A few days ago, I visited one of the government office for my personal work. I received the standard response from the office, “We are looking into your file. It is in progress.”
That was kind of very disappointing. Most of us have gone through this experience and we are used to it. Traditionally these government organizations are less efficient, less transparent and most importantly they are not customer focused.
We pay direct or indirect taxes for all the government operations, and expect good service and infrastructure in return. Hence, ideally, we are prepaid customers for the government and government is kind of service provider.
With this analogy, the government is lacking in following aspects:
- Customer service
- Transparency and trust
- No continuous process improvement
A few decades ago, large corporates were facing the same issue. We could resolve this with various continuously invented processes, methodologies and frameworks such as Six Sigma, Kanban, Agile, Scrum etc. Hence, with the implementation of Agile in government organizations we can improve on these aspects.
The Current structure of typical government processes and issues:
- Customer: Individual or any other department is the customer. They come with their request, submit it to specific person
- It goes to next department for approval, then next and it goes on
- If approved it comes back to individual
- No automated status update for customer
- External interventions are more
- Less transparent, bribery makes it less trustworthy
- No priority order for files
- There is no feedback taken from the individual and no continuous improvements are done based on the feedback
Implementing AGILE in government organizations:
AGILE is not framework, its mindset, based on certain principles: (Review please or suggest better word)
- Customer satisfaction is the central strategy
- Transparency and trust among the stakeholders including customers
- Continuous improvement based on the customer feedback
- Responding to change easily
Agile with the integration of the technology, can prove government to be more efficient, more customer-focused, transparent and trustworthy.
In the bird’s eye view, agile has multiple versions itself. It has Scrum, Kanban, Process optimization, Scaled Agile, Large Scale Scrum etc. etc.
Agile believes in visual Management. Which improves efficiency and transparency among the stakeholders. Scrum board is developed and accessible to everyone in the team. The backlog is managed in well-defined order. The Definition of Done (DoD), Definition of Ready (DoR) is well defined. And all these things are followed in very disciplined manner. Hence it proves very successful.
Let’s take the example of Agile- ‘Scrum’ implementation in the government organization. 86 percent of the Agile is in the form of Scrum hence it is very proven method of agile. It has main three roles:
Product Owner: This role can be with officer who is decision maker of the department on respective requests
Scrum Master: Administrative Officer who looks after all the disciplinary things, and processes, and also protect the team from external interventions.
Team: Team consists of various role. With respect to roles in government organization, they can be-
- Verification officer-For verifying the things
- Feedback and improvement officer
- Compliance officer
And so on…
Kanban had transformed Toyotos production line and made it world’s leading organization. This method can be used to transform government organizations.
Similarly, for large organizations Scaled Agile or Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) can be used.
Scrum can transform government organizations.
What is your opinion on this?
Backlog can be created for pending requests in que. DoR for such request can be defined and
- Backlog: Number of requests in certain period of time can be assessed and arranged in the priority order based on factors such as definition of ready (Whether file is ready to process)
- Sprint Planning: Assess the backlog and identify, number of requests which are easy to process. Also, understand approach and plan to complete the requests on time
- Sprint: Defined period by the department/Team. Team assesses and decides the number of files to be taken into the sprint-specific period.
Within this period, SM (Admin Officer) will make it sure that no new file is given to the team. Also, he protects team from the external interventions
- Sprint Review: Once request is processed, then it is accessed by the authority or PO and if he signs it off then it is communicated to the customer
- Standup: Daily quick meeting to educate the team on the progress of the requests
When Scrum Becomes Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS)
If this is successful, then it will be adopted by other departments. The interaction between such departments will become more complex and hence Agile scrum will get matured to Large-Scale Scrum.
I personally feel, adopting agile in government, is need of time. It will significantly increase the efficiency, transparency, and satisfaction for the citizens. Implementation will be the little bit complex, but it is possible.