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Our Hypothesis and Roadmap for 2022

As we enter the new year, we’re entering a new phase for the State Software Collaborative. We have two new fellows, Aaron Snow and Shelby Switzer, dedicated to research and development, and a new community manager, Julia Pan, focused on supporting the growth and success of the cooperative network and its members.

Our first announcement?

We’re changing our name from State Software Collaborative to Intergovernmental Software Collaborative.

Our research and network is not limited to states within the US: we seek to learn about and support collaborative software development between governments of any type – municipal, county, state, territorial, tribal, or federal.

Our 2022 goal:

Make the right thing the easy thing.

We believe the best way to normalize the right way of doing things is to make it the easiest way. What do we believe is the right thing when it comes to government software development, and why? And then, how do we make it easy? We’re taking a hypothesis-driven approach to our 2022 roadmap to figure this out. This will drive the questions we ask, the conversations we have, and the research and resources we create, with the acknowledgement that our findings may lead us to back to revise our initial hypothesis.

The right thing:

Governments should consider collaboration with other jurisdictions as the default for new technology projects, and should only procure or develop software independently in exceptional circumstances.

The hypothesis:

Collaborating with other jurisdictions by default will save governments time and money while increasing the likelihood of success of the project, the quality of the end solution, and customer satisfaction ratings from the public.

To test this hypothesis, we will dedicate research to further quantifying the problem and current state of the industry, and identify indicators that we can continue to measure. For example, we want to know what percentage of government software products are one-off versus collaboratively produced, as well as the cost and success rates of multi-government cooperatives’ implementations compared to go-it-alone governments’ solutions to the same or similar policy needs.

Making the right thing easy:

Along with research, we want to develop useful resources for practitioners to help make the right thing – collaborative software development as the default – the path of least resistance for new technology projects. A few of our ideas:

  • Grow and engage our existing network of cooperatives to help practitioners form useful connections and share knowledge and experiences
  • Identify and document incentives for intergovernmental collaboration
  • Create best practice guides, training, and other resources for practitioners of all types, including procurement experts, government IT executive, and software developers and designers

Interested in following or supporting our work or joining the network? Join our Google Group.