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BSI points to agile in latest smart cities draft



New draft PAS released for consultation – includes emphasis on agile methodology in planning and delivering projects

Officials running projects for smart cities should make use of agile methods in their planning and project delivery, according to new draft guidance published by the BSI.

Titled PAS 184:2017 – Developing project proposals for delivering smart city solutions, the document is the latest to emerge from BSI addressing various elements of the smart places agenda. Sponsored by the Smart Cities Institute, it follows closely on the publication of PAS 183:20176, which is focused on data sharing and information services for smart cities.

The BSI emphasised that the document is a working draft rather than a completed standard and is open for consultation until 8 November.

It is aimed at providing advice based on current good practice that it structures into three components: use smart thinking to challenge traditional ways of doing things; work smart to minimise risks and optimise the project’s contribution towards broader city goals; and measure smart, to evaluate a project throughout its lifecycle.

The emphasis on agile, which reflects mainstream thinking in central government about project delivery, covers starting the implementation of a solution early and learning, ready to make changes, as it proceeds. This contrasts with making plans increasingly detailed before the project gathers steam.

It breaks the process down into stages – discovery, alpha, beta, live and retirement – and recommends an early focus on safe delivery followed by building demand and benefit realisation.

Risk factors

Another section urges planners to ensure they are managing the strategic risks effectively, and points out these are generally not related to smart technologies – which are increasingly mature – but business and cultural changes. These are integral to innovations in operating, commercial, financial and delivery models.

Other key features of the draft include:

  • Explore the potential in new technologies and ways of working.
  • Ensure a smart city solution is aligned with an overall vision and strategy for the city.
  • Focus on outcomes and service levels in the planning.
  • Make sure there is a clear and quantified business case.
  • Set up a clear and measurable framework for showing how project activities lead to the delivery of outcomes.
  • Establish measurements to track progress.

Over recent years the BSI has also published standards documents on the vocabulary for smart cities, a guide to establishing strategies, a model for data interoperability, an overview and a guide to the planning and development process.

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