Internet-era ways of working principles from public.digital


I’m on record as saying that the original design principles (latest version here) remain the most important thing (amongst many, many important things) that emerged from the formation of the Government Digital Service. They provided a blueprint for digital service teams across the public sector and beyond and articulated things that many of us already believed but were struggling to communicate more widely.

Many of that original GDS team now make up public.digital and they have published a new, updated take on those principles with an important piece of contextual guidance.

..break any of these rules sooner than do anything barbaric. It’s better to be pragmatic and make some progress, than wait for perfect circumstances that will never come, and not make any progress at all.

The new dozen principles are an evolution of those that came before them — and like the USDS version — show signs of lessons learned at the sharp end of trying to transform legacy organisations.

Personally I can see these finding themselves printed up and displayed on many a wall adjacent to agile teams and I’ll certainly be referring to the list in the future (alongside the capabilities outlined in the Accelerate book.)

There is much more context on the public.digital blogpost — I recommend having a read but here are the headlines →

1. Design for user needs, not organisational convenience

2. Test your riskiest assumptions with actual users

3. The unit of delivery is the empowered, multidisciplinary team

4. Do the hard work to make things simple

5. Staying secure means building for resilience

6. Recognise the duty of care you have to users, and to the data you hold about them

7. Start small and optimise for iteration. Iterate, increment and repeat

8. Make things open; it makes things better

9. Fund product teams, not projects

10. Display a bias towards small pieces of technology, loosely joined

11. Treat data as infrastructure

12. Digital is not just the online channel