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Digital capability of the team

The team needs to have a high level of digital capability to build services that meet the needs of users.

A team with high digital capability can move quickly towards a minimum viable product (MVP). This means they can work faster with lower budgets to build services that are simple, clear and fast.

Every service a team works on together will increase the team’s digital capability. It will also increase the ability of each person in the team to work together.

Where possible, the team should be consistent from Discovery through to when the service goes live, and beyond.

Meeting the Digital Service Standard

Your team must have a high level of digital capability or be working to increase it to meet Criteria 2: Have a multidisciplinary team of the Digital Service Standard.

The Digital Service Standard guides teams to build services that are simpler, clearer and faster.

Digital capability is about how the team delivers together

Often teams will have people of different levels of experience, but their individual experience is not a clear measure of the team’s digital capability.

A team of people who have low levels of experience may have high digital capability because they are:

  • passionate about meeting user needs
  • led by a very experienced product manager
  • open to collaborating
  • keen to work as a multidisciplinary team
  • innovative
  • not afraid to take risks

A team of experienced people may have low digital capability because they:

  • don’t work well with each other
  • don’t focus on meeting user needs
  • work in silos
  • do things the way things have always been done
  • are risk averse

Find people who work well together

If you are responsible for setting up a team you can use recruitment exercises to assess how well people have worked in teams in the past.

You should find out how well the person will work both in their role and the team. Make sure your recruitment exercises explore people’s previous experience in:

  • focusing on meeting user needs
  • collaborating closely with people from other disciplines
  • being open to working in a new way

If you don’t have the chance to recruit from outside your organisation you can adapt the same recruitment exercises to find how people in your organisation have worked in previous teams.

Make sure the people you have in your team are practitioners with specific experience, rather than generalists.

Identifying teams with high digital capability

Teams with high digital capability build quality products that meet user needs. They build faster and iterate quickly based on research with users.

Everyone in the team will be expert at collaborating with people in other roles, and people with different levels of experience. They will know how to use modern tools and techniques.

Members of these teams are excited and motivated to be working on services that help users.

The people in teams with high digital capability will always be learning.

Help teams increase their digital capability

Teams usually have people with different levels of experience in their role. They should all have some experience working as a multidisciplinary team and be open to collaborating.

You should encourage people with more experience to mentor those who are new to this way of working. This is a good way to help people who haven't had the chance to increase their skills because they can't progress beyond a certain career point in a government role.

Give people with skills and expertise in their role the chance to work in a multidisciplinary team and they will often flourish.

There may be other people in your organisation who are not as experienced but who are keen to learn and work in a multidisciplinary team. Be open to pairing people who have less experience with experienced people from inside and outside of government.

Sometimes it’s possible to use secondments to temporarily transfer people from other parts of government to fill gaps in the team.

Communicate the value early

It can be hard to get support for working in a new way in government. The best way to help people is to show the value to them.

You need everyone to support the process to go forward. Make sure you start talking to people as early as you can.

Tell people how the process will add value to how they work. These Guides and case studies can help show how other parts of government are already working in this way.

Help team members work differently

The service design and delivery process is a big change in how people work in government. It can be helpful to introduce the concepts to a team in somewhere away from the usual workplace.

Talk to people about how the process can help them to:

  • experiment more
  • have more decision-making influence
  • be able increase their skills in new ways

Make sure you listen and respond to all problems. Be honest about the roles and capability you need in the team, how you will measure this and what training is available.

The Guides show what is needed to do the different activities the team does when the follow the process.

You might need to plan some time for people to transition to the new way of working. But it’s important that the team steps away from business as usual work to focus completely on working on the service. Make sure you communicate when this transition period ends and the Discovery stage starts.