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Exploring digital in Parliament

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James Cannings talks about AGILE at Parliament Exploring Digital
James Cannings talks about AGILE at Parliament Exploring Digital

Last week we held the first seminar in our Exploring Digital series. The idea behind these sessions is to build knowledge, awareness and expertise inside Parliament about digital technology and innovation.

Every month external speakers will be invited to present and discuss a range of topics, everything from user centred design to social media crisis management. This month the topic was AGILE.

Like many organisations, Parliament has in the last couple of years adopted a more AGILE approach to web development. This has helped us to reduce risk and deliver more successful projects, but it can be difficult to apply it within a wider project and programme management context that follows a more traditional Waterfall/Prince 2 approach. James Cannings and Karoliina Luoto, our first two Exploring Digital presenters, are experienced AGILE practitioners and have a strong track record delivering successful AGILE projects as well as training and coaching for teams in AGILE methodologies. Both talks looked at the journey many organisations go on to adopt a more AGILE approach to project delivery.

James is co-founder of MMT Digital and gave a great insight into how his agency uses the AGILE approach to deliver successful projects that deliver real benefits for organisations. He emphasised fun as a key ingredient for the AGILE team which brings together a range of skilled people with shared goals and objectives. One of the key take-aways from his talk was that AGILE is all about delivering the minimum viable product, as soon as possible. The team still needs to have a clear vision of the end result of the project but iterative delivery saves money and allows flexibility to change that vision as you learn along the way. His skateboard / car slide was probably the most memorable.

The fundamental flaw in project delivery
The fundamental flaw in project delivery

Karoliina works for Codento, a Finnish consultancy for AGILE and open software. Her talk focussed on AGILE leadership and purchasing and how it can change the public sector. She emphasised that AGILE is not just for developers, but decision makers too, who must be fully committed to the AGILE approach for it to properly work. A strong message from Karoliina's talk was that senior leaders also need coaching in AGILE; project boards should be all about show and tells not long papers. You can see Karoliina's full presentation here

Karoliina Luoto talks about how AGILE can change the public sector
Karoliina Luoto talks about how AGILE can change the public sector

We had a packed room for the seminar reflecting that AGILE is something colleagues in Parliament are keen to hear more about and consider applying some of the principles and techniques to their own work. A lively question and answer session at the end prompted some interesting discussions and showed the benefit of running events like this.

These Exploring Digital sessions are an opportunity for us to learn from others and share experience as well as building greater engagement with the wider digital community. These talks will hopefully go some way towards bridging that gap. Next month's session is all about user needs.

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