Principes numériques

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26 Octobre 2017

Note aux lecteurs

Nous vous remercions de vos commentaires et les analysons. Restez à l’affût d’un court résumé au début de 2018.

Nous élaborons actuellement un ensemble de principes pour guider la conception numérique au sein du gouvernement du Canada. Ces principes structureront la façon dont nous abordons la gestion de nos renseignements et de nos technologies ainsi que la prestation des services. Nous nous sommes basés sur les pratiques exemplaires à l’échelle internationale et nous cherchons de la rétroaction. Du 26 octobre au 8 decembre, vous aurez l’occasion de commenter notre ébauche des différents principes, soit en écrivant un commentaire dans le champ prévu au bas de ce blogue, soit en envoyant un courriel à open-ouvert@tbs-sct.gc.ca. Les commentaires reçus seront résumés et inclus dans un rapport « Ce que nous avons entendu » qui sera publié sur cette page.

Le gouvernement change. Et de façon majeure.

Le monde se transforme. Alors que nous entrons dans une nouvelle ère numérique, le gouvernement doit s’ajuster afin de répondre aux attentes changeantes des utilisateurs. Mais que signifie « numérique » de toute façon? Être numérique est plus grand que la somme de ses parties. Une organisation numérique en est une qui fleurit à l’ère numérique et continue de répondre aux attentes des utilisateurs.

Il s’agit de placer les utilisateurs en premier, de gérer les données et les renseignements, de veiller à ce que les renseignements des personnes soient sécuritaires et protégés, d’être ouverts et transparents dans la façon dont nous nous comportons et, bien sûr, d’utiliser la meilleure technologie afin d’appuyer le tout. Les personnes que nous servons sont au centre de tout ce que nous faisons. Absolument toutce que le gouvernement fait, il le fait pour la population. Alors que nous élaborons de nouveaux services et examinons ceux qui existent déjà, nous nous concentrons d’abord et avant tout sur les besoins des gens. Cela ne comprend pas seulement les services transactionnels, mais aussi la façon dont les personnes trouvent et utilisent les renseignements et les données.

Comment un gouvernement entreprend-il une transformation numérique d’envergure? On peut commencer par définir un ensemble de principes directeurs qui offrent une compréhension commune de ce à quoi ressemble une bonne conception numérique. Ils préparent la voie pour tout ce qui vient après, le fondement sur lequel la croissance peut se produire. Ils offrent de l’orientation pour la prise de décisions et nous aident à rendre explicites les concepts que nous allons privilégier au moment d’élaborer des services et de choisir des technologies.

Mais pourquoi commencer du début? La prémisse d’« ouverture » est de réutiliser, et les principes directeurs n’y font pas exception. D’autres gouvernements ont déjà fait un travail fantastique pour définir leurs principes et redéfinir la façon dont ils servent leur population. Par exemple, nous avons observé le Royaume-Uni (GDS), les États-Unis (USDS), l’Australie (AusDTO) et, un peu plus près de chez nous, la province de l’Ontario (Services numériques de l’Ontario). Nous aimons la façon dont ces groupes se sont rassemblé et ont ouvert grand les portes pour redéfinir leurs modèles de service du haut vers le bas. Il faut du courage. Nous avons emprunté ce qu’il y avait de meilleur, mais nous y avons ajouté une touche canadienne.

Premier jet

Nous partageons avec vous une première ébauche de nos principes numériques dans sa version brute et non filtrée, en espérant que vous nous aiderez à l’améliorer. Quoique nous devons reconnaître que ces principes ne seront jamais coulés dans le béton, mais évolueront avec le temps en fonction des changements de contexte, nous avons hâte de recevoir votre rétroaction afin de pouvoir aller de l’avant avec une version que nous pourrons mettre en pratique.

  1. Comprendre les utilisateurs et leurs besoins

    Commencer avec les besoins des utilisateurs et ensuite construire pour eux et avec eux. Mener des essais continus avec les utilisateurs. Faire le travail difficile afin qu’ils ne soient pas obligés de le faire.

  2. Effectuer constamment des itérations et des améliorations

    Conception agile au moyen des phases alpha, bêta et réelles. Effectuer des essais de bout en bout et apporter sans cesse des améliorations en réponse à la rétroaction des utilisateurs. Faire des essais le plus tôt et le plus souvent possible.

