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Live stage: improving the service

Live stage is about releasing and improving the new service. You will also retire existing services and products.

In Live stage you will adjust the team and processes you have been following to keep operating and improving the service. You will also retire existing services and products that are no longer needed.

You will keep doing user research and performance analysis to plan improvements.

Meeting the Digital Service Standard


You must follow the service design and delivery process to meet Criteria 3: Agile and user-centred process of the Digital Service Standard.

The Digital Service Standard guides teams to build services that are simpler, clearer and faster.

Before you go live


Before you can make your service live, you must make sure:

  • the user can complete the full end-to-end journey
  • the service meets the user needs you found in your Discovery, Alpha and Beta stages
  • you are securing the service’s information
  • you have proven that your public beta service is functionally complete and performs better than any existing services
  • you can continue to accurately measure and report the success of your service on the Performance Dashboard
  • you have a plan for the transition or integration of any existing services that meet a similar user needs to yours
  • you can add redirects for URLs in the old service that will be deleted
  • the service fully meets the Digital Service Standard and can continue to do so
  • you can support the service and you’ll be able to keep iterating it and improving it until it’s retired

In many cases, a live service will be the first step on a wider transformation roadmap, so the code, design, infrastructure and learnings from the service delivery can be re-used.

The team you need in Live stage


You should know the roles you need to run your service, based on your experience of building it.

As you iterate and improve different parts of your service, you may find the team size changes along with your need for specialist roles.

Don't disband your service team after you go live. You need a multidisciplinary team to continuously improve the service and respond to additional and changing needs from the service over time.

If the service is handed over to a different team you will lose the empathy and experience developed through the previous stages. Also a ‘business as usual’ team will not keep iterating and improving it.

After you go live


After you move to the Live stage you should keep improving your service based on user feedback, analytics and further user research.

If the team needs to work with other teams to support the live service make sure that you are using the same artefacts. Everyone should be working using the same user stories.

You should also:

  • continue doing user research
  • monitor the status of your service
  • maintain uptime and availability
  • practise vulnerability and penetration testing
  • test your service’s performance
  • maintain quality assurance

You should repeat the service design and delivery stages (Discovery, Alpha, Beta and Live) for smaller pieces of work as your service continues running. This means you:

  • keep finding things that need improvement
  • do research to get the best solutions
  • iterate and then release

Measuring performance


After the service goes live you need to keep measuring and reporting on the Performance Dashboard. This includes 4 key performance indicators for government services:

  • user satisfaction
  • digital take-up
  • completion rate
  • cost per transaction

Use your findings to help you understand how to improve your service. Keep testing that your metrics are telling you what you need to know.

Retiring services


Retiring existing services involves replacing legacy technology and consolidating existing non-digital channels.

You should also be aware of changes in policy and legislation that might change how your service can work.

You will need a content strategy to help you as you remove content.