Story 2019-08-09T09:58:27-07:00

When ‘agile in government’ was new

Agile Government Leadership (AGL) was established in 2014 as an emergent network of civic professionals who wanted to help bring agile practices to the public sector. They saw a lack of resources and community around the idea of agile in government, but in their own work they had seen the benefits it could bring to IT programs and service delivery.

These practitioners pooled their knowledge, time, and experiences to create resources like the Agile Government Handbook and an online curriculum to help agencies learn how to bring agile culture into the public sector context. They hosted virtual panel discussions where folks could talk about new trends and lessons learned. 

These efforts provided much-needed community and conversation for government innovators at a time when agile (fast, collaborative, iterative) and government (slow, siloed, risk-averse) seemed almost incompatible.

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The first AGL Live event in 2015 brought civic leaders together to discuss the basics of agile in government.

An idea whose time has come

Fast forward a few years, and public sector innovation has come a long way. Organizations like 18F, USDS, and Code For America have provided guidance and demonstrated what’s possible with user-centered, delivery-focused government. Programs like DITAP and DHS’ Procurement Innovation Lab are building the capacity of public servants to purchase and manage modern technology. 

More agencies are prioritizing digital services, adopting forward-thinking policies, and daring to experiment. The conversation has shifted beyond “Agile” as a methodology and now encompasses “agile” as a mindset — the idea that government can be more responsive, collaborative, and effective through a variety of practices that focus on the needs of people over organizational silos and bureaucratic processes.

But change is hard — especially in government — and that’s why the need for community and connection remains vital.

Support and connection for government innovators

As the AGL community grew to represent a wealth of information and experience across all levels of government and industry, the organization launched a non-profit association with a membership program to provide more support and connection for individuals working to build better government services.

What began as a grassroots movement to empower agile government leaders has matured into a thriving community of change makers, a place where each person can grow and learn regardless of their title or place of employment — because each one is advocating for better ways of doing things in government. AGL now hosts a bi-annual conference, facilitates member collaboration, and is working on coordinating training opportunities.

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“This organization gives us a collective voice. It helps us advocate for what we see will bring success in the public sector.”

– Aaron Pava, Executive Director of AGL, at AGL Summit 2019 in Sacramento

Join the community

AGL membership is open to individuals in both public and private sectors who are helping government work better through open, agile, and collaborative practices. Benefits include access to in-person and online events, a weekly newsletter, and opportunities to work with and learn from leaders in government modernization.

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Become a member