  3. Bâtir la bonne équipe

    Mettre sur pied et habiliter des équipes multidisciplinaires, en établissant des liens entre stratégie et exécution.

  4. Favoriser une culture axée sur le service

    Diriger une équipe et mettre en œuvre une culture ministérielle axée sur les utilisateurs.

  5. Travailler dans un environnement ouvert

    Échanger et collaborer dans un environnement ouvert, élaborer des plans pour faire en sorte que les données sont ouvertes dès le début.

  6. Intégrer, de façon équilibrée, la sécurité et la protection des renseignements dès le début

    Considérer le contexte opérationnel. Gérer les risques.

  7. Créer de façon ouverte et interopérable

    Considérer également les sources libres. Utiliser des normes ouvertes. Créer de façon interopérable et songer à ce qui peut être réutilisé.

  8. Utiliser les bons outils pour le travail

    Utiliser les solutions et les plateformes gouvernementales communes. Construire l’informatique en nuage d’abord.

  9. Concevoir et fournir des services transparents et éthiques

    Faire preuve d’ouverture et de transparence dans l’utilisation des systèmes automatisés et respecter les lignes directrices en matière d’éthique.

  10. Être inclusif et offrir du soutien pour ceux qui en ont besoin

    Favoriser un environnement inclusif, les langues officielles et l’accessibilité dans la conception.

  11. Connaître vos données

    Gérer les données conformément aux normes. Mettre en œuvre des outils analytiques et utiliser les données recueillies.

  12. Être responsable envers les Canadiens

    Définir les paramètres du rendement axé sur les utilisateurs. Publier des données en temps réel.

  13. Établir des partenariats ouverts et innovateurs

    Reconnaître qu’une organisation ne peut pas avoir toutes les meilleures idées. Créer des partenariats et collaborer.

  14. Dépenser l’argent judicieusement

    Signer des contrats de façon sensée et respecter les normes d’approvisionnement.

  15. Faire l’essai des services avec le sous-ministre ou le ministre

    Faire l’essai de tous les services destinés au public avec le sous-ministre ou le ministre responsable.

Dites-nous ce que vous pensez

Alors que je réfléchis à ces immenses changements qui se sont produits ces dernières décennies, partant d’une carte perforée de programmation dans les années 70 à l’« Internet des objets », je me questionne sur ce que les 30 prochaines années nous réservent.

Je suis certaine d’une chose : c’est que le gouvernement devrait faire partie de cette aventure avec nous et nous appuyer alors que nous vieillissons et que le numérique transforme notre façon de vivre, de travailler et de jouer. Donc, dans l’esprit de la collaboration et de l’ouverture, nous voulons vous entendre. C’est votre pays. C’est votre gouvernement. Dites-nous comment vous voulez voir le gouvernement passer à l’ère numérique en offrant votre rétroaction sur nos principes, soit en remplissant la boîte de commentaires plus bas ou en envoyant un courriel à open-ouvert@tbs-sct.gc.ca.

Merci,

Teresa D’Andrea

Responsable principale de la Stratégie relative aux services
Division du service et du gouvernement ouvert
Direction du dirigeant principal de l’information
Secrétariat du Conseil du Trésor du Canada

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I would expect and hope that the majority of these common sense principles are already well-known in most government organizations involved in software development; we're just not seeing the results yet due to resistance to change, barriers to change, and perhaps poor execution. Some other comments related to specific points are:

#1: Usability testing needs to be done upfront at the early prototyping stage in order to shape the design and also throughout the rest of the project

#2: I believe that the Agile methodology isn't necessarily the best option for all projects. Also, rushing into bursts of functionality development without a well thought out architecture will result in unmaintainable spaghetti code

#3: In order to attract and retain talent, need to be open to using new technologies and tools as young people probably don't want to work on outdated systems using obsolete tools

#5: Need to be careful not to be too open since the public needs to trust the government with their personal data

#8: Agree about using the right tools for the job so doesn't necessarily mean cloud first across the board

#12: Not sure if performance data needs to be published and in real-time no less but users definitely should have the expectation to be able to accomplish their tasks on reliable, secure systems in a reasonable amount of time with relative ease

#15: I don't think the Deputy Minister and/or Ministers need to be involved in the testing of all new public-facing services. However, I think they should be at least familiar with the high profile ones in order to showcase them in the media for example

Hi Teresa,

Thanks for sharing this raw list and for the opportunity to feed into early thinking. Here are some suggestions and comments from the collective brain of LAC's Government Records Initiatives Division, for your consideration. Sorry for the long post.

