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Modernization Playbook

A framework to transform how we deliver value through Minnesota's programs and services

The Modernization Playbook is a common, end-to-end outline for consistent roles, language, and activities to streamline and improve access to modern government services through Minnesota’s executive branch. 

The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Council on Information Technology, which consisted of a group of private and public sector information technology experts, developed the Modernization Playbook to ensure that the State of Minnesota’s IT systems and government programs work together efficiently to deliver value to the people of Minnesota. 

While the Playbook is powered by Minnesota IT Services (MNIT), a team of project management professionals of technical and non-technical staff across Minnesota’s executive branch are helping state agencies to incorporate the Playbook framework into new and existing business and project management processes. 

State employees can find training and resources to implement the Modernization Playbook on MNIT's Office of Transformation and Strategy Delivery's collaboration site (for executive branch employees). 

Updated: October 25, 2022 

Modernization Playbook phases

Modernization Playbook Phases: Select > Plan > Do> Close and Run

Why does the State of Minnesota need to modernize its systems and processes?

Align priorities across agencies and improve end user access: A modernization-focused state government improves Minnesotans’ experiences accessing government services.

Complete projects on time and within budget: Modernization helps to realize cost-savings and efficiencies as Minnesota streamlines access to systems, services, and programs. It creates more secure and better supported technology systems and applications.

Put a greater focus on solutions that meet the needs of the people we serve. Modernization efforts center around people and their experiences, allowing the State of Minnesota to focus on finding new ways to address barriers to services.

Modernization Playbook phases and plays

Graphic outlining the steps of the Select > Plan > Do > Close and Run phases. The Steps shown in the graphic are the same as those detailed in the text of the page.

Playbook phase:SelectDefine the change

The Select Phase identifies and defines the problem you are trying to solve and its root causes, who might be impacted by a change, and how you will measure success. State agencies drive this work with a clear and repeatable idea intake process. Then, they determine which ideas move forward for more detailed planning.

Play 1: Gather ideas

To foster innovation from within all ranks of the agency, agencies evaluate ideas through a documented process. This allows agencies to prioritize ideas and look for opportunities to combine related ideas into one initiative.

Play 1

STOP: Approval 1

Decide which ideas or project work move forward for more detailed Business Case planning. Agency and IT leadership should be involved in this approval process. State employees can find training and resources to set up an executive decision-making team on MNIT’s Office of Transformation and Strategy Delivery’s collaboration site (for executive branch employees).


  • Which ideas or project requests align with state and/or agency strategies?

Play 2: Define problems and opportunities

Compare where we are now, and where we want to be. What will it take to get there? What processes, systems, or barriers stand in the way? Engage with stakeholders and groups to dig into the real causes of the problems. You may use a human-centered design approach – bringing stakeholders into the conversation from the beginning and building solutions that meet their needs.

Play 2

Play 3: Develop a solution

Identify a solution that looks at changing the way we work – business process improvements – and technology solution options. Avoid automating outdated and inefficient processes. Look for opportunities to use or leverage what is already in place so we don't introduce redundant systems.

Play 3

Play 4: Procure resources

Think about the resources you might need for your solution. This includes agency and IT staff and any financial investment. Decide if you need to build your technology solution, can purchase it or work with a vendor, or will combine both approaches.

Play 4

STOP: Approval 2

Get your business case approved. Steps 2, 3, and 4 bring together cross-functional teams from agencies, MNIT, and procurement to develop a business case. 


  • Are there agency business processes and IT systems in place to support the solution?
  • Is this technically possible?
  • Do we have the resources?
  • What else will be impacted?
  • How will this be prioritized?
  • Is more information needed?
  • What are the objectives?
  • What is the timeline and cost?
  • What are the risks?
  • Do we need a vendor?

Playbook phase:PlanPlan the change

The Plan Phase results in a detailed set of project plans, which will include all the information to decide whether to fund and authorize a project. If appropriate, plans will also include the selected and contracted vendors.

Play 5: Plan project

Agency, MNIT, and procurement teams continue to work closely together to develop detailed project plans. The team should decide on a project approach, such as agile or waterfall. Finalize a contract with a vendor, if needed. Project plans will clearly outline the scope, objectives, and how success is measured.

Think about user adoption and communication in your project plans.

Play 5

STOP: Approval 3

Get your project plans approved. This will allow for any final funding you need for execution.

Playbook phase:DoImplement the change

Your solution will be working and live for end users and Minnesotans to access. Before it goes live, agencies’ decision-making bodies give the go/no-go decision. Engage end users every step of the way to test accessibility, security, and rollback plans.

Play 6: Execute plans

Create the changes you’ve laid out in your plans. Make sure to let end users or stakeholders know what changes might mean for them. Test as you go along to make sure the solution works for your end users. 

There should be a transparent understanding of how the project is going throughout execution.

Play 6

Play 7: Launch

Launch when project deliverables have passed functional and usability testing, your stakeholders know what changes to expect, and you are ready to go live.

Play 7

Play 8: Close project

Transition a project to operations when you’ve confirmed that it has met its goals. Gather agency, IT, and procurement staff to document lessons learned and how processes might be improved for future projects.

Play 8

Playbook phase:RunSustain and benefit from the change

Transition your project to operations when you confirm that its objectives are met, meeting the needs of Minnesotans and agency strategic priorities. This may include a roadmap for future applications or efforts that further improve and modernize systems, programs, and services for Minnesotans.

Play 9: Maintain solution

Regularly review how well the solution is meeting its goals. Create processes to track and report on performance. Document whether any improvements to the solution need to be made.

Play 9

Play 10: Manage application portfolio

Use a dashboard and automation to create a roadmap for future and in-place applications. This will help you plan for modernization investments.

Play 10
A large circle diagram that outlines the content shown on this page. All the content in the image mirrors the Phases and Steps on this page.
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