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Information Technology Strategy Team

Blog Posts

  • Doing an IT Organization Diagnostic Study

    In this blog post we share the process and background materials we used (including questionnaire, emails, and script) to conduct the Diagnostic Study of ESDC’s IM/IT Organization we did in 2023. (8 min read)
  • Funding Software Related Activities

    In this blog, we attempt to clarify the difference between project and product management by highlighting which software-related activities need funding throughout a product’s life.
  • Closing out the Micro-Acquisition pilot

    In this post we share that the micro-acquisition pilot is now closed and provide a top 5 list of success factors for an initiative like this based on our lessons learned. While we did not achieve everything we hoped we would, we learned a lot!
  • Transitioning to Product Management by following Job Bank

    In this blog, we continue to extrapolate on how product management can be implemented within the federal government, particularly in the digital space.
  • IITB Diagnostic Study

    From July to September 2021, the IT Strategy team interviewed directors in the IITB organization. In this blog post we share how we prepared for the interviews and what we learned from directors.
  • Micro-Acquisition Pilot: Status Update 2

    The Micro-Acquisition pilot is live! In this blog post we share what we have learned so far and how we are adjusting and improving.
  • Implementing Product Management in the Federal Government

    In this blog, we continue from previous ones in extrapolating how product management can be contextualized and implemented in the federal government. We will tie this all back to the Policy on Results.
  • User Engagement in Service Delivery

    Why do we create services? There are many answers to this question, but the one I like is: To offer customers a solution that costs them less than the cost of the problem.
  • Working in the Open: Part 2

    This series of blog posts will explore the concept of “Working in the Open”. In this second entry, we will attempt to explain how you can get started while respecting your duties as a public servant!
  • The CIO and DOCS are accountable for 480 requirements

    This blog highlights the amount of requirements that Treasury Board (TB) policy instruments puts on the different senior officials, the CIO in particular, in enabling the transition towards digital.
  • The Problems with Project-Based funding for IT organizations

    In this blog, we highlight how the traditional project-based approach to funding and management of technology investments is hurting IT organizations and, as a consequence, departments’ ability to iterate and improve frequently. This is a continuation from a previous blog where we suggested that Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are essential in bringing a Digital Transformation vision into a reality.
  • Micro-Acquisition Pilot: Status Update 1

    This is our first status update for the Micro-Acquisition Pilot that we are working on at ESDC. We will continue to provide updates as the project progresses.
  • Better tech through micro-procurement: part two

    This is part two of a two-part series looking at micro-procurement for digital work. In this second post, we look at what can make implementing micro-procurement challenging, as well as a sneak peek at what we are planning at ESDC.
  • FWD50 in the open

    FWD50 looked very different this year. But, there was still a lot of passion and will from participants to continuously improve government! This blog post shares some of the technologies used to bring FWD50 attendees together as well as the FWD50 content that has been made openly available by presenters and participants.
  • CIOs and CFOs are essential in making digital transformation a reality

    In this blog, we suggest that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are essential to bring a Digital Transformation vision into a reality. Although Digital Transformation deals a lot with changing business operations, if technology releases are not able to push through, that vision will remain a dream and will not manifest itself. We will show how critical CFOs are in allowing technology to respond faster to continuous business changes, and how Cloud and DevOps are opportunities that cannot be overlooked.
  • Better tech through micro-procurement: part one

    The Government of Canada (GC) buys a lot of stuff. In 2016, the total spent by the GC on goods and services was ~$16 billion. From an IT point of view, this spending can include big-ticket items like new data centres and new national applications costing tens of millions of dollars, but can also include low dollar value items like paying someone to build a small prototype over the course of a few days. This is part one of a series looking at how micro-procurements can bring IT and procurement folks together to enable agile, rapid, and scalable digital work.
  • Team Topologies Inspired Whitelist App Development

    A summary of the ideas and concepts used by the IT Strategy team and the DTS (Digital Technology Solutions) team to deliver the Whitelist application using DevOps inspired principles and ideas. By using this model, the team was able to demo an application to the CIO within 10 days of starting work, and had users testing the application within 2 hours of Protected B cloud becoming available.
  • How is the Public Service Managing Large IT Projects?

    In a previous blog post, we highlighted that large changes and investments are increasing risks. Even if many kinds of research have informed the success of small projects are higher than large projects, many government departments and agencies still decide to proceed to implement large IT projects.
  • What DevOps Looks Like In Terms Of Our Process

    There has been a large shift in our job as the technology organization of ESDC. We are now, more than ever, required to respond to exponential change in technology and requirements faster, cheaper and with higher quality. Gone are the days where we can plan projects 5-10 years in advance. We hear the term DevOps being used as a new paradigm for software delivery. However, it is difficult to picture how this actually looks in our organization in terms of a tangible item such as the release process.
  • We are inadvertently promoting risks in IT

    In this blog, we claim that our IT initiatives are currently governed in a way that ends up promoting risks instead of reducing them, leading to incorrect investment decisions, diluting our empathy towards end users, and ultimately reducing our ability to meet our fiduciary responsibility towards public funds as required in the Financial Administration Act.
  • Working in the Open: Part 1

    This series of blog posts will explore the concept of “Working in the Open”. In this first entry, we will attempt to explain what it means and why we should make conscious efforts to work in the open by default, whether you are a software developer or not.
  • Case for Continuous Improvement: A Deeper Dive

    In my previous post, I have tried to use maths to prove that continuous improvement would provide greater value than the status quo to any organization were they to embed the practice in their way of working. In this post, I propose the reader a deeper dive and some potential improvements over this analysis.
  • Why We Modified Posts

    You may have noticed that our two new first posts have been modified. You may also wonder why. So, let’s dive in for a short explanation!
  • Case for Continuous Improvement

    In The DevOps Handbook the authors make a case for teams spending at least 20% of their time towards reducing technical debt. The deal [between product owners and] engineering goes like this: Product management takes 20% of the team’s capacity right off the top and gives this to engineering to spend as they see fit.
  • Who we are

    This year has been an exciting time for Strategy, Architecture and Business Relationships (SABR) within Innovation, Information and Technology Branch (IITB) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Denis Skinner came to ESDC in June of 2018, who is presently the Director General of Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, and Business Relations within IITB. Upon his arrival two new teams were created: IT Strategy (yours truly) and IT Research. The challenge issued to these newly created teams was to help modernize a large impactful organization in the age of the notorious, and perhaps inappropriately named, “Digital Transformations”.
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