I use quotation marks to highlight suggested edits below.

-> Since this is an alpha version, as you state in the intro, we are unsure if all principles would stick until the end of this development iteration, if your intent is to really have 15 principles, have people vote on their top 5... At the moment the list is very long. If it stays that long, what about organising the principles into buckets? It may help make sense of them all. For example:

Bucket A. Build a service-oriented culture
Lead and implement a team and departmental culture focused on users.
3. Build "and develop" the right team. Create and empower multidisciplinary teams, linking policy with delivery.
1. Understand all users and their needs. Start with user needs and build for them, and with them. Conduct ongoing testing with users. Do the hard work so that they don’t have to.
2. Iterate and improve frequently. Develop in an agile manner using alpha, beta and live phases. Test end-to-end and continuously improve in response to user feedback. Test early and often. "Eliminate duplication of effort. Be responsive to technological developments and evolving requirements".
10. Be inclusive and provide support for those who need it. Build in inclusiveness, official languages, and accessibility by design.

Bucket B. Work in the open
Share and collaborate in the open, plan to make data open from the start.
7. Build in an open and interoperable way. Give equal consideration for open source. Use open standards. Build in an interoperable and reusable way.
8. Use the right tools for the job. Use common government solutions and platforms. Build cloud first.
13. Develop open and innovative partnerships. Recognize that an organization can’t have all the best ideas. Create partnerships and collaborate.

Bucket C. "Uphold public trust"
"Build and maintain trust in government services and information."
6. Integrate proportionate security and privacy from the outset. Consider business context. Manage risks.
NEW. Provide effective management of government information and data. Ensure that relevant government information can be accessed and accepted as authentic over time (trustworthy record of what it claims to be; complete and unaltered in all essential respects; free from tampering or corruption). Manage data in line with standards. Implement analytical tools and use the data you collect.
14. Spend money wisely "and sustainably". Enter into sensible contracts and comply with procurement standards. "Ensure appropriate business planning and project management for sustainable solutions."
15. Test services with the Deputy Minister and/or Minister. Test all new public-facing services with the Deputy Minister and/or Minister responsible.
NEW "Maintain contingency plans. Plan for cyber attacks, power outages, natural disasters, etc. Provide redundancy in design for business continuity. Have non-digital back-up solutions when necessary."
9. Design and deliver transparent and ethical services. Be open and transparent in the use of automated systems and comply with ethical guidelines.

-> Comments on specific proposed principles include:

3.Build the right team
The principle should be “Create and empower interdisciplinary teams”. Then the supporting text would be “Enabling digital government requires building teams with the right set of skills and expertise.” We cannot believe that GC'ers want to build the wrong teams...

4.Build a service-oriented culture
Maybe this is a semantic discussion here, but can we really build a culture. The verb “foster” sounds more appropriate when it comes to culture.

6.Integrate proportionate security and privacy from the outset
The principle should state what or whose security and privacy is referenced here. Otherwise, the principle remains too vague to really guide. Are we talking about sec & priv measures? considerations? practices? requirements?

9.Design and deliver transparent and ethical services
There seems to be 2 different thoughts in the explanatory text: transparency is only a matter of automated systems usage, while being ethical is targeted at the reader. The statement can be confusing. Also, being ethical is already a behavior expected by all civil servants, so does it need to be stated as a digital principle?

11.Know your data
We would like to see this one listed higher in the list! And it should not be limited to data. It should be inclusive of all information assets.

15.Test services with the Deputy Minister and/or Minister
While this is a fantastic idea to get senior execs and Ministers familiar with the digital services their organizations provide, the principle might sound redundant with Principle #1.

