In today’s world, there is a computer application or automated process behind almost everything we do. The same holds true for state government operations. From applying for financial assistance to buying a fishing license and from renewing a driver’s license to securing a business permit, information technology is an integral part of how the State of Utah conducts its business.
The Department of Technology Services (DTS) currently manages over 1,200 online services for Utah residents and 900 internal state agency applications—the majority of which were developed in-house. By applying the tools and principles of the SUCCESS Framework, DTS has been able to realize an initial 32% improvement in the volume and quality of development projects.
The goal of the DTS application development system is to provide the best technology at a competitive rate to assist partner agencies in achieving their goals.
DTS has implemented four key strategies to improve the quality of development projects. They include:
Core Architecture Standards
- DTS is using core architecture standards, which creates a technology stack that is consistent and dependable
- The core standards allows DTS to work with several different agencies and adjust to differing business needs while still using similar technologies as the base
- They also allow DTS to operate as a developer pool where team members switch from project to project without relying completely on core business knowledge
Fewer Projects in Progress
- Reducing the amount of active projects has helped to increase the rate of project completions
- Reducing the overall number of projects in development has allowed developers to focus their time and effort rather than constantly switching between projects
Use of Task Boards
- Task boards allow managers to better understand the amount of work developers have completed and how much work is in process
- Assists developers in achieving a single-tasking model so more work is accomplished than under a multi-tasking model
- Allows the management team and staff to focus on areas where developers are stuck—team members huddle together and work to get each other unstuck
New and Improved Software Development Standards
- Simpler and more direct software development standards allows DTS to understand and execute similar development projects across the state as a whole
- Documentation in core areas is standardized, with additional documentation included as needed
For DTS, operational improvement for application development is measured based on the number of projects completed (weighted by size) and overall customer satisfaction based on time, scope, and budget requirements. Initial results of this measure show a 32% improvement for the first five reporting months as compared to baseline data.
Next steps for DTS include implementing additional portfolio management practices, improving project status communications and gaining an even better up-front understanding of business needs before a project is executed. These efforts will help to continue to increase overall performance and as well as reduce the amount of missed expectations that are often connected with IT projects.