Image by Eric Ries.

Here’s a common pattern: An agency spends a few years working on a project that could improve residents’ lives. Procurement delays and construction issues take extra time. The project opens, there’s controversy and people call for changes or say the project was a waste. Public employees get the message. Next time, they spend even more time designing the project.

Are we on a cycle in which everything government does happens slower and slower?

Let’s look at a field where things aren’t slowing but speeding up: software. The people making websites and apps are innovating at a frenetic pace. In recent years, a new management philosophy called “lean startups” has taken hold. One of the basic principles, according to guru Eric Ries, is to build something quickly, measure how well it works and improve it. The faster through the “build-measure-learn” cycle, the better.

Continue reading my latest op-ed in the Washington Post.

We've just launched our brand new website and are working out some kinks. Find something that looks like a bug? Please help out by sending us an email with the details!

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.