If you work in government IT, you’ve probably heard this before: “We’ve got one standard database product.” “We’ve standardized on this programming language.” “This software is our standard for case management systems,” and so on. There are a number of important downsides, though, to standardization efforts: one size all ends up fitting nothing well, they act as a placeholder for more informed technical discussions, and they end up being a barrier to continual change.
Read more →“Agile” gets mentioned enough in digital government work that can sometimes seem like it applies to everything: is anything not agile? But there’s a deeper meaning behind it that’s easy to miss: adding agile practices without removing established, “waterfall” processes that slow a team down is a recipe for frustration. Being agile means choosing one approach over another, and deliberately prioritizing what you spend your time on.
Read more →“Working in the open” – blogging and talking about your work on social media – has become a lot more common in the past few years. As a federal public servant, though, it’s still sometimes hard to know what you are or aren’t allowed to talk about.
Read more →If you’re creating documents, one of the most important things you can do is to use real headings. They’re easy to use and easy to customize, and they make a huge difference – both to people using accessibility tools and to anyone converting your document into a webpage or other format. Here’s a detailed guide on how to get started.
Read more →One of the terms that comes up often in digital government work is “shipping”, or getting things out the door. Let’s take a look at why shipping is important, why it’s so hard, and ways to make it easier.
Read more →Nicole Wong wrote a great piece last month titled, “Building a Tech Policy Movement”. It captures something that really resonates: there’s an urgent need for people who are fluent in both technology and public policy, and a real shortage of those people. Outside a small handful of researchers, no one is teaching public policy students how to be technology-savvy, or teaching computer scientists and IT specialists how to be government-savvy.
Read more →With a new Minister and new Mandate Letters, it’s an exciting time to be working in digital government in the federal government. With a new GC CIO likely arriving in January, it seemed timely to put together a “new year’s wishlist” of suggestions to help put wind into the sails of digital teams across government.
Read more →In mid-October, Heather and I moved to Whitehorse. So far we’ve really enjoyed it – Whitehorse is a lovely city, full of friendly people. We both feel really lucky to have the chance to live and work somewhere new, and to see a part of Canada we hadn’t seen before.
Read more →A lot has happened since I originally planned to start a blog. On the plus side: I started a blog! I’m only 6 years or so late.
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