2. Iterate and improve frequently

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Guidelines

2.1 Develop services using agile, iterative and user-centred methods

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Digital Service Standard (Ontario): Design and build the service using an agile and user-centred approach. Agile is an approach to building services that breaks the work into smaller chunks known as iterations. Build one feature of the service at a time until the entire service is complete.

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It is a much lower risk approach than traditional build-it-all-at-once approach known as waterfall because frequent iterations expose any flaws in the original plan much faster (e.g. not getting approvals, not enough resources, not the right people on the team, etc.)

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User-centred methods such as user research and usability testing put the focus on making services that are easy-to-use. Traditional government services focus on meeting business needs and aligning with policy goals. A user-centred approach ensures business needs are also balanced against user needs. This helps to increase digital service uptake.

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Checklist

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Implementation guides

Reusable solutions

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2.2 Continuously improve in response to user needs

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Once you have designed and launched a service, there is still work to do. Treat the service as a product; it requires regular reviews, usability tests and improvements. Unlike a project that has pre-determined start and end date, a product has a life cycle that goes far beyond the launching of the service. Regularly assessing the service and welcoming opportunities for improvement will help to ensure that the service keeps pace with evolving client needs and benefits from new or improved technology. (2. Product management, not just project management. (Assess - Digital Design Playbook (ISED)))

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At every stage of a project, we should measure how well our service is working for our users. This includes measuring how well a system performs and how people are interacting with it in real-time. Our teams and agency leadership should carefully watch these metrics to find issues and identify which bug fixes and improvements should be prioritized. Along with monitoring tools, a feedback mechanism should be in place for people to report issues directly. (Digital Services Playbook (US))

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Continuously capture and monitor performance data to inform ongoing service improvements.

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Measuring performance means continuously improving a service by:

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(Digital Service Standard (Ontario))

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Checklist

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Implementation guides

Reusable solutions

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Similar resources

2.3 Try new things, start small and scale up

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Checklist

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Implementation guides

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Reusable solutions

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