Improving IT Practices in Government

The 6th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV) will be held in Albany October 22 – 25. Greane Tree Technology congratulates the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany for bringing ICEGOV to the United States for the first time. Improvements in government IT have enormous potential benefit for the citizens who use government services, the taxpayers who fund them, and the businesses that help provide them.

An opportunity to modernize IT practices in state government

At Greane Tree Technology, we are particularly interested in how the Agile methodology can make government IT efforts more effective. Agile has been shown to reduce risk and improve outcomes on software development projects, and it is the industry standard approach, but many state agencies are just beginning to adopt it.

Greane Tree Technology had the opportunity to assist one such agency. Agency staff had received a thorough grounding in the theory of Agile and had run several pilot projects. Now, as they rolled the new methodology out across the agency, they wanted hands-on, practical advice from software developers who “lived and breathed Agile.” Greane Tree, which relies on Agile every day, was invited to provide the real-world perspective.

Agile in the agency context

Greane Tree Technology staff got to know the people and procedures at the agency. We took an almost ethnographic approach, trying to understand the agency’s working culture so that we could help it capitalize on existing strengths and incrementally modify conditions that might run counter to the Agile methodology. Working collaboratively with agency stakeholders, we delivered mentoring, training, documentation, and management advice on how to successfully apply Agile best practices in the agency’s existing business context, and how to adjust agency culture to encourage continued Agile adoption.

We were delighted to have the opportunity to help New York State government take practical steps toward Agile and the goal of more effective and efficient software development for its constituents. Now that ICEGOV, the international conference devoted to improving government responsiveness through technology innovation, is coming to Albany, we feel proud to be part of a global effort.