18f product manager

18f product manager DEFAULT

Becoming a product manager

This post was originally published on the blog for the Open Data Design team at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Jennifer Malcolm is a product manager at the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

If you had asked me two years ago what a product manager is, I wouldn’t have known. And, yet, today, that is one of my titles.

My journey here has included many days when I felt unqualified and wondered if I could bring my best to our team and build a successful product. Along the way, I have been lucky to receive guidance and coaching from experienced product managers at the General Services Administration’s 18F and to receive my supervisor’s support to develop my product management skills through formal and informal training.

Our product team has also allowed me the flexibility to explore approaches and periodically adjust and shape my role into something that works for our needs. Even though I’ve only been in this role for a year, and I am still learning, my experience so far has helped shape the way I view my responsibility as a public servant.

My path into product management

As you likely guessed when I mentioned I only recently learned about product management, I haven’t traveled a well-beaten path to this position. Many years ago, I took a web development class during my freshman year of college. I enjoyed the class but quickly thereafter decided to pursue other subjects and largely abandoned any effort to understand technological developments. Clearly, web development is not a field that you can ignore for any length of time and come back to later with a meaningful understanding. So, how did I end up as a product manager for a website? I didn’t make the decision to update my skills and change fields, but I did pursue a position that has allowed me more learning opportunities than I expected.

My transition into product management wasn’t the first time in my career I’ve gone out of my comfort zone. Shortly after graduating from college with my bachelor’s in economics and my minor in philosophy, I joined the Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service as an economist. Since that title aligned well with my schooling, I expected to have a good understanding of how to do the job. I was wrong about that. The position required me to understand solid minerals production and valuation rules as well as a lot about auditing.

I didn’t know a thing about coal or hard minerals, so I had a steep learning curve. As my first government job, it also took me time to understand the legal, regulatory, and policy environments that greatly influenced the way we worked. I put in the work and, before too long, was able to positively contribute to the organization.

That was my first dive into an unexpected field but certainly not my last. Since that time, I’ve worked in private industry and as a contracting specialist before returning to the Department of the Interior at the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, where I learned many technical aspects of oil and gas production on public lands. I also returned to school to study Environmental Policy Management, Energy and Sustainability.

My varied experiences likely led me to my current position. My knowledge in economics, solid minerals, and oil and gas were important but probably not as important as my growth mindset. Learning new things motivates me. So, when I saw a position in the team that managed the U.S.’s implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), I was intrigued because I knew I could explore new things and learn a lot. So, I applied.

In early 2017, I was hired to supervise a team of program analysts who helped with the U.S. implementation of the EITI standards—the origin of our site. Early on, my position entailed a lot of coordination with 18F who had designed and developed the website for the Department of the Interior.

My small team also took on responsibility for supporting an advisory committee, which was not directly tied to EITI implementation. Later in 2017, the U.S. withdrew as an implementing country from EITI, but the Administration maintained the commitment to enhancing transparency and accountability by providing open data through our newly named Natural Resources Revenue Data site.

Around the same time, we began implementing a plan to bring the site management responsibilities in-house. For years, 18F provided the technical expertise that the Department of the Interior needed to execute our vision for a user-centered, open data site, but 18F does not stay on projects permanently. We also knew that ONRR would benefit in many ways by bringing the site maintenance in-house. These benefits include lower site management costs and the ability to expand our own technical capacity.

In order to accomplish the transition from 18F, we hired three Innovation Specialists on 2- to 4-year term appointments. In the first few months after our first Innovation Specialist joined us, we were planning for that person to serve as product manager, giving our small team of permanent employees a few years to develop the skills to take on the site management responsibilities.

Our plans changed when our first innovation specialist decided to leave for an opportunity outside of government. It turned out, we wouldn’t have the luxury of observing and slowly learning the skills before we took over the product management function. So, with a bit of apprehension, and a bit more excitement, I became the official Natural Resources Revenue Data product manager in early 2018.

Help along the way

Product management workshop with 18F and ONRR. There is a group of people seating around a table with yellow stickie notes. On a wall there are long pieces of paper with yellow sticky notes on them

Luckily, I was not thrown into the deep end without a buoy, as we still had a transition agreement with 18F for a few more months. The 18F employee who had been managing the product began co-working with me as much as possible. She provided me training and resources that helped me better understand the role and tools of the trade, such as roadmapping. I began taking over meetings that she had been running, but we would have weekly coaching meetings to discuss challenges I encountered and questions I had.

