Past, Present and Future

For me and the rest of Go Free Range, the big event this week was the public launch of Inside Government, the government focussed part of GOV.UK. Inside Government aims to replace the majority of government department and agency websites with a single place for all news, policies, publications and consultations. On Wednesday, the first two department websites (for the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government) were moved across.

We’ve been working on this project for 14 months, from the initial commit, through the beta launch right up until today. I’ve enjoyed it, but it has been extremely hard work. And although there are hundreds of things I’d still like to change, there are hundreds more I’m proud of.

Harmonia

As well as Inside Government, we’ve also been slowly inviting people to Harmonia, our ‘virtual office manager’. In case you haven’t read the Go Free Range blog, Harmonia is a tool we use to assign all the tasks needed to keep our company running. Rather than use a schedule, each piece of work is assigned in a way designed to be both random and fair.

One variation or another of Harmonia has been helping us for well over a year, but now we’ve built a web app for everyone to use. It’s still a bit rough around the edges, but we’d love it if people signed up and gave us feedback. We’re building this because we want to learn how to build better products, for the future of Go Free Range.

Working inside government

Since September, I and the other Go Free Range guys have been working for the government. We’ve been helping the able and growing Government Digital Service to build whitehall, our code name for the Inside Government section of gov.uk. Yesterday we removed the password and opened our doors to the public.

For those who don’t know, gov.uk is the UK government’s attempt to not only consolidate government websites to a single domain, but also build these sites in the right way. That means public, open source, continual delivery and more.

While the first part of gov.uk focussed on helping citizens, Inside Government is about the business of government. What policies the government has, how it’s implementing them, not to mention the news and speeches, publications, consultations and other things the government does each day.

It’s only the first release of many, a small glimpse into what will one day be. How it ends up will be shaped by feedback from the people who use it.