The Ministry of Social Development has established the Simplification programme to improve the services, with easy-to-use, more transparent processes and better access to digital self-service channels, says its CIO David Habershon.\nThe programme has completed around 20 projects, he says.. \n\u201cThese projects have been designed to ensure they\u2019re easy for our clients to navigate and are smarter at the back through our systems and processes alleviating staff time.\u201d \n\u201cThrough an agile methodology we\u2019re implementing enhancements that have been piloted and co-designed by our clients for our clients.\n\u201cThe flagship achievement for Simplification has been the introduction of MyMSD. MyMSD is the only door to all Work and Income online services, it can be accessed from smartphone, tablet or computer,\u201d he explains.\n\u201cMSD supports more than 1.2 million individuals annually, many who are very vulnerable, and processes over 10 million transactions per year. \n\u201cFor some clients, travelling to an MSD office could cost around 6 per cent of their weekly income. Then they were made to wait while staff typed and retyped information into systems, eventually telling them to come back with more information.\u201d \nHe says from last December in MyMSD there has been:\nnearly nine million loginsover 400,000 clients now signed-up3.4 million letters viewed650,000 wages declared285,000 appointments made or changed80,500 change of contact details38,982 one-off cost applications.\nEach of these transactions represents a visit to a service centre, or a phone call to MSD that now does not need to happen. \n\u201cTo deliver MyMSD, we started with multi-disciplinary teams using good, agile human-centred design. Having all the skills (security, risk, design, data, business implementation, UI designer, developer, tester, change management) together in a design space, working in an agile manner gave the digital product teams a lot of advantages,\u201d he says.\n\u201cPreviously, releases were major events, planned months ahead. \nUnder DevOPs, we have moved to four-weekly technical release trains, says Habershon.\n\u201cThis shift is a significant achievement, but also achieved significant value. It allowed the IT teams to drive delivery coordination to a common cadence, enabling faster and better testing and delivery.\u201d\nCreating capacity has been a theme within the IT group for two years, he says. \n\u201cNow we are ramping that up with the introduction of an improvement programme focussed on automating application deployment.\n\u201cAutomation means repeatability and consistency leading to significant reductions in troubleshooting and re-work, therefore delivering higher quality software environments. Introducing database virtualisation has also increased speed of delivery and reduced storage demands.\n\u201cWe have introduced DevOps as an innovative way for the IT group to continue to support the core operational systems at a time of rapid change and transformation in the way they deliver services. For us DevOps takes away the risk of software releases previously based on long development cycles (big bang releases).\u201d\nIn the first seven months of the transformation programme, the team reduced the delivery cycle from many months to a four-week release cadence.\nRelease cycles start with combined planning of both business and IT representatives to discuss, agree and commit to the work based on available capacity.\n\u201cThrough scaled agile, we\u2019ve shifted our thinking, our ways of working, and our expectations to a holistic, customer-centric model.\u201d\nThis allows his team to collaborate, challenge, and innovate in a nimble and successful way.\nOur Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) supports the concept of a shared commitment to slowly increase quality delivered work in a reliable manner, says Habershon.\n\u201cUsing SAFe, we deliver quality work in a timely manner through involving the whole team in a big room planning exercise every 12 weeks.\u201d\nHe adds: \u201cIncluding everybody within the planning results in more accurate and dependable estimates and more consistent delivery. This increases our reputation and our shared commitment with all parties, which ensures increased engagement.\u201d\nHabershon sits on a number of governance boards as a member and specialist advisor.\nHe says this involvement ensures that the ministry understands the ICT vision which will \u201cback the business to win\u201d.\nThis also keeps the IT strategies aligned with the ministry\u2019s overall strategic direction and business priorities.\nAs an advisor, he helps promote IT as a source of technological innovation that lowers costs, creates value and makes it easy for staff and clients to do business, and \u201cwill make innovation a tangible reality\u201d.\nAs part of the IT organisation\u2019s commitment to Agile and Devops, he and his team hold quarterly programme increment planning sessions.\nAttendees involve not just the IT teams delivering the work, but also representatives from other business units. \u201cBy planning our work in this way and releasing to our customers\/clients monthly (rather than waiting for large projects to finish in months\/more than a year), they receive value much earlier. \n\u201cNetworking at these events helps identify dependencies, constraints, risks and resource requirements from both the IT and business side,\u201d he says.\nHabershon leads a team of 400, so he holds quarterly floor meetings, town hall style, that are not just restricted to IT staff. We invite staff from other areas of the organisation so to keep them abreast on ICT programmes.\n\u201cWe recently held a staff feedback session, inviting all staff to let us know how things are going across a range of subjects, from strategy to technology, architecture to communications, we have committed to working on the pain-points throughout the year. We will be following the agile methodology for this piece of work too,\u201d he says. \n\u201cWe have held hackathons to help create capacity, these have been attended by both IT staff and staff from the business to help cross pollinate ideas and for us to all have a better understanding of our working environments,\u201d he says.\nThe ministry has also started its first digital graduate programme, participated in by people from non-traditional IT degrees.\n\u201cWe want to broaden our talent pool,\u201d he says.