One of the first things I did, under the guidance of our 18F coaches—and with the help of our content strategist—was to create our product framing document. Since we had recently withdrawn from EITI, it was the perfect opportunity to evaluate and prioritize our users’ needs and document our vision.

My supervisor has always supported my continued development in product management, and I was able to take a 3-day product management course about 6 months into taking over the role.

That was a good time for a deeper look into the traditional role, and it provided me the opportunity to network with others in product management positions who represented a wide variety of industries. Through this class and discussions with the other product managers, I understood that my role varied quite dramatically from many product managers’ roles. Since we have a very small team (one UX designer, one content strategist, and one developer) exclusively focused on our product, each member of the team has had to pick up the slack and develop skills in other areas.

Making it my own

When 18F signed off from our project, it was a little scary to be off on our own. It was also a great opportunity to take time to evaluate how we were managing our product, team roles, and my responsibilities as product manager. I’ve never been a full-time product manager, as I have had other duties—including committee support and supervision—throughout my tenure. So, I needed to set realistic expectations for my team and myself.

My responsibilities as product manager include defining the product vision and ensuring we always keep our prioritized user needs in mind when determining what features to add to our site and when. I am also responsible for ensuring we have a defensible, consistent approach to evaluate our product’s success. Since we have a very small team, I also have duties that often would go to a scrum master. I run our sprint planning, demo, review, and retrospective meetings as well as daily standups.

In collaboration with our product team, I’ve made many adjustments to how I run the meetings over the last year, and I’ve also called upon the other team members to help me carry the load in many situations. When I am out of the office, our content strategist or UX designer have often led the meetings.

At some point over the last year, our team felt that our sprint planning meetings weren’t as strategic as we would like, so we adjusted our meeting schedule. We now set the goals for our next sprint two days before we finish our sprint planning. This allows all of the team members time to identify issues that we should address during the sprint and spreads the planning workload throughout the team. We have also adjusted the format of our roadmap and made changes so we can better tie our roadmap priorities to our issue priorities.

As I continue to learn in this role and balance my product management responsibilities with other job requirements, I expect to continue experimenting with new ideas and methodologies in hopes of optimizing my effectiveness and the success of our team and product.

I encourage my team members to bring me their concerns. While I don’t always have solutions ready, we are often able to brainstorm together and make tweaks to our processes in hopes of continuously improving the way we work.

Screenshot of https://revenuedata.doi.gov/

What’s next

I still have a lot to learn about product management, but I know many of the skills I’ve gained over the last year will be useful in any future role. In work and in life, I’m inclined to understand the reasons we do what we do. Over the years, I’m sure I’ve annoyed a few coworkers and bosses with my questions on why we have specific policies, procedures, or products. Despite my questioning nature, I haven’t always had the best tools to investigate and answer those questions for myself.

Through product management, I’ve learned more about the importance of understanding the problem before designing a solution, and I’ve gained tools and ideas that I can use to better evaluate the success of a product. Whether the product is a report, procedures, or a website, it is essential to know who the users are and understand their needs. If we don’t take time to do that, we end up developing something that solves the wrong problem.

Within government, it can be challenging to understand the success of a product. We don’t have profit margins to help drive our decisions. While we can often measure some version of return on investment, much of the work that we do as public servants has intangible or hard-to-measure benefits. How do we measure the value of promoting an open government that is accountable to citizens? We want to be a little piece of an effort to increase trust in government. What is that worth?

Despite the challenge of measuring some results, it is just as important in government service that we have ways to evaluate the success of our products. Over the last year, our team has put a lot of thought into developing metrics so that we can measure and understand the success of our site.

Through my experience as a product manager, I’ve solidified my inclination to question whether what we’re doing is the best use of our resources. We must always keep a focus on the value we are delivering to the public. I want to do my best for the American citizens we serve, and learning more about product management has helped me develop strategies to do that.

Sours: https://18f.gsa.gov/2019/11/21/interior-becoming-a-product-manager-post/

18F - Product Manager (IT Specialist)

18F is hiring a GS-15 - Product Manager. This page contains information related to the role as well as a link to submit your application. Check out Join TTS Hiring Process to learn more about the application process. Please note we will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis so we encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible for consideration.

