Agile Methodologies are being Introduced in the Public Sector

29 april 2016

“In order to be successful today, you have to be able to adapt and make decisions quickly. We have to know how to stop and pick up speed at the right time. And that is what agile methodologies are all about,” said the Deputy Head of the Analytical Center Mikhail Pryadilnikov, opening the conference Agile Approach to State Project Management.

“The classic system for providing IT support in the public sector in the UK occasionally malfunctioned, and it was not just because of the tech, but rather because of both business and the consumer not being ready for change, so the British government developed 18 standards that help avoid errors. One of them calls for the use of an agile approach, a more open-ended approach than the more traditional methodologies of interacting with the user that focuses on constant improvement of services both while they are being rolled out for the first time and after that, when they are already in use,” Andrew Scott, the World Bank Expert on Open Data and Digital Government, said, describing the UK’s experience. “Agile is one of the new tools in the government’s IT tool set and it is expected to be used in 50% of new projects.”

The Sberbank Online Head of services Vladimir Stasevich made a presentation on how the agile approach is transforming the work of Sberbank’s IT department. He is convinced that agile is first of all about trust in a team of partners that all have equal rights because otherwise it would be impossible to solve creative tasks since they require the friendly and open environment.

“Agile is not just a methodology but a family of methodologies, a new set of values that make you want to do your best: agile is a system where people and interaction between them are more important than the process and the tools, where a good product that delivers results is more important than exhaustive documentation and where cooperation with the customer is more important than contract terms, and being ready for change is preferable than following the original plan,” couch Aleksey Pimenov believes. “All the tools that allow you to follow this approach are collectively called Agile.”

Successful self-organizing teams that have a lot of freedom and work on innovative products should not be micromanaged but should instead be given broad assignments and then monitored on those deliverables, according to Mr. Pimenov. He also presented the Scrum development framework, noting that it does not in any way contradict project management and can instead become an important tool of project management.

The Head of the Department for Project Management in the Public Sector of the Analytical Center Olesya Safonova talked about the findings of a study that looked at how the Russian government and key ministries were using project management methods and reminded those present that the Project Management standard to be approved this year should be of great help in this area.

“The Project Olimp contest and the conference that the Analytical Center organizes based on its results remains the biggest project management event,” Ms. Safonova said. “This year the contest went international and we got a lot of support from the Republic of Belarus and from Kazakhstan. Professional trust in the contest stems from the methodologies and state standards used.”

This year Project Olimp starts June 1st. Olesya Safonova made special mention of the new Agile Approaches in Project Management category, which has not been included in the main contest yet but that uses its own methodologies for identifying existing agile practices.

At the end of the conference the participants split into groups for practical workshops on how to come up with agile solutions for the public sector.