6.Integrate proportionate security and privacy from the outset
9.Design and deliver transparent and ethical services
10.Be inclusive and provide support for those who need it
12.Be accountable to Canadians
14.Spend money wisely
These are requirements already mandated by policy instruments or legislation. While there is no harm in reinforcing them as digital principles, it begs the question to clarify the role of the principles vs. existing obligations. Could it be clarified in the introduction?

-> If we were to vote for our top 5, principles #11, #1 (and #15), #2, #5, #6, #7, #10, and #13 seem to be key to a digital government. Yes, it difficult to only come up with 5!

Thanks, and looking forward to see the beta version!

Marie-Claude Côté
Manager, Recordkeeping Strategies
Government Records Branch, LAC

Merci M-C. We miss your awesome organizational skills and super big brain. Thanks for the input.

Interesting attempt at distilling an approach down to a few basic principles. As others have said, some of these can be combined and simplified. The one that stands out and seems completely at odds with the other principles is number 15. While a DM and Minister should be kept apprised of developments on public facing services, and even shown demos, they are unlikely to be representative of the users. Those of us who work on developing web content in any organization often face this challenge, where senior leaders would like the web content to be presented in a certain way, with certain language that is often not user focused.

All good points. And many good comments below. Change is wanted. More than that, it is needed if we are going to get things done and stop wasting money. Even in government, failure can only go on for so long. What is missing.....I know I know.....good leadership! Can you find the leadership to implement it? Without good leaders, you are not succeeding. Need an example: consider a department where IT people were moved outside the core of the city, away from their clients. That was a leadership decision. Good leadership: it makes or breaks everything.

Some additional ideas to put inside your principles or they can be transformed to replace the above principles
Senior leaders should ask questions such as:
Where do we hope to be in five years?
and
How are we going to achieve this goal? By what method?

1. Creating a constancy towards the improvement of products and services.
2. Adoption of the new philosophy if it exists.
3. Cessation of dependency on inspection to change.
4. Minimizing the total cost of products and services.
5. Constant improvement of the system.
6. Institution of training on the job.
7. Institution of a Leadership.
8. Suppressing fear.
9. Elimination of barriers between departments.
10. Elimination of slogans, exhortations for the workforce.
11. Elimination of work quotas and management by objectives.
12. Removal of obstacles.
13. Establishment of vigorous programs of education and self-improvement.
14. Getting everyone in the organization to work to complete the transformation.

Elimination of barriers between departments is such a good suggestion. It's missing from the list. Or maybe it could be added to principle #7, as these barriers directly impede interoperability.

This is a great list. My favourite parts are building "empowered teams", "service oriented-culture" and "be inclusive" because every public servant has a valuable role to play in the changes we have to make to better serve citizens. We need to have the right environment internally to achieve the vision. I do agree with a couple of the comments already made. 1) that while the DM should see the product before it is launched, it should not be considered a user-test 2) that there might be too many principles to keep them all top of mind, when making decisions. Perhaps using the right tools and common platforms could be combined with spending money wisely. Knowing your data and being accountable might also fit together nicely. Thank you for the opportunity to see and comment on your alpha version!

I agree that the government needs to go digital and by TBS looking towards an implementation of these guiding principles should in theory set the tone but unfortunately having worked for the federal government for the last 17 years I beg to differ that some departments are ready to take this path.
Principles 1,2 easy enough to implement. As for principle 3 : When sectors, branches, regions within a department are at constantly competing with one another for all sorts of reason rather than just collaborating together in order to achieve a common goal that should be done using these basic principles : 4. build a service-oriented culture, 5. Work in the open, 6 Consider business context and manage risk accordingly, 7. Give equal consideration for open source, 8. Use common solutions, 12. Be accountable to Canadian. USE REAL TIME data… We are so not there yet. The reality is we are risk averse, we work in silos, we impose department standards based on the justification that it’s to effectively achieve project objectives although when you seek deep enough it seems to only justify putting contracts in place that are managed by IT staff… I also agree with the comment on Principle 12, this should not be there as this will

Don’t get me wrong I am not bitter, I love what I do, I’ve been working in this structure for many years and the reality of it all is that as an IT project manager who’s trying to focus on innovate and creative solutions that respond to the user requirements and that have a client centric approach it is my observation that we spend 80% of time dealing with the political side of things and manage parochial wars and 20% on the development of the actual solution.

