governments across the world illustrate different aspects of how this can be achieved. Canada in particular has embraced this culture and offer an exemplar case study for how to go about this.

Github resources

The GC Digital team are pioneering the use of open source practices and technologies to make these resources more accessible and reusable.

For example they offer their Digital Transformation Playbook online via a Google presentation, and it is also published as a Github repo.

The Playbook is one of a number of programs within an overall Github presence for the Canadian Government; other key resources include the Open Data Toolkit and the Web Experience Toolkit.

Services as Products

There’s an especially important principle that comes hand in hand with this approach: Treating services as ‘products’, a key Agile discipline, and an effective way of encouraging a holistic approach to Service Design.

DZone explores the Scrum Methodology in Product Design: What It Looks Like in Practice, describing how this synchronizes the different team roles, such as UX design and development, to ensure rapid iterations of wholly complete services.

On this page Canadian digital projects are listed as products, categorized by their lifecycle stage of Discovery, Alpha, Beta and Live.

For example one product in production is Impact Canada, a scalable, reusable platform that creates new opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs to help solve Canada’s biggest challenges.

By open sourcing the code and methods it means this capability can be easily reused for other projects and reinventing the wheel avoided. The competition challenge model is a common format for encouraging Open Innovation and could be reused across a multitude of different scenarios, meaning the original investment yields a much larger ROI for taxpayers, and makes sharing of best practices considerably easier.

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Editor of the DigitalGovernment.io site.

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