Phoenix, the federal government’s pay modernization initiative, aptly illustrates the federal government’s challenges with successfully deploying shared services. Phoenix, Shared Travel Services, and the Government of Canada Marketplace show how traditional waterfall project management coupled with specifications that revolve between excessive, tangential, inadequate, and just plain false lead to less-than-ideal results.
On schedule and on budget, Buyandsell.gc.ca began hosting the Government Electronic Tendering Services on June 1 2013. The shared services offered on Buyandsell.gc.ca help more than 80,000 private sector suppliers and buyers representing more than 90 federal departments and agencies to focus on doing business, instead of figuring out how to do business. Buyandsell.gc.ca hosts more than 1 million page views per month.
Buyandsell.gc.ca constitutes a series of successful transformation projects. These projects are a possible template for transforming government services to citizens. However, in the Buyandsell.gc.ca case, leading stakeholders never considered transformation their goal and at no time was their work managed as a transformation project.
Buyandsell.gc.ca is the result of an iterative process of discovery. The team asked open questions and was open to all possible answers. They eschewed traditional requirements definition and delivered incremental improvements guided by a strategic intent: to improve the user experience of tender management. By allowing tender creators and consumers to validate the improvements via real systems, and by accepting a long-term process of continued short-term iteration, a transformed system was made operational. That system is built upon loosely coupled foundation (platform) components that can be added to in order to deliver additional services without impacting Buyandsell.gc.ca itself.
While this approach remains unfamiliar to many in the federal government, it is based upon Agile methodologies widely used in the private sector. These techniques present a lower risk than the waterfall project management approach (the National Project Management System) traditionally use for federal government projects.
This presentation summarizes key Lessons Learned in the conception, design, implementation, and delivery of Buyandsell.gc.ca. It references best Agile practices in relation to its achievements.