3. Work in the open by default

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3.1 Share evidence, research and decision making openly

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Identify performance indicators for the service, including the 4 mandatory key performance indicators (KPIs) defined in the manual. Establish a benchmark for each metric and make a plan to enable improvements.

Setting performance indicators allows you to continuously improve your service by:

  • learning its strengths and weaknesses
  • using data to support improvements you make

(Digital Service Standard (UK))

Share your experiences with colleagues across the Government of Canada, other levels of government, clients and service providers. Sharing experiences and best practices helps to raise the overall service quality. It helps to reduce duplication of effort and save costs. So share ideas, share intentions, share failures and learn together. (Plan - Digital Design Playbook (ISED))


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  • Procuring goods and services in the open is an important part of an open environment (Open Markets - Open First Whitepaper (GC))
  • When appropriate, share your development process and progress publicly (Digital Services Playbook (US))
  • Document and show your work. (Plan - Digital Design Playbook (ISED))
  • If you are redesigning a service document the changes and show how these changes will enhance the client experience when using the service. (Plan - Digital Design Playbook (ISED))

Alpha, beta and live stages:

  • document where you're getting the data for your metrics (Digital Service Standard (UK))
  • set up your analytics package to collect user journey data (Digital Service Standard (UK))
  • Publish metrics externally (Digital Services Playbook (US))
  • make sure all stakeholders are actively involved in promoting or supporting digital delivery of the new service (Digital Service Standard (UK))

Beta stage:

  • track people moving from using the offline service to the online one (Digital Service Standard (UK))

Implementation guides

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3.2 Make all non-sensitive data, information, and new code developed in delivery of services open to the outside world for sharing and reuse under an open licence

Make all source code open and reusable under an appropriate open source software licence, so that other developers can:

  • benefit from your work and build on it
  • learn from your experiences
  • identify parts of your code for reuse which you might not have recognised yourself

This includes working in the open, sharing any and all data and information produced in developing the solution, and making the final solution available as open source software. Publishing your code and data from the beginning of your technology project or programme will encourage:

  • clearer documentation, making it easier for your team to maintain the code, track changes to it and for other people to use it
  • cleaner and well-structured code that is easier to maintain
  • processes that will allow you to continuously publish code as it is written
  • clarity around data that needs to remain protected and how that's achieved
  • suggestions about how the code can be improved or where security can be improved
  • others to contribute ideas as the project is in progress


  • Work in the open and make data and source code open and reusable
  • Host source code publicly in an open internet source code repository
  • Use an Open Source Initiative approved licence
  • Offer users a mechanism to report bugs and issues, and be responsive to these reports
  • Keep track of changes to it using version control

Implementation guides

Similar resources