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Please read all of this overview, and then refer to sections as required.

This section "Overview" is part of the Accelerate framework document, available as Word or PDF on the Accelerate downloads page.

Intended audience

This toolkit has been created for:

  • managers wanting to invest in improving their service or business capability
  • managers and team members involved in an Accelerate project.


 Contact accelerate@dia.govt.nz for help or feedback.

What is Accelerate?

Accelerate is a scalable framework of tools brought together in a high-level process to support faster deliver of benefits, using a multi-function team from several disciplines, including policy, technology, development and assurance. It supports rapid design, prototyping, testing, and learning for improved citizen-centred experiences.

Existing delegated authority, responsibilities and accountabilities continue to apply, including the Treasury investment management processes.

It incorporates proven techniques from a number of disciplines to support a project from the point when the opportunity is identified, through to maximising the benefits of the completed working product.

Why use Accelerate?

Using Accelerate can help projects to:

  • define the opportunity and benefits
  • incorporate customer-centred service design
  • create a roadmap for evolving the product over time
  • ensure projects align with cross-agency strategic priorities
  • identify business benefits and appropriate business changes
  • make cross-agency collaboration and coordination easier
  • deliver the most valuable components to customers and investors earlier and in working form
  • identify opportunities for cross-agency common capabilities.

Accelerate can reduce delays

Accelerate includes the following processes, which can reduce delays:

  • establishing a multi-discipline team across policy, delivery, and technology
  • adopting a simplified governance environment
  • considering pre and post-delivery phases to optimise work flow
  • using agile techniques during development and release
  • coordinating the cross-agency release of integrated services.


Accelerate projects need to follow the all-of-government assurance guidance provided on ICT projects and programmes available at www.ict.govt.nz (search for "project assurance").

This guidance encourages tailoring assurance processes to match the risks and value of the project.

Risk management

The following features in Accelerate (including agile development) mitigate common risks associated with traditional project methodologies:

  • frequent engagement of customers during design and development
  • prioritization of high value work for early delivery.
  • short inspect and adapt cycle
  • clear definitions of ‘done’
  • high engagement of the team with the business via the product owner
  • small frequent iterations
  • automated testing
  • test-driven design
  • explicit review and management of technical data
  • prototyping of solution components
  • cross functional teams - many perspectives
  • delivery of working systems.

What makes Accelerate different?

Accelerate uses approaches for managing projects that can deliver benefits safely and reduce delays.

Accelerate is flexible, and builds on the natural increase of information as a project progresses, so more decision making is based on real information, rather than on predictions. In this approach, changes are welcome.

This compares with traditional project management methods, where the details of a project are approved and locked in before the work begins, using assumptions which are based on the available information. In these methods, change is minimised and carefully managed.

Accelerate facilitates better financial control as it delivers the product in smaller and more frequent working releases, so the Project Board is able to reprioritise investment at the end of each release.


For many years agencies have been providing public services and carrying out projects following well-understood methods, largely independent of each other.

Recently a number of new methods have become available that have been shown to improve how public services and projects can be delivered.

The Government has identified delivering better public services within tight financial constraints as one of its top priorities.  This and the Government’s ICT Strategy place new demands on Government agencies:

  • a focus on customer-centred services
  • greater collaboration between agencies
  • shorter time to realising benefits
  • investing in common ICT capabilities.

Research undertaken with project managers and sponsors indicates there is significant opportunity to improve the current project environment.

The GCIO's team has developed Accelerate as an approach to organise and support projects delivering customer-centred services that are enabled by technology.

Accelerate’s phases

Accelerate has six phases – Prepare, Discover, Alpha, Beta, Live, and Grow (see Accelerate phases). These phases are divided into stages that describe the main tasks that need to be considered.

Accelerate phases shown in a triangle

Figure: Accelerate’s phases

This toolkit describes each phase including its:

  • stages
  • goals
  • possible techniques.

The techniques come from successful projects of varying size and complexity.

What is Accelerate based on?

Accelerate is based on the successful Government Service Design Manual (see www.gov.uk/service-manual).

Their approach has been tailored to the New Zealand environment and includes:

  • proven customer service design techniques (NZ Government Service Design Guideline), architecture techniques (the Government Enterprise Architecture for New Zealand v3.0, GEA-NZ Data and Information Reference model and Taxonomy v3.0, TOGAF and ArchiMate®), and agile project delivery techniques.
  • benefits planning and change management to Discover, Alpha, and Live
  • the Grow phase, to support co-ordinated investment planning for cross-agency common capabilities.
Page last updated: 13/04/2016