Fail Fast: The Secret to Enabling Your Digital Transformation

It may sound counter-intuitive, but a fail fast attitude may be just what you need to unlock your Local Authority’s digital transformation and improve the vital resident services you deliver.

Local Authorities are at the forefront of delivering essential resident services, and the pressure on them has never been greater. Often expected to do more with less budget, Local Authorities are also expected to deliver services that are always on, aid residents in their daily lives, and keep everything secure at all times. It’s no mean feat.

In the new COVID reality, Local Authorities’ priorities, lower budgets, and resident needs have put pressure on underpinning technology. More services than ever need to be arranged remotely – whether that means the resident being able to book from home, or the Local Authority employee not being tied to a desk.

More than ever, ways to work effectively, maximise cost efficiencies and deliver always on, expectational services for residents are underpinned by technology, and digital transformation – cloud adoption – is the centre of this.

Digital transformation isn’t easy, but in the longer term with the right investment it is a resource and cost-efficient way to serve residents. One way to implement digital transformation and start to test, change and shape technology to enable better resident interactions and services is to adopt a ‘fail fast’ culture.

In this blog, we’re going to take you through exactly how failing fast is the secret to digital transformation.

What is Failing Fast?

Failing fast is all about running multiple smaller experiments to see what works and what doesn’t – fast. Rather than taking on large, monolithic, long-term projects that take months (or even years) to realise, failing fast prioritises small projects that can be realised and then assessed for effectiveness in a short timeframe.

What does this mean for your Local Authority? Well, it means having the ability to test and learn quickly. It means ensuring services remain always on without rigid annual or quarterly development windows that risk leaving residents without services if something were to break.

And it also means adopting an agile culture, enabling your Local Authority to adapt to changes, resident needs or internal user needs and to make services efficient and effective.

The Benefits of Failing Fast

The two major benefits of adopting a fail fast approach are experience and feedback. Failing fast is a great way to gain a greater scope of experience in a shorter timeframe, empowering you with knowledge that will be essential to your Local Authority’s go-forward technology journey. And as for feedback, data-driven analysis on project outcomes is essential to continual service improvement. Failing fast enables you to gather, analyse and utilise this data far more easily and quickly.

So what does this mean in real terms? Well, firstly it enables you to develop and test applications that are right for your residents – not that you hope are right. You can be agile when it comes to release schedules, and carry out fixes fast. Failing fast is also great when it comes to the need to react to external or internal requirements and adapt accordingly.

And, counter-intuitively perhaps, failing fast enables you to minimise downtime and maintain consistency of services for all users by minimising the scope and impact of any project failure.

Finally, failing fast enhances your Local Authority’s ability to learn, improve and get things right. According to a McKinsey report, the success rate of any kind of transformation is consistently low with less than 30% succeeding. These odds look a lot less intimidating when you’re carrying our multiple smaller projects, and failing fast gives you the data and experience to turn the knowledge gained from past failures into fuel for future successes.

Adopting a Fail Fast Culture

How can your Local Authority go about adopting a fail fast culture? At Six Degrees we believe there are five steps you should consider:

  • Don’t waste time investing in a project that won’t benefit your residents. Establish what your residents need and how they want to consume it, and run workshops to ensure you’ve validated your findings.
  • Figure out what your minimum viable product (MVP) is, and dedicate time to defining what are the essentials and what are just ‘nice to haves’.
  • Establish what your risks are, and of these risks which are acceptable and unacceptable. Test your acceptable risks right at the beginning of the project in order to make your outcomes more predictable.
  • Validate how your users’ access methods (smartphone, tablet, laptop and so on) affect your design. Implement a small part of your project to validate an assumption, and then implement a bit more to validate the next assumption.
  • If your development team uses DevOps, they can get immediate feedback on the quality of a deployment. This allows them to move to higher-quality code and a more stable deployment environment.

Fail Fast: The Secret to Digital Transformation and Better Resident Services

Failing fast could be the key to unlocking your Local Authority’s digital transformation and improving the vital resident services you deliver. Start your fail fast digital transformation journey to deliver better resident services using the cloud. Overcome the barriers to cloud adoption with a unique two-hop approach to migrating legacy infrastructure to the cloud with our Springboard to the Cloud eBook.

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