“The strategy is delivery”

This is the mantra of the Government Digital Service, the team charged with digital transformation of government service provision.  If you’ve recently used any gov.uk site and been pleasantly surprised at the ease and simplicity of the transaction then this is the team, led by Mike Bracken, under the auspices of Cabinet Secretary Francis Maude, that is responsible.  You can find out more about this very impressive transformation here .


Their task is a massive one and last week marked the half way point of the 400 day journey.  At Sprint 14, the big get together to mark the half way point, we saw many new improved sites.  Registering for PAYE, applying for Visas and booking prison visits all were demo’d by government representatives.


Martha Lane Fox, whose report in 2010, on the old status started the whole effort, made a rousing speech thanking everyone for their work. She explained that the ambition for the enterprise, to make government more open and accessible for, all matches Tim Berners Lee’s original vision for the www. She pointed out that the task has now reached a critical mass scale.  Which meant that, as with all such efforts, professionalism and hard work tend to overtake the chaotic frenzy of start ups.  She said : “people say to me, it’s just not the same anymore, you don’t stand on a desk shouting!…. No, it’s grown up, it’s really creating change at scale.”


As to the strategy, it is fair to say that the most crucial part of any strategy is execution, or delivery.  There’s really not much point otherwise, which means that the most important job of any strategist is delivery.  The strategist’s role does not, cannot, stop at design.  It’s crucial to maintain real progress.  Strategy means not just doing the next thing that demands your attention.  It means looking up from the “urgent” and considering the “important”.


The real heart of the Government Digital Strategy is to put users at the heart of design.  Francis Maude commented last week that “this seems obvious, but is easily forgotten”.  So the “strategy is delivery” means delivery against the user experience.


This is as true for media as it is for the GDS.  Delivery is everything, and the user journey is the heart.


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