– It’s only when code slows down politics that politicians understand the value of flexibility

Steffen Sutorius’ policy advocacy for less detailed IT development managementis a sign of the times and a sign of political misunderstanding of the framework conditions needed to strengthen the work on digital innovation.

When the new government turned out not to contain a digitization minister, several people reacted.

It has been talked about a lot, but it seems to be at least a symptom of a more underlying problem – a lack of political understanding of how we can organize the public sector to meet the growing demands, expectations and opportunities for creating numerical value.

The pandemic has shown that it is entirely possible to be flexible if the political will is present.

As NAV is written: “Already eleven days after the shutdown, Norwegian municipalities have been informed that a new digital solution for applying for social assistance will be implemented within a week or two.”

It is only when the code sets policy limits that politicians seem to care about flexibility and the ability to turn around quickly. Agility in administration provides flexibility for policy. It is only lucky for Norway that NAV recently had went through a huge digital transformation which probably made it possible in such a short time. When the pension reform arrived, it could not be implemented for several years. It was the same with the new penal code.

What we need more now is the same political will to adapt the whole of the public sector so that it becomes competent in the development of digital products.

We must anticipate the next crisis/reform.

Five concrete tips

I have written before about the increased emphasis on digitization in party platforms and called for the first agile batch. Agile has become a watered down term and falls far short of covering what is needed, but it is a good starting point for increasing proficiency and

To take it a step further, I’ve compiled a list of very specific advice for politicians around the country:

  1. Give clear signals Ministries and agencies that digitization in Norway should be characterized by continuous product development, preferably based on flexible principles and
    state of mind. Projects should only be an add-on, not the main support, like this
    digital innovation takes place in
  2. Get Rid of the State Project Template for IT projects and call it R&D insteadthen
    you avoid computer scandals at the same time. Although it seems intuitively correct to
    quality assurance projects in advance, this does not work for digitization projects.
    As Sutorius rightly points out, it quickly takes up to three years to be allowed to
    start development. Rather than spending ten million on quality assurance, we can spend ten
    million to develop a prototype. And if the prototype fails, then we’ve learned something.
    This is how all the best digital product development companies work
    digital innovation on. Why should the Norwegian public sector be worse?
  3. Adapt other support schemes accordingly, and ensure dynamic funding mechanisms as suggested by Sutorius in his message, but set a maximum limit for the amount of documentation. Those allocating funds to initiatives will have enough skills and experience to decide which initiatives create value. Yes, we need to know that we are spending taxpayers’ money on the right things, but in the pursuit of perfect information and quality assurance, the same taxpayers’ money is wasted on documentation requirements and hiring consultants. to answer.
  4. Sequence homework in at least two sections. First in a prototype phase, scaling up later
    the initiative when it is ready and when we know the solution is viable and brings value.
    Use resources on value-creating work.
  5. Eases the dream of direct profit withdrawal in crowns and øre of computer projects above the operating grant to the agencies. We cannot realize man-years without measuring what man-years spend time doing, and it is totally impossible to predict their size. If one wants to measure how many man-years are carried out, this triggers an internal battle for resources, and the dynamic leads to Taylorism in the measurement and monitoring of employees. If you want to take efficiency gains, a temporary increase in the ABE reform is a better measure.

These measures are a few steps on the way to a public Norway with framework conditions
suitable for modern digital development.

We need more steps and therefore we also need brave and experienced politicians
on the numerical development, which can indicate a direction.

Adele Matthews

"Passionate pop cultureaholic. Proud bacon trailblazer. Avid analyst. Certified reader."

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