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Agile Development lessons learned from Gov.uk

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When the United Kingdom developed a single website for all of its national government, it did so using Agile Development methods, the Cabinet Office's Government Digital Service says.

In a blog post dated Oct. 26 reflecting on lessons learned, developer Jamie Arnold says although the program was a success, by deviating from standard Agile methodology that calls for concentrating on fewer things at first, the team incurred additional overhead.

"Had we focused on fewer things from the outset, the overhead of getting people up to speed and the additional communication needed to manage this would have been far less and our momentum would have increased," he states.

The development team used a system of colored index cards to map out the components of the program, but in retrospect it would have been better to use Kanbah, Arnold also says. The wall of index cards "forced us to flag dependencies, show blockers and compromises," but Kanbah "would have provided additional mechanisms for tracking dependencies, limited work in progress and increase focus on throughput."

Having verifiable data to track the progress of scrum teams also proved important, he says – but not delivered via a Gantt chart. The chart the team did use was based "on the number of stories and points left to deliver the milestone with historical data on a team's speed to build, test and deploy the remaining scope."

For more:
- read Jamie Arnold's blog post

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