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What Is Government Agility?

Government agencies are faced with increasing demand, changing expectations, and constantly evolving requirements. Traditional models of government are failing to keep up. Agility is an organization’s ability to adapt quickly, run efficiently and deliver better outcomes to customers and stakeholders. Agility requires a change in the way that you think, lead and work.

"Traditional models of government are failing to keep up with the changing needs and expectations of citizens and staff."

A government team using agile methods with scrum charts on the wall and sticky notes on them


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A New Way Of Working

Government Agility is achieved through a new way of working. In the new way of working, lean and agile principles are embraced to create a healthy work environment, support high-performing teams and improve outcomes for state and local government agencies. The change to the new way of working requires government leaders to:

  1. Lead with Agility – Provide clarity to purpose, intent and direction and support self-organizing teams to figure out how to achieve the goals
  2. Build a culture of trust – Foster a culture of collaboration, transparency, learning and experimentation
  3. Focus on customers and stakeholders – Engage customers and stakeholders and gather feedback from beginning to end
  4. Align strategy, work and capacity – Define measurable outcomes and limit work in progress so that teams can stay focused on priorities
  5. Improve continuously – Apply systems thinking and root cause analysis and invest in learning and growth

How To Get Started

The foundation for getting started is to develop an understanding of agile principles and gain leadership support for the change. Get educated on the agile principles, applications of agile in government and the experiences of other agencies. Meet with your leadership team to discuss current challenges and how government agility can address them.

Once there is leadership buy-in, we recommend taking an experimental approach to agility.

  • Identify the driving challenge
    • Review and prioritize your organizational challenges and select a high-priority challenge to work on
  • Define the desired outcomes
    • Consider what you want to achieve and define clear and measurable criteria for success
  • Select one or two changes to implement
    • Brainstorm ideas and select one or two agile principles and practices to adopt
  • Gather feedback and make adjustments
    • Set up feedback loops, gather feedback about the change, track progress toward the success measures and make adjustments as needed
  • Decide what to work on next
    • Review and update your backlog of challenges and select the next change to implement

Is agility right for you?

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