An important part of this is making sure that common tools, services and platforms are trusted by the service managers whose services will use them. Service managers need to know that: the tools, services and platforms are based on user needs; they’re of a high quality and they’ll be supported for as long as they’re needed.
So with that in mind we’ve drafted some principles (similar to the GDS design principles), for teams across government to follow when building and running products and components for the Government as a Platform toolbox.
Principles for Government as a Platform products
Meet a common need
Products should meet a simple and common need, shared by a wide range of services across government.
Products should be run for the benefit of government as a whole, not just a specific service or department.
Commit to maintaining the product
Products should be supported at the highest level of the organisation to make sure there’s sufficient people and money to keep it running as long as it’s needed.
Make it easy for the user
Products should support services to provide a high quality, straightforward user experience.
Be easy to integrate
Products should be quicker, cheaper and easier for service teams to use, rather than implementing their own solution to meet the same user need.
Be ready to grow
Product teams should have processes in place to respond quickly to service teams wishing to use the product, and to support any subsequent increase in usage.
Be easy to adopt
Service teams should be able to get started without direct support from product teams, by following clear processes, documentation and code.
Support service separation
Each service's data should be kept separate. Activity from one service mustn’t affect another.
Avoid being tied down to one supplier
If products use suppliers, service teams should be able to choose from multiple suppliers and change quickly from one to another.
Meet technical and design standards
Be open about performance
Teams should publish data about the product including future plans, performance, coverage, targets and incidents so that service teams can make informed decisions.
Be open about cost
Be clear about what it will cost a service team to use the product.
So what do you think? We’re keen to hear from teams across government so that we can build a set of principles that work for, and are trusted, by everyone. Email us your thoughts or leave a comment below.