Once upon a time, the mainframe was. The mainframe hosted complex corporate applications that required a very disciplined and sequential approach to requirements definition. In particular, it required requirements to be fully flushed out before coding began. Changing requirements en route was a big no-no and (mostly) constituted a too expensive proposition. That era is gone (...) The generally accepted approach in software development now calls for iterative (or evolutive) development.
Drupal, a free and open source web content management system, represents a very attrative option for managing content online. Here follows a list of reasons why I find it attractive in a federal government context.
Last week, the planning committee of the Fall 2006 Government of Canada "Information Management Day" (GC IM Day) met, and we flushed out some ideas on what topics to put on the schedule. In our current planning, one track will have the "Leading" flavour, in the sense of leading change, and that one or two sessions under that track will specifically deal with Web 2.0 implementations in the Government of Canada - existing, proposed and suggested.
The distinction is important. G2TT does not seek to substitute itself to policy makers and elected officials, it rather attempts to offer insights on how to improve the way government does business, internally and externally, by focusing on specific problems and challenges, one project at a time.
Honorable Reg Alcock, President of the Treasury Board, has been quoted saying that the way we define requirements in the federal government dates back from mainframe times. I agree. All too often, public servants will dutifully attempt to come up with a frozen list of requirements, unwittingly ignoring emerging trends & technologies.
For saavy Internet users, comfortable with using technologies such as wikis, RSS, news aggregators and blogs; it might be difficult to understand why governmental intranets seem fixated on using what is fast becoming old stuff. The nature of the web is changing. The nature of government is not.
As defined in wikipedia, a wiki is a group of Web pages that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also permits others (often completely unrestricted) to edit the content. Wikipedia is the most famous example of a successful wiki. Using a wiki (or many wikis) in a corporate environment represents a fundamental cultural change.