Location: Virtual (100% Remote), Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY

Salary Range: The salary range for this position is: GS-15 Step 1 - $128,078 to GS-15 Step 10 $172,500

Salary to be determined upon selection, depending on duty location.

You can find more information about this in the compensation and benefits section on our site.

For specific details on locality pay, please visit OPM’s Salaries & Wages page or for a salary calculator OPM’s 2021 General Schedule (GS) Salary Calculator.

Please note the maximum salary available for the GS pay system is $172,500

Note: You may not be eligible for the maximum salary as it is locality dependent. Please refer to the maximum pay for your locality.

Who May Apply: All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands).

Role Summary:

Product Manager - GS-15

As a Product Manager at 18F, you’ll lead cross-functional teams to deliver user-centered products using agile methodologies and modern software development practices while building capacity for product innovation in government. When you build products with a partner agency, you’ll coach them on modern product development practices so they’re set up for success in the long term.

Product managers on our team are:

  • Strategic thinkers who are comfortable defining a compelling vision and designing a measurable strategy to achieve that vision
  • Decisive leaders who know how to motivate cross-functional teams to build the right thing
  • Comfortable working in a consulting capacity as well as running a product directly
  • Empathetic coaches, mentors, and advocates who help partner agency staff develop the skills to manage their own products

Key Objectives

Objective #1: Own or steward the product vision and lead end-to-end product development

You are an experienced product manager who can unite vision and execution to lead an interdisciplinary team in delivering the right value to the right people. You’re skilled at defining a meaningful end goal to galvanize your team, whether that means generating a product vision and strategy with your team or helping agency partners articulate and focus their vision and strategy.

Successful product managers at 18F:

  • Establish a vision and ensure all members of the 18F and partner teams have a shared understanding of product objectives, goals, and metrics
  • Analyze market demand and market fit, do competitive analysis, and guide build vs. buy or reuse approaches
  • Create a product strategy and roadmap and develop a communications strategy supporting product goals
  • Identify and proactively monitor and address product risks
  • Lead a cross-functional team of researchers, designers, and engineers to ensure the right product is delivered to the right audience
  • Work with the team to set and meet quality standards for any product you build
  • Use evidence (user research, analytics, and other metrics) to make product decisions, ask “why” a lot, and recognize the difference between “we can’t do that because of bureaucracy” and “we can’t do that because of the law”
  • Energize and motivate the team by recognizing successes and learning from failures
  • Ensure your product complies with federal regulations such as Authority to Operate, the Paperwork Reduction Act, and Section 508

Objective #2: Work with agency partners to make sure they’re set up for success

As a product manager at 18F, your job isn’t to deliver software; your job is to create sustainable outcomes that benefit the public. You’ll help your partners adopt a modern product development mindset and make sure they have the right team to sustain their product once 18F’s engagement with them is done. You’ll also coach and mentor agency staff, helping them develop into capable product managers in their own right.

Successful product managers at 18F:

  • Work with partners to establish in-house product ownership
  • Help partners understand how to deliver value, rather than features, to their users
  • Help partners navigate complex bureaucratic relationships to bring stakeholders together around a common product vision and strategy
  • Coach the partner in agile, open source, and user-centered principles so they understand the value these practices bring
  • Ensure the partner understands how to do day-to-day product management by coaching and mentoring junior product managers
  • Work with partners to ensure they have the right team to continue iterating on the product beyond the engagement
  • Work with partners to establish relationships with their security, operations, and IT teams that will help sustain the product in the long term
  • Work with partners to develop communications strategies to sustain the product during and beyond the engagement

Objective #3: Build institutional expertise around product management

As a member of 18F, you’ll also be part of the Technology Transformation Services. You’ll share best practices and tools with your peers across the organization. You’ll collaborate and share insights and opinions with other product managers, contributing to our growing culture of product management. You’ll share lessons learned from your work at 18F with peers and leaders to help guide our approach to digital transformation.

