CDPS year in review 2021–22: working in the open
5.2 Activity: Work in the open
We said we’d adopt a fundamental principle of working in the open
‘Working in the open’ is central to Agile development – especially in a public sector context, where much information is ultimately public property. By working in the open, we mean sharing our project updates and findings with as wide as possible an audience – and inviting comment that we’re prepared to act upon.
CDPS has worked in the open throughout 2021-22 by:
- publishing blog posts at each stage of service development
- speaking at industry gatherings and other events
- holding knowledge sharing webinars for a broad Welsh public sector audience
- releasing many of our ‘show and tells’ (progress presentations) publicly on YouTube
- publishing CDPS weeknotes
- distributing a CDPS newsletter
- expanding our social media presence on Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn
5.2.1 Working in the open: blog posts
CDPS publishes, on average, 2 blog posts a week. More than 6,000 people have visited the CDPS site in 2021-22, viewing pages 55,000 times. These figures show substantial interest in our work from people working in the Welsh public sector and beyond.
On the blog, we publish project updates and more general posts covering topics such as user-centred design and Agile working.
Project updates are based upon the Agile development stages of discovery, alpha, beta and live – for example:
- Removing blockers in beta: next steps for Digital Landscape Review
- ‘Hubs’ a halfway house between office and homeworking
- ‘When is my bin day?’ How a Welsh council went user-centred
Broader topics have included:
- Bridging the digital divide in Wales
- Create psychological safety… and four other Agile content lessons
5.2.2 Working in the open: events
CDPS has spoken at 30 events in 2021-22. We’ve addressed industry gatherings such as Wales Tech Week, Digital Leaders, the Bevan Commission Conference and the Welsh Local Government Association Conference. We’ve appeared in the UK at conferences such as GovX Digital. Internationally, for example at GovTech Summit, we’ve spoken alongside international peers such as the Estonian government.
We’ve raised the profile of CDPS at these speaking events, while addressing the specific digital challenges of a bilingual country such as Wales.
5.2.3 Working in the open: webinars
CDPS holds monthly ‘webinars’ (web seminars) on topics arising from our work in user-centred digital service development. Around 220 people, from across the Welsh public sector, have attended. We publish all our webinars to the public on YouTube.
Wide-ranging subjects have included:
The webinars begin with expert presentations and are followed by typically active discussions. We’ve had speakers from the Welsh Government (such as Deputy Minister Lee Waters), charities (including Barnardo’s) and commercial organisations (the digital development agency Perago, for example).
Audiences have included representatives from councils, housing organisations, the charity sector, Welsh Government bodies and Welsh universities.
5.2.4 Working in the open: show and tells
‘Show and tells’ are one of the Agile ‘ceremonies’ – practices geared towards more reflective team working. They are regular sessions where a development team presents to a wider group about their recent progress and findings and encourages feedback.
For CDPS show and tells, the wider group includes not only CDPS but also representatives from throughout the Welsh public sector. Many medical staff, for example, have participated in our primary care show and tells – voicing ideas and sparking collaborations that could have promising results for the public sector.
Again, we publish most of our show and tells publicly on YouTube – such as these examples from the teams behind the:
5.2.5 Working in the open: weeknotes
Many CDPS teams publish a summary of their previous week’s work – weeknotes – publicly. The Communications and Engagement team, for example, publishes its weeknotes on Notion – a platform whose clear, simple layout chimes with the CDPS principle of accessibility. We email a compilation of these weeknotes, showing the breadth of CDPS’s innovative activities, to a growing audience in Wales and beyond.
5.2.6 Working in the open: newsletters
Newsletters have fallen out of favour with some organisations, in favour of social media. CDPS’s monthly newsletter, however, has been a hit. Our open and click rates, among our 350 or so subscribers, are respectively 37% and 32% – in both cases, about double the public sector average in the UK.
5.2.7 Working in the open: social media
CDPS has published 1,600 tweets in the past year, with a similar number of retweets, and has gathered more than 1,900 followers – again, a sizeable number given the potential audience.
We’re a strong presence on YouTube, releasing more than 100 videos of our Agile show and tells, seminars and training sessions.
We’re also using the newer platform LinkedIn. Our close to 400 LinkedIn posts in 2021-22 attracted around 850 followers. Our growth rate, of 6.6%, on the channel is 3 times the average LinkedIn growth rate for organisations.