But being the optimist that I am, I will keep on hoping that government will embark on this great journey and that departments will make it their priority to take this route and enable its employees to be part of this evolution towards Digital development and how we serve Canadians.

Information and Data are Understood and Trusted - Information and Data are meaningfully defined by the appropriate authorities and obtained from reliable, authoritative and understood data flows and sources.

I think what's missing here is engagement. How will you use technology to better engage with Canadians and get their input? You need to engage with youth, and meet people where they currently spend their time. In 2017, that's Facebook groups. I'd like to see better comprehensive strategies for using technology for engagement by the government. The business world hires Generation Z experts and professional marketers to maximize engagement. It's time the government did the same.

"A good place to start is by defining a set of guiding principles which can provide a common understanding of what good digital development looks like."

Can you just refer to existing UX principles? It covers the breadth of what we should be doing.

Distilling an entire discipline into a top 15 seems... half-baked. Hire people who have UX and agile backgrounds. Or train people. There's a reason there are entire degrees and certificate programs just for HCI (a *subset* of UX design).

This feels very 'SSC' to me: heart's in the right place but not well thought out.

And remove number 15. Your Minister is a stakeholder in a very removed sense. They're rarely a primary user and they shouldn't need to test your service. Your users should be testing the service which is in number 1 already.

A possible recommendation for your consideration to build on the already comprehensive and well thought list, is to perhaps to empower a citizen centric forum with industry participation to be a sounding board as this digital strategy evolves.

Wow, what excellent feedback. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond to our call. Know that your input will really help improve our principles, which in turn will help drive the digital thinking this government needs.

I really like #13 and would appreciate knowing what groups are out there, both in the GC and in private industry. Would also appreciate knowing when the Protected "B" GC cloud will be available as we are currently ramping up on a number of projects and initiatives that could really use it!

I think this is a very worth while initiative. I am very happy to see that providing an inclusive experience is a core part of what you are trying to achieve.

2. "Iterate and improve frequently"
"Develop in an agile manner using alpha, beta and live phases."

As a trained agile practitioner, I find this language incredibly exciting. That said, I feel there is some room for improvement.

The most important thing in Item 2 is "Developing in an agile manner". This could be the heading. Or put slightly differently, "Develop in an agile manner". But the word "develop" could be better abstracted as "build". I wonder about "Build in an agile manner" or "Build using agile practices" or "Build products/services using agile practices".

Part of this items definition can certainly be "Iterate and improve frequently".

Further, regarding "Develop in an agile manner using alpha, beta and live phases." it's important to note that using alpha, beta, and live phases can certainly be agile, but being agile does not necessarily mean using alpha and beta phases. The important thing is consistently delivering working software or services using iterative processes.

It would truly be great if it would be possible to have two-way feedback on these issues rather than one-way feedback. I'd love to hear what your team thinks of these suggestions and maybe follow up.

Thank you for your time and for considering these changes.

Sincerely,

Shawn Price
hi@shawnprice.com
604-839-2709

Great start. In particular, 1-2-3 set a great frame.
I would suggest limiting the list to 10 principles or less - some could be combined.
For example, building and working in the open could be combined. Build the right team should include not hesitating to bring in outside help (partners, contractors, code for canada, CDS). Not sure testing with DM/Minister belongs on the list. Spend money wisely should focus on researching the market and using the most appropriate approach for the job (ie staff, contractor, cloud, managed service, COTS) and tight oversight of contracts after they are signed.

I hope this helps,

Vincent Robitaille
DG - Procurement Modernization Integration Team
Vincent.robitaille@tpsgc-pwsgc.gc.ca

Totally agree with Vincent. Additionally, need more emphasis on #1. Understanding user needs is more than "we think we know what users need". Take the principles of Design Thinking: validate your assumptions with users and co-create solutions with them as well.

For me the continued long lines at the service Canada centres and hours of operation Is an area that should be more optimized maybe by doing the work online and making the face to face a validation only if required based on transaction being submitted. Ultimately digital secure transactions should be done online with biometric, visual recognition and personal security codes or digital signatures to protect the person.

Human centered design + agile development + open government. Well done! I think that Canada will be well served by these principles for years to come.

Wld love to see something on clear the path leadership over command and control. Or how about focus on citizen value over rigid policy.

