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Socitm combines best of Agile and PRINCE2 development approaches

Local public sector IT managers' body Socitm is urging managers undertaking product and service development to consider using the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), an approach combining "Agile" methodologies with more traditional PRINCE2 project management techniques. In a new briefing, Agile or PRINCE2 - a need to choose? Socitm says that Agile has many champions because of its ability to deliver business benefits fast. However, as the whole project is not planned in detail at the start, there are perceived risks of costly overruns. There are also concerns about scalability, since Agile uses small teams and public sector projects can be very large, the report says. Favoured in the public sector for its tools to manage cost and risk, PRINCE2 is, however, often criticised for being bureaucratic and for generating too much documentation. Although these two approaches may seem mutually exclusive, the briefing says that DSDM allows managers to combine the speed and flexibility of Agile promises with the control of PRINCE2. DSDM works within an existing PRINCE2 framework, incorporating eight principles, the briefing says: Focus on the business need; Deliver on time; Collaborate; Never compromise quality; Build incrementally from firm foundations; Develop iteratively; Communicate continuously and clearly; and Demonstrate control. Where a public service organisation wants to use an Agile approach on a large scale project, DSDM allows the project to be broken down into small parts, the report says. Later this year Socitm Insight will publish a practical guide to managing Agile projects in a hybrid PRINCE2 / DSDM environment. Agile or PRINCE2 - a need to choose? is available free of charge to Socitm Insight subscribers.
Pictured: A DSDM demonstration video.

DSDM Consortium:

EU launches new broadband funding and support programme

The European Commission has launched a "Connected Communities" initiative to help towns, cities, local broadband partnerships and operators access advice on finance and develop tailored business models for bringing fast broadband to their community. All parties working at a local, regional and national level are invited to submit their concepts and plans for broadband deployment projects to the European Commission. Requests must be received before 15 October 2014, and the best concepts will receive access to more in-depth support. Some current examples of best practice cited by the commission include Reggefiber in the Netherlands, a project which started in 2010, and has contributed greatly to the rollout of ultra high speed fibre to the home (FttH), thanks to financing from the EIB and six commercial banks; and Iliad in France, who together with the EIB signed a €200 million project in 2012 to finance the rollout of next generation networks in France, 65% of which is earmarked to FttH development. Types of support on offer include assessment of a local broadband plan to determine what support can be offered; European Investment Bank financing; access to European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF); and special rules on the use of state aid to fund broadband, in ways that do not harm competition.
Connected Communities Initiative:

Citizens Online calls for digital skills shake-up

Digital skills charity Citizens Online has called for a radical change to the way the 6.8m offline adults in the UK are given skills training and support. In a white paper published with digital consultancy Trapeze Transformation, the charity says current initiatives are unlikely to substantially reduce the digital divide, and a new "systemic" approach is needed. Statutory bodies in local communities including the councils, Job Centre Plus and housing associations will only succeed in tacking digital exclusion if they collaborate with voluntary sector organisations to build a "digital ecosystem", the research finds. "The current approach is too fragmented", said Dr Gail Bradbrook, co-author of the report. "It is only by combining resources and aligning approaches that local communities will be able to identify the digitally excluded, draw on publically available training funds and ensure that every individual gets the training they need to go online and stay online in the long term". Citizens Online manages the Get IT Together Programme, a UK programme of community digital inclusion projects, funded by BT, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Communities 2.0 and local partners. Each project runs for three years and covers a particular geographical area with a locally agreed focus to help disadvantaged groups.
Citizens Online:

Online resource supports doctors caring for older people

The General Medical Council, which regulates doctors in the UK, has launched an online resource to support doctors in their day-to-day care of older patients. The council has worked closely with partner organisations, including the British Geriatrics Society and Age UK, to create Better care for older people. The resource gives practical advice, including from leading clinicians, on how to put older patients first and use GMC guidance to handle their clinical, emotional and psychological needs. At the core of the resource is a series of videos featuring interviews with older patients. Their experiences of dealing with doctors, from feeling that they have been pushed aside because of their age to the importance of seeing the same doctor, helps put the GMC's guidance into context and is a strong reminder of the importance of placing the patient at the centre of care, the council says. The resource also contains a mixture of guidance, case studies, scenarios, articles and tips to prepare doctors for caring for the growing number of older patients.
Better care for older people:

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