Today the Governor of Pennsylvania made it official: Add PA to the growing list of states adding digital service teams to their orgs, recognizing the gaps such a team can fill.

The Executive Order creating CODE PA is good, and interesting, particularly the language about what the team “shall” do.

They’re called CODE PA, but this is definitely not a “cooler tech will solve all your problems” play. This is a well thought out founding document, with, e.g., attention to where and when in-person and analog solutions might better achieve equitable service delivery. The EO also smartly points to both the potential for in-house development and the need for innovations in procurement to achieve their digital service goals.

This team has a lot of responsibilities, in a way that’s significantly more specific than the broader-brush mandates some other DS teams get. I think this is a good development; those proscriptions will help make sure they’re in the rooms and at the tables. There’s some danger to it, too, if the team feels obliged to try to address all of those “shalls” in parallel and spreads itself thin right out of the gate. But if they can build the right team and the right relationships, they have a chance to help their PA government colleagues make a lot of progress for Pennsylvanians.

2023-04-27: The ever-insightful Mark Headd has more on the subject of where teams like this should be situated and why.