State and local IT stories that made 2021

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Representing a mild improvement over the tribulations of 2020, the past year was for state and local governments marked by many of the same high-intensity concerns.

But most agencies showed that they had at least learned something from their initial responses to the health crisis. What began as a mad scramble in 2020, to get employees working remotely and to establish data-dashboards and functioning unemployment-insurance systems, gave way to a more sophisticated way of working and problem-solving. 

In most agencies, remote- and hybrid-work set-ups are now accepted as natural features of the environment, and the length of projects are shrinking to meet the compressed timelines that were normalized in 2020. IT leaders have repeatedly told StateScoop over the past year that they were surprised with their own response speeds and in many cases said they plan to continue using the practices that made those sprints possible.

The past year also set itself apart from 2020 in that not everything was about the pandemic. Though the health crisis was seldom far from anyone’s thoughts, many state and local agencies also found time to complete upgrades that had nothing to do with a virus.