Cloud & Platform Story
A New GDS Approved Digital Service Delivered in Just Nine Weeks
In just nine weeks, BJSS delivered a GDS approved digital service for the Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England. The solution, which is hosted on Google Cloud (GCP), has provided DfT and Highways England with a brand-new digital service that is designed to help bridge owners find and procure temporary bridge solutions.
Like all UK Government organisations, the Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England are mandated to follow GDS delivery guidelines. When the departments recognised the need for a new digital service for bridge owners, they wanted to find a technology partner that could help them to move through the GDS delivery phases at pace.
A significant proportion of GDS projects take over a year to receive full approval, with some failing to make it past the discovery phase. Keen to accelerate through the GDS stages, DfT and Highways England sought BJSS’ help due to its reputation for delivering over 40 GDS approved digital services.
To accelerate through the GDS phases (discovery, alpha and beta), BJSS split the delivery into:
- A lean start-up three-week sprint to validate assumptions and design the right solution
- Six one-week sprints to deliver the working solution into live.
BJSS also organised a show and tell at the end of every week to showcase progress, review objectives and revalidate the agreed vision. To learn more about our delivery process, click here.
By following this approach, the BJSS team rapidly developed a new cloud-native application on Google Cloud, using tools such as Google IAM, App Engine, Identity-Aware Proxy and Identity Platform. This resulted in a partial solution being tested and improved with end-users by week three of the delivery. Having passed the alpha phase, the BJSS team migrated the solution to DfT’s Google Cloud Platform, where it was continuously improved and prepared for launch.
The intuitive nature of GCP, combined with BJSS’ expertise in delivering GDS projects, resulted in DfT and Highways England obtaining full GDS approval nine weeks after the project began. Several other factors led to the delivery’s success, including:
- The full commitment and support from the key stakeholders at DfT and Highways England
- Efficient use of collaboration tools such as Miro, Zoom and Office 365
- Appropriate trade-offs between creating reusable assets and writing throw-away code
- A determination to test early, regularly and to iterate our solution
- Open communication with all stakeholders, including the GDS assessors
- Strong awareness of what everyone’s responsibilities were and a sense of accountability that was established in the kick-off workshop and reiterated in the agile ceremonies
- Show & tells proved to be an invaluable communication tool and helped gather stakeholder support as well as involve the GDS assessors regularly before the final assessment. During each session, time was made for everyone to share their opinion on the current progress
- All agile ceremonies, show and tells, and assessments were conducted remotely, and all key stakeholders were invited and attended
- All user research and testing was conducted remotely, enabling further reach, accelerating the discovery and saving previous time and energy.
With our agile approach, commitment to collaboration, and the use of best in class Google Cloud products, DfT and Highways England have been able to execute one of the fastest GDS deliveries since the programme began. But most importantly, it has acted as a blueprint for how government can deliver new digital public services at pace.