6. Form the Right Team

This standard is linked to the following Principle for Digital Development: Be Collaborative.

Launching a digital product requires a diverse set of skill sets. This includes software engineering, user research, UX (User Experience)and UI (User Interface) design, product and project management, and sector/industry/challenge specific knowledge. 

At a minimum, there are three core skill sets required for any project. 

  1. Designer — Someone who understands the problem and can design a solution. This is about designing how something works vs. just what it will look like. 
  2. Developer — Someone who builds solutions and understands technology. 
  3. Project Manager — Someone who manages stakeholders and keeps things on track.

You can find some of these skills within the UNDP, while other skill sets are scarce. Work with local digital practitioners and vendors to support the local digital ecosystem. Build relationships and partnerships with local universities, accelerators and boot camps. 

You should only start to build the team once you fully understand the problem and the proposed solution. Otherwise, the team’s skill sets will not align with the problem you’re trying to solve. 

When creating a team, aim to include individuals with similar lived experiences and organisations that have solved similar challenges before. This will ensure alignment and inclusion in your solutions. 

You can leverage this experience to build better products, faster.



  • Understand the expertise you need
  • Map skill set you have in your team
  • Include people with lived experience
  • Interview vendors before contracting them
  • Meet with vendors regularly (a minimum twice per month)
  • Ensure vendors continuously share insights and research that support decision-making
  • ensure sufficient internal capacity is in place to manage the work


  • Outsource project management — take full ownership and responsibility. 
  • Hire a vendor just based on their proposal — meet and speak with them 
  • Engage designers just to make something pretty
  • Hire a vendor with a few milestones and wait until they deliver the final product



UN Resources


To Read


Case Studies.

  • Reimagine the UN Together dialogues These dialogues focus on the Future of Work in the United Nations and have included people from across the organization. A key area of focus is on establishing agile mindsets and practices within the UN, which are iterative ways of thinking, collaborating and learning to tackle a challenge. This would enable more responsive programming, policy design, budgeting and decision-making that can be informed by user research and testing.
  • Building the new Environmental Registry of Ontario Learn about how an Environmental Registry was redesigned by a small, dedicated team using small-agile practices. Here, a digital team included people with a mix of skills who followed a Digital Service Standard to guide their work and inform development.