Agile Commissioning A Beginners View

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I collated this simply as a conversation starter at the Scottish Public Sector Barcamp on 27-03-09. In the event I didn't get the opportunity and so was able to put the material 'in the bank' for …

I collated this simply as a conversation starter at the Scottish Public Sector Barcamp on 27-03-09. In the event I didn't get the opportunity and so was able to put the material 'in the bank' for another time. But on reflection it seemed silly not to make it available anyway - you can do your own voice-over!

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  • 1. Agile Commissioning What’s that ??
  • 2. Caveat
    • This is not an attempt to explain a new set of procurement rules
      • For that, go to places like
      • NESTA or the OGC
    • It’s more about how you need to begin to think in this context – your mental framework
    • First, we need to describe how we want to go about doing what we want to do (!)
  • 3. Things Valued
    • Individuals and interactions   over processes and tools 
    • Working software   over comprehensive documentation  
    • Customer collaboration   over contract negotiation  
    • Responding to change   over following a plan  
    • Manifesto for Agile Software Development
  • 4. Principles
    • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
    • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
    • Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
    • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
    • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
    • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
    • Working software is the primary measure of progress.
    • Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
    • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
    • Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.
    • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
    • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.
    • Manifesto for Agile Software Development
  • 5. Why bother? (+ve)
    • Collaborative working is the order of the day
    With thanks to the Ontario Gov’t archives at
  • 6. Why bother (–ve)
    • “ When it comes to Web 2.0, by the time the [organisation] has established a programme board, hired a management consultant, logged the issues, mitigated the risks and approved the Project Initiation Document, users will have got bored and moved elsewhere.”
    • Web 2.0 in Local Government: Are We Ready To Lose Control?
    • Stephen Hilton
    • http:// =195#more-195
  • 7. Context 1 ?!?? !!!!
  • 8. Context 2
    • “ New concepts can be prototyped in less time than the meeting you’d have needed to discuss it in the first place”
    • Simon Willison, at the launch of the Guardian’s ‘Open Platform’ (11.03.09)
  • 9. My Context
  • 10. Maybe need to think about this a bit?
  • 11. Think 1 ‘what’s the Pitch?’
    • Knowing what you think: pitching as a design tool
      • what is the important need that you aim to meet?
      • what is your approach ?
      • what are the quantifiable benefits from your approach?
      • what’s the competition ?
    • Boyd, F. (2007) How does innovation happen? Published by Creativity East Midlands for the Creativity: Innovation and Industry conference, 6th December 2007
    • Boyd .pdf
  • 12. Think 2 - Commissioning as the corollary of development
    • Have a look at the Agile Software Development page on wikipedia
      • And do a mental search & replace with ‘commissioning’
        • Connection with Agile Manifesto
        • Useful points on
          • Comparisons with other methods e.g. waterfall, cowboy coding etc.
          • Suitability of the approach in different project contexts
          • Appropriate project management tools etc.
  • 13. Where & when might this be useful?
    • [ this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach]
    • ?
    • ?
    • ?
    • The point is that you need to think about it not just move from one ‘answer’ to another one…
  • 14. Discourse available?
    • …on Agile Procurement at Google Groups