Last week I went along to the wonderfully British-sounding Agile Tea. Hosted by the Government Digital Service, Agile Tea is part of the broader “teacamp” idea started in 2008, which began as a series of informal meet-ups for digital people who work in and around government – authority employees, contractors, and suppliers included. As the name would suggest, Agile Tea is for those who have an interest in the Agile methodology, and is held on the 3rd Thursday of every alternate month in Cafe Zest at floor House of Fraser, 101 Victoria St in London. Each session runs from 4-pm – 6pm and is organised around a particular theme or speaker to discuss their experiences of Agile government, followed by a more open chat over a cup of tea, hence: ‘Agile Tea’.
At the centre of last week’s discussion were the Agile government experiences of two members of the Transformation team at GDS: Dai Vaughan at the DVLA and Simon Everest at the Rural Payments Agency. Discussion was broadly focused on how best to introduce what is (often mistakenly) seen as the disruptive methods of Agile into large and established institutions of central government. Tips were shared on how to get C-level support for Agile, how to establish trust within government authorities to proceed with Agile projects, how to handle the usual “we tried Agile once and it failed” objections, and how to use Agile ‘Ceremonies’ such as stand-up meetings as well as Kanban boards to get a buzz around a new way of working and help drive change from the inside out. There were several “please-do-not-tweet-this-moments”, an indication of an openness and willingness to discuss honestly within the Agile Tea event.
Although this could be seen as somewhat preaching to the converted, for me this was a really useful session to get an insight into how the Agile community is steadily moving forwards within government. Wider, more informal discussion is always welcome as we all feel our way towards a truly Agile Digital Government. Equally welcome was the concept of “Agile pubbing” afterwards. Maybe Agile-Long-Island-Iced Tea next time?
We’re excited to be hosting our own event on Agile Marketing on 5 June, for more info and to register for your seat, please click:
By Jack Fitzgerald