Successful product managers at 18F:

  • Keep abreast of product management best practices and bring them back into the organization
  • Stay on top of new technologies and how they could help solve government problems
  • Speak at conferences to talk about 18F’s work and share our mission
  • Contribute to 18F’s culture of transparency by publishing accounts of your successes and failures
  • Continually seek out new product management tools that could improve the way we work
  • Pay attention to well-supported open source product offerings that can be reused in a government context to solve common problems (so that we help agencies not build custom tools if not needed)

Basic Information

Location: Virtual (100% Remote), Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY

Salary Range: Base salary GS-15 - $128,078 to $172,500

If you are a new federal employee, your starting salary will likely be set at the Step 1 of the grade for which you are selected. Total compensation may include locality pay based on the individual’s duty location. For more salary information including locality pay details, please visit OPM’s Salaries & Wages page.

Who May Apply: All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands)

Job announcement number: 20FASC168SVGOTR

Opening and closing period for this job application: Tuesday, June 16, 2020 to 11:59pm on Friday, June 11, 2021 EDT

Job Title: IT Specialist (PLCYPLAN)

Series & Grade: 2210 - 15

Promotion Potential: GS-15

Number of vacancies: 1 (Additional vacancies may be filled from this announcement as needed)

Supervisory status: No

Travel requirement: Occasional travel may be required up to 10%-20% per year

Security clearance: Public trust. Background investigation required.

Work Schedule: Full time

Appointment Type: Initial appointments to last longer than 1 year, but NTE 4 years. GSA, may extend appt up to 4 additional years. No individual hired under this DHA can serve in excess of 8 years with GSA.

Job Summary

This Notice is issued under direct-hire authority to recruit new talent to occupations for which there is a severe shortage of candidates. We have a severe shortage of qualified applicants for our Information Technology Specialist positions. To help us fill these jobs, we have been granted “Direct Hire Authority” or DHA for IT Specialist by Executive Order 13833. This means that when we have a vacant job, we can hire any qualified candidate, either from this notice or from any source. The benefit of applying to this notice is that your application may be shared with a hiring manager if they request resumes from this notice.

Initial appointments are made lasting longer than 1 year, but not to exceed 4 years. GSA, may extend an appointment up to 4 additional years. No individual hired under this DHA can serve in excess of 8 years with GSA, and cannot be transferred to positions that are not IT positions.

Key facts about this DHA notice:

  • TTS is seeking to fill multiple TERM appointments at the GS-15 level.
  • Positions may be located in Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY or Full-time Telework.
  • Salary to be determined upon selection, depending on duty location.
  • Full Time telework is negotiable after the selection (i.e., official worksite/duty location is the residence of the selectee).
  • Current civil service employees will receive new appointments if selected under this Direct Hire Authority.
  • Current GSA employees on competitive service appointments will not be considered.
  • You must perform the following Major Duties utilizing expert level skill, mastery knowledge and significant IT experience:

Expert IT Policy and Planning Consultant: Serves as a senior IT expert and authoritative technical consultant within 18F. Engages with the larger and more complex customer agencies to develop and revise highly complex and intricate IT policies, practices, products, services, and strategies based on laws, regulations, business needs, and user needs. Applies innovative IT theories to problems not susceptible to treatment by standard methods and makes decisions or recommendations significantly changing, interpreting, or developing important IT policies, programs, or initiatives.

Expert IT Project Leadership: Provides sound direction and vision during the entire IT project. Ensures the IT project is led in a manner consistent with the goals of engagement and with the right team members. Engages leadership in the creation process and the project vision. Establishes a shared understanding across team members and stakeholders.

Provides Leadership to Ad Hoc Teams: Leads cross functional teams to develop innovative IT services. Plans, develops, and executes highly complex and intricate IT projects that transform the manner in which work is accomplished within the federal government.

Relationship Management: Serves as a liaison to program personnel within the agency to convey information regarding Agile Technology Program activities, policies and goals; to clarify procedures; and to interpret directives as needed. Utilizes interpersonal skills to develop cooperative relationships. Works closely with customer agencies in a leadership role and navigates and works through conflicting priorities from stakeholders. Uses empathy, creativity, coalition building, situational awareness and tact to problem solve and manage stakeholders.

