In our ten years of working with governments across the country, we’ve seen civil servants and organizations deliver critical services to people that not only met their needs, but treated them with respect and dignity as well. Delivery-Driven Government is the distillation of what we’ve seen these governments embody, and our vision for how all governments can and should serve the public.

Principles of Delivery-Driven Government




Build equitable systems.

Government services should be simple, accessible, and easy to use, with outcomes that are just and equitable for all Americans. These outcomes can and should be measurably better for all Americans, though this is not currently the case, with significant disparate outcomes such as by race, sexual orientation, gender, and socioeconomic status. Governments should design, build, and operate systems with the full intention of significantly improving these outcomes.

Put people first.

Government should be responsive to the people it serves. This means it has to be accessible, available, simple, interactive, and human. Public servants must develop a deep understanding of the needs of the people the government serves, and prioritize those needs over all else. Government services should solve a complete problem for its users, and meet them where they are in life.

Empower for action.

A government focused on delivery is a government that empowers its people to deliver. Empowerment comes in many forms: providing modern tools, enabling decision-making by individuals and teams, trusting employees over creating layers of validation, and staffing teams with policy and implementation at the same table. Build the belief that better is possible, a mindset of curiosity, and the support structures that will get you and your team there.

Inform with evidence.

Decisions made in government have serious effects. It’s important that those decisions are informed by data and evidence that reflect both short-term and long-term impact. Having actionable information is important for every public servant, and building in measurement and instrumentation needs to be as prioritized as the delivery of the service itself.

Improve continuously.

Products and services are never “finished,” only improved. The same can be said about policy. Start small and learn from deliberate experimentation to build up to big changes. Improve services on an ongoing basis, and build and update policy and its implementation from the start. Favor progress and working services over perfect or complete projects.

Code for America thanks Mark Lerner for his significant research and development contributions to this work.


We welcome questions, thoughts, and feedback on this critical approach at deliverydriven@codeforamerica.org.