Governments must change the way they design, build, and deploy technology projects. Companies in the private sector have long gone away from using a 'waterfall' development process, a linear process starting with requirements and ending with deployment, to using an iterative approach (also called lean or agile), based on shorter development cycles and continuous improvement based on user feedback.

High-profile technology challenges like the launch of healthcare.gov have highlighted why an iterative approach must be applied towards government technology projects. Instead of scoping all possible requirements at the start of a project, focus on shipping a functional “minimum viable product” (MVP) that solves a core user need as soon as possible. Then, continue to build, test and revise based on user feedback.

Code for America works with local governments to build digital services using an iterative approach. We've seen first hand the importance of testing ideas rapidly, and how starting small and addressing core user needs, can make a big impact on how people experience government services.

Practice Iterative Development

We're publishing a set of guides, tools and resources for governments that want to start practicing iterative development.

Guides

Tools

Spotlight

Further Reading