Agile Development and Co-Production
Adopting New Ways of Working in Healthcare

In the second part of our co-production series we take a look at Agile Development, another productivity tool that assists in changing the work based mindset and encouraging a more efficient approach to organisational development and changes.

The Shift From Sequential Processes to Agile Methodology

Agile methods encourage teams to build quickly, test what they’ve built and iterate their work based on regular feedback. It was introduced as a modern alternative to the traditional waterfall model.

The waterfall model is a sequential design process, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards. It was used in software development processes, through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, production, implementation and maintenance. Because it was created in a time when no formal software development methodologies existed, this hardware-oriented model was simply adapted for software development

The agile process takes a different approach. Gathering requirements, planning, designing, building and testing are conducted simultaneously. Starting small in the discovery and alpha phases make way for growing the project into something large-scale.

Benefits:

  • Productivity will improve as teams will quickly establish any challenges in certain areas of the project, since all elements are started together
  • The focus on the end users contributes to speed, value and efficiency as the team continuously have the experience in mind

Challenges:

  • Strong communication is required between stakeholders and business owners
  • The business needs to be able to adapt to changes within internal processes with minimal disruption

Co-Production in Agile Software Development

To recap from our previous blog post, co-production creates a collaborative eco-system in which all parties receive a balanced “give and get”.Similarly to agile development, it contributes to service provisions, which can have both benefits and implications. Working with end users, for example clinicians, patients or carers who can contribute regular ideas and feedback from the very end of the UX can speed up process. Distribution of power to citizens means sharing of the decision making process could actually cause delays in project productiveness, as contributors may be unable to agree upon certain elements of the tasks.
The adoption of co-production within an agile framework has some powerful benefits, and is a great example of the changing mindset within the public sector. It also provides a morale boost for teams, as they are able to achieve their goals efficiently and effectively. This is why bitjam favour such working techniques, as everybody involved – from the teams to the end user – can enjoy better ways of working. In the last of our 3 part series on co-production, we’ll take a look at a case study within an NHS department that trialed co-production and scaled agile development, and the benefits and results they received.