GSA has been repeatedly named as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the federal government. You will have access to many benefits including:

  • Health insurance (choose from a wide range of plans)
  • Life insurance coverage with several options
  • Sick leave and vacation time, including 10 paid holidays per year
  • Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k) plan)
  • Flexible work schedules and telework
  • Transit and child care subsidies
  • Training and development
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Training and development

Key Requirements

  1. You must be a U.S. Citizen or National (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands)
  2. Suitable for federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  3. You may be required to serve a trial period
  4. Direct Deposit of salary check to financial organization required
  5. Register with Selective Service, if you are required by https://www.sss.gov/Registration-Info/Who-Registration

Employment Requirements

  • Serve a one year trial period, if required
  • Undergo and pass a background investigation. You must be granted this clearance before you can start the job
  • Have your identity and work status eligibility verified if you are not a GSA employee. We will use the Department of Homeland Security’s e-Verify system for this
  • Any discrepancies must be resolved as a condition of continued employment
  • Complete a financial disclosure report to verify that no conflict, or an appearance of conflict, exists between your financial interest and this position

Evaluation

We will use a method called Category Rating to assess your application.

Here’s how it will work:

You will be scored based on a review of your application materials, measuring your possession of each of the following competencies

  • Communication: Ability to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences to establish a shared vision and understanding of the project’s objectives and goals
  • Product Experience: Ability to deliver the right digital product using user-centered and agile-based methodologies
  • Leadership: Ability to effectively lead a cross-functional team to meet digital project/product objectives
  • Innovation: Ability to apply innovative tools and technologies and to help partners make strategic & tactical decisions toward innovation
  • 18F Core Values Alignment: The ability to work with integrity, transparency and resiliency in civic minded or high impact environment

If found to be eligible and at least minimally qualified for the position, your score will be used to place you in a category (Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified).

If your resume does not support your possession of the competencies listed above, we may lower your score, which could place you in a lower category.

Qualifications

BASIC REQUIREMENTS: Have IT-related experience demonstrating EACH of the four competencies listed below:

Attention to Detail - This skill is generally demonstrated by assignments where the applicant keeps abreast of latest technology, information, research, etc., to maintain knowledge in field of expertise (for example, reads trade journals, participates in professional/technical associations, maintains credentials).

Customer Service - skill is generally demonstrated by assignments where the applicant promotes or develops and maintains good working relationships with key individuals or groups.

Oral Communication - This skill is generally demonstrated by assignments where the applicant serves on panels, committees, or task forces as a representative for the organization on technical or professional issues.

Problem Solving - This skill is generally demonstrated by assignments where the applicant monitors current trends or events (for example, technological, economic, political, social, educational, or employment trends or events) and applies the information as appropriate; AND

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS: In addition to the Basic Requirements listed above, you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-14 level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is defined as:

  • Experience leading the development, delivery or integration of highly complex digital products or services;
  • Experience applying leading industry practices in the design, development and delivery of digital products or services. This experience may include experimentation based frameworks, iterative development methodologies, user-centered design, planning tools or continuous delivery methodologies;
  • Experience crafting or creating product vision, strategy or road maps;
  • Experience working with cross-functional teams.

Qualification determinations cannot be made when resumes do not include the required information, so failure to provide this information may result in disqualification.

For each job on your resume, provide:

  • the exact dates you held each job (from month/year to month/year or “present”)
  • number of hours per week you worked (if part time)

How To Apply

We’re sorry, this job has closed.

Sours: https://join.tts.gsa.gov/join/product-manager/
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About this guide

18F product managers lead cross-functional teams of researchers, designers, and engineers to help government agencies develop a product vision, craft a product strategy, and successfully deliver software using user-centered and agile approaches.

The 18F Product Guide is primarily written for consulting product managers at 18F, offering resources for product management best practices across multiple phases and types of consulting work. This guide also communicates what a team might expect from a product manager. As such, we hope it will be a useful reference for anyone new to product management in government or new to working with a product manager.

How to use this guide

As a product manager at 18F, you may find yourself in a partner-facing consulting role to help a government agency build or buy a mission-critical product. As we work across the entire federal government and can now support state and local governments, you may encounter subject matter that is entirely new to you. Or, you may be working on one of TTS’ flagship products, like Federalist, cloud.gov or login.gov.

In all cases, you will develop and steward a product vision and strategy, and drive a cross-functional team to deliver the right product to the right audience. This involves different activities and priorities at different phases of the work. Whether you’re in discovery or implementation mode, you are creating the space and opportunity for your team to deliