Two civic tech books

I am currently working with a US state's education department to move its infrastructure and applications to the cloud. This is my first time working directly on a government project and it has been informative. To gain a broader understanding of the field of civic tech I read the books

A civic technologist's practice guide
by Cyd Harrell

The service organization
by Kate Tarling

Harrell is writing in the context of the US and Tarling the UK. In many ways their persuasive styles seems to reflect the two broader cultures too.

Harrell's book contains a broad introduction to US government (all levels) and how work is accomplished there. It provides a good guide to these and provides effective strategies for success, whether working from inside or outside government. The book begins with the important topic of reckoning with privilege and ends with the need for self-care in, what can be, an intellectually frustrating and emotionally exhausting environment. I am pleased these were included. The resources at the back of the book look to be well considered (as are the few footnotes within). There is no index. I recommend this book if you are considering participating in civic tech.

Tarling's book is less about the current context of the work and more the means to change that context. To move from stovepiped departments to cross-disciplinary teams focusing on providing the whole service. Ie, product oriented rather than platform oriented. The national context is the UK and not the US, nevertheless it is helpful to see the kinds of tactics and artifacts needed to facilitate the transition. The book has a generous collection of resources at the back. There is no index. I would recommend this book if you have decided to participate in civic tech.