In several recent posts about the upcoming release of Inside Government we’ve linked in passing to this little blog on the side - a Tumblr where we, the product team building the Inside Government section of GOV.UK, publish updates about the finer points of what we’re working on.
It’s called Inside inside Government (geddit?) and you can find it here: http://inside-inside-gov.tumblr.com/
I thought I’d say a few things briefly about why and how we use this blog.
Why blog at all?
A quick recap for those who don’t know. Inside Government is the bit of GOV.UK which will bring together all the corporate and policy information currently published on separate websites by hundreds of government organisations. We’re also building the publishing tools that these organisations will use to create and manage both their Inside Government and detailed guidance content.
As such, we have a lot of stakeholders: many thousands of people working in the hundreds of departments, agencies and other bodies whose websites and content management systems this product is replacing.
We release updates continuously, so there’s a lot of changes to keep these stakeholders informed about. We could be meeting this need by email, but we much prefer to publish than to send, because:
- Openness keeps us honest. The more scrutiny and feedback on what we’re doing, the better
- It’s way more efficient. If I get the same question more than twice, I stop emailing or returning calls and publish the answer instead
- It’s easily retrievable. We can point people at posts we've published about our decisions and progress, and can refer back to them at any time
But, most of all, we do it to build trust. We’re working in (agile) ways that are unfamiliar to most of the civil service, and it’s often frustrating for stakeholders that we can’t give them hard dates by when certain features will become available. So we blog to build trust in the process, by demonstrating that:
- We iterate fast
- We are prioritising effectively
- We are putting users first
- We are responding to stakeholders’ feedback
- We are using data to make decisions
Why separate from the main blog?
While it’s the first place to hear about new features we’re adding to Inside Government, posts on the blog will typically go into a lot of detail - of considerable interest to people who will be using the publishing tool but unlikely to interest most readers of the GDS blog. Hence doing this off to one side.
We’ll still write about major releases and our wider thinking here on the main blog, so if that’s all you need you can give Inside Inside Government a miss.
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