Britain’s national mapping agency won the award for Best Use of Agile in the public sector at the 2012 UK Agile Awards, held at The Grand Connaught Rooms in London, presented by Yoh.
Ordnance Survey’s Generic Online Ordering Service Engine (GOOSE) project team were publicly recognised for their adoption of the Agile methodology to deliver a one stop shop for customers ordering and downloading Ordnance Survey data.
Ordnance Survey is helping the public sector to break the mould as it moves into its fourth year of Agile working. Agile is seen by many in the software development industry as the pinnacle of software development practices, and in line with the Government’s ICT strategy of delivering efficient, cost-effective public services.
A variety of Agile principles were adopted by the GOOSE project team in 2009, pioneering the implementation of the methodology and paving the way for Agile transformation across the organisation. Working on a bespoke and technically complex business-to-business and business-to-government ecommerce system, the team overcame cultural barriers and introduced new working practices. In two years the team transformed the customer experience giving customers a one stop shop for ordering Ordnance Survey data, with order placement and fulfillment fully automated.
Bob Goodrich, Director of Information Systems at Ordnance Survey, said the introduction of Agile was essential. ‘We’re extremely proud to see the GOOSE project team recognised for their use of Agile. Agile was adopted at a time when we had put a lot of resource and money into developing an online ordering system,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t working and we decided to go down another path. The team have worked extremely hard to deliver the project and achieve this award despite facing many challenges along the way.’
As the Agile methodology began to be more widely adopted, the GOOSE team provided assistance and lessons learnt to the new teams. As these teams delivered successfully, Ordnance Survey adopted Agile as its delivery methodology in late 2011, instigating the Agile Transformation Programme which sees all Information Systems’ projects work very closely with the product owners and stakeholders across the organisation, sharing the vision of cross business collaboration within an Agile framework.
Director of Products at Ordnance Survey, Peter ter Haar, said, ‘The collaborative benefits of Agile cannot be overestimated. The product teams now work closely with the Agile projects, ensuring greater understanding of customers’ needs and being able to meet those needs faster. The Agile principles of delivering in incremental batches mean we are not waiting for a final fully-functional delivery and can instead be involved in testing and providing feedback along the way.’
The Agile Awards recognise the people, projects, and innovations that adopt and apply the Agile methodology in the UK. The Agile community nominates candidates based on their extraordinary contributions to the challenge of developing Agile. A Board of peers then assesses the scope, impact, and potential of each candidate. The Board are looking for how heavily nominees embraced the Agile approach and how closely Agile practices were followed and in achieving successful completion of their projects.