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Common ground based open source software

Empowering the public sector with real ownership

Historically speaking municipalities and public organisations have had a strong dependency on proprietary licensed software supplied by vendors. This software can not only access personal data, it locks organisations in.

Software projects that adhere to the “Common Ground” guidelines offer a clear separation of data storage, services, process logic and, user interfaces for anyone who abides by them.

Common Ground

/ˈkɒm.ən ɡraʊnd/

Common Ground is an information technology vision that was created to improve the transparency, flexibility, and extensibility of public government information systems. Common Ground architecture is mostly used by municipalities, amongst other public organisations.

The path to a Common Ground

  1. Step 1

    Goal Research

    Depending on your needs we always start with some degree of discovery to understand a whole array of variables. Ranging from the current and future users of your web application, to all of the stakeholders in the project. This is also the moment we explore the technical landscape that the web application will live in, as well as define the design and development steps required to achieve your goals.

  2. Step 2

    Solution Design

    We enter the realm of the end user. We analyse the original brief and the existing requirements. We meet the users, define the flows, and visualise the solution. Once validated, we turn the flows into stories and specifications for the technical teams to build.

  3. Step 3

    Technical Governance

    When working with multiple parties, we create clear process and agreements on how layers or verticals of the common ground technical architecture are integrated and divided amongst different teams. Dividing responsibility vertically or horizontally can change the process considerably. Vertically would mean that one company delivers on a specific feature across all layers of abstraction. Horizontally would mean one company is responsible for one or more abstraction layers. Technical governance is complex, we make it less so.

  4. Step 4

    Agile Development

    As the prototype becomes more clear it’s time to engineer how this web application comes to life. We figure out what the url structures will look like, which react components to use on a page and define the integration tests for the OpenAPI interfaces.

  5. Step 5


    Ultimately we need to implement and deliver the solution, involving a variety of Lifely experts to validate the solution with stakeholders and end users. In this phase, feedback is collected and fed back into the solution design and agile development iterations.

  6. Step 6

    Knowledge Transfer

    We are here to help you until you can help yourself. This is what we mean when we say “Lifely is solving problems for good”. We don’t plan on being your agency forever and at some point it’s time for Lifely to handover the responsibility of the solution to a different team. This can happen after just 6 months, or after a couple of years. Together we define a transfer proces that suits your organisation, such as specific technical handover sessions about best practice and “co-development sessions” between your team and the Lifely developers.


An open source solution freely used by national libraries with full control over their data and code

BISC Taalhuizen: Participant Intake Platform

An open source solution freely used by national libraries with full control over their data and code

BISC Taalhuizen: Participant Intake Platform

Why choose Common Ground for your public project?

3 reasons why the public sector needs Common Ground software

Ownership & Privacy

By Peter, CTO at Lifely

Common Ground software puts public organisations into a position of power and full ownership over their software and data of their users. This greatly increases transparency and data privacy for end-users that usually don’t have any say in the software.

Read our 3 reasons

Contact us about your Common Ground questions

Call us020 846 19 05 Mail

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