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Agile collaboration in administrations

4 min read

Would you like to make the administration in your office or authority more flexible, leaner and faster with agile collaboration? But are you wondering how you can successfully overcome any hurdles to digitalisation in the public sector? We will show you which methods and tools have proven themselves in practice!

What does agile collaboration in public administration actually mean?

With agile collaboration in public administration, you are introducing a new way of working in your team: Previous administrative practices are combined with agile principles. The aim is to work in a more flexible, efficient and user-centred way.

Agile collaboration in administration has two main goals:

1. You can use it to fulfil legal requirements to streamline administrative processes.

2. By optimising processes, you can improve services for citizens.

How do public administrations benefit from agile collaboration?

With agile collaboration, you can react more flexibly to social and political changes in your administration. In this context, agile means that work processes and services can be adapted more quickly to new circumstances. This makes it easier for you to integrate modern work equipment or legal regulations into your team's day-to-day work and implement necessary changes more quickly.

This results in numerous advantages for your authority:

✅ Increase efficiency
By eliminating unnecessary processes, you can utilise resources more effectively. This is particularly relevant in times of staff shortages.

✅ Citizen centricity
In general, agile collaboration in public administrations places a strong focus on the needs of citizens. Through regular feedback and iterative processes, you can align services more closely with the actual requirements of citizens.

✅ Better working atmosphere
Agile collaboration often breaks outdated patterns and focusses more on personal responsibility and teamwork. This can be a real wake-up call for many employees. Your employees feel more involved and valued, which generally leads to higher job satisfaction and lower staff turnover.

✅ Encouraging innovation
Encouraging employees to think creatively and explore new approaches can unleash new ideas and solutions. This can lead to the creation of modern and future-orientated services that also meet the needs of citizens.

Prerequisite for agile collaboration in administrations

Establishing an agile mindset is a crucial prerequisite for agile collaboration. This is the only way to create flexibility, quick reactions to change and continuous improvement as part of a new culture. This is what is needed:

  • More personal responsibility: You should introduce a culture in which people take responsibility for their own work.
  • New problem-solving strategies: Encourage your employees to think out of the box and try new perspectives and approaches.
  • Error culture: Mistakes should be okay and an incentive to learn.
  • Trust: Give your team members the space to familiarise themselves with their new roles.
  • Transparency: Silo thinking is often a hindrance, which is why you should make important information available to the relevant employees.

What methods are available for agile collaboration in public administration?

When introducing agile collaboration in your administration or authority, you have various methods from agile project management at your disposal.

The Kanban method

The Kanban method focuses on the visualisation of work processes. It relies on a clear visualisation of tasks on a digital pinboard, also known as a Kanban board. The Kanban board usually consists of three columns: For example, labelled "for completion", "in progress" and "for approval". This means that the team always knows who has to complete which task and when. The simple and clear presentation means that even employees who have hardly used any digital tools to organise their work can cope well with it.

Kanban is particularly suitable for organisations that have a continuous workflow and require flexibility in their projects. It is ideal for teams that work on ongoing or repetitive tasks and want to improve their processes step by step.

Kanban Board on Stackfield
Example of a Kanban board on Stackfield

The Scrum method

The Scrum method is a framework for agile project management. The aim is to work in iterative processes, known as sprints, which means that one short project phase follows the next.

Each project consists of successive sprints, each lasting one to four weeks. During this time, the team works on an intermediate goal. At the end of the sprint, the results of the interim goal are presented and analysed and form the basis for the next sprint. The team remains in close contact with a short daily meeting, the Daily Scrum. The overarching project goal is only formulated as a vision, as the best possible result only emerges as the project progresses. You can map task bundles / phases / sprints / goals etc. on Stackfield using custom fields.

Scrum is best suited to organisations that work in clearly defined project phases and need to react quickly to changes. It is suitable for teams that want to divide complex projects into manageable parts and implement them effectively within a short time frame.

Design Thinking

Design thinking is an approach to problem solving that focuses on the problems and needs of end users. In municipal cooperation, for example, one question could be: How can services for citizens be optimised?

This method also consists of an iterative process - similar to the Scrum method - in which empathy for users, brainstorming, prototyping and testing are continuously repeated and optimised.

Design thinking is often used in the early phases of product or service development to gain deep insights into the needs and wishes of users. The method is therefore more suitable for administrations, at the start of a project or when new, innovative solutions are needed for a complex problem.

Conclusion: Agile working as an opportunity for administrations

The introduction of agile collaboration offers your administration many opportunities to react more quickly to changes, increase efficiency, create a better working atmosphere and generally dissolve rigid hierarchies and processes.

Each method introduced offers you different approaches and pursues a different purpose. A combination is also conceivable and often common practice. While Kanban and Scrum concentrate on improving work processes and efficiency, Design Thinking focuses on innovation and user-centricity. The choice of method therefore depends on your specific requirements, goals and context.

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Cristian Mudure
About the Author:
Cristian Mudure is the Founder and CEO of Stackfield. He loves digital business models and spends his spare time on the tennis court.
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