Great work by your team. I will likely respond more later but I really would change #15. A word like "demonstrate" or "showcase" or "validate" should be used at the DM/Minister level. At that point, they can't be the "one user" that dictates the usage of work results meant for another set of users (the "real" users from the earlier points). That's a recipe for opening yourself up to biased "mandatory" (not necessarily valid) changes.

Suggestion 1: be more specific

The GDS standards use more specific language on most principles, and specifically on user needs: "ongoing user research and usability testing to continuously ..." and Ontario "A new assessment process will also be introduced to ensure user needs are woven.."
- There is considerable evidence to support specific goals over vague ones (cf https://hilt.harvard.edu/files/hilt/files/settinggoals.pdf ). In the book Switch, the authors cite several studies and suggest " If you want people to change, you must provide crystal-clear direction."
- GC folks may perceive themselves to already be doing "user testing" when in fact they are doing "acceptance testing" of the specification. They may also perceive themselves to be "improving in response to feedback" because they fix bugs that are reported by users via a feedback button or something similar. Specific language about task-based measurement and user research would avoid these problems.

Suggestion 2: Be brave

Just this week, we heard TBS panelists talking about Open-first. GDS says "Make all new source code open". That sets the default to open and Nobel-winning Behavioural economist Thaler's research has shown the power of defaults. Yet the principle above says "Give equal consideration to open source". People just have to say "we considered it" and then do their usual thing. Be brave - principles are to live up to!

Portrait de mgifford

Very nicely put! What's the point of a meek and mild set of principles anyways? Open First really should be the way forward. If there can be a good business case for an alternative, fine.

A good start. Principles 13 and 14 should have structural components that level the playing field for talented Small to Medium-sized Canadian vendors to participate and help build Canadian expertise and the economy. Moves towards more agile procurement promising but the process still heavily favours large vendors.

I hope the general nature of partnership & collaboration in Principle 13 opens the doors to nontraditional collaboration like Code for Canada and the emerging Canadian Civic Tech community.

Portrait de mgifford

Excellent points. How can the GC hope to lead Canada to build an innovation economy, if they aren't specifically finding ways to support and even favour SME's that are both capable of doing the innovation and employing Canadians. Great to mention https://codefor.ca too!

Hello,

I am interested in knowing how this will be applied in a legal setting to improve accessibility to Justice for everyone. I have been working at Justice Canada in administrative support positions and took a class in Litigation Practice and Procedure and then went on to take a paralegal program. A theme that has been recurrent in my studies and in articles that I have read is how to unburden an overcrowded and slow court system and make it more efficient and also how to make justice more accessible to people who may simply avoid any kind of supports that the court system may offer because it is just outside of their grasp. This would be simply because there is not a strong understanding of the law and also because of financial issues. Since regulators are such a big part of our society, it would seem to me that there is an immense potential to make a difference with digital technology implementation.

I hope that this commentary is of some use to you. Thank you for the opportunity to submit feedback.

Regards,

Sylvia Brin

Looks great!
If there is one thing that I can suggest is the use of Off The Shelf Software (OTS) and stop trying to reinvent the wheel.
In my world (DND) I've seen so much money go to waste watching a group of programmers try to build something that has been in the corporate world (real world) for years. Why?!
Lets look at what the real world is using and do that...
(You can stop here or keep going if you need examples...)

Because of this we are always 8 to 10 years behind the evolution of technology and end up buying the OTS software eventually anyway.
For example... In my world (DND)
1. Baseline that finally bought Microsoft SMS and now SCCM.
2. Army Online (AOL) finally bought Microsoft SharePoint and Now call it Army Collaborative Information Management Services.
3. DND's National Collaboration Service uses SharePoint but can only afford to buy the Free Version or now that its not free anymore the cheapest version that of course doesn't have the same functionality as the full version. (This is definitely deep in to my world now...)

Thanks,

David Hudson

If we truly want to embrace agile, we have to either gut SSC or do away with it completely. Delays of 2 years and more in the delivery of essential equipment are not uncommon, and critical services fail with depressing regularity. See today's article on the CBC web site, where the outgoing commissioner of the RCMP says it would be "arguably criminal" to renew their contract. Government IT desperately needs a new infrastructure model or these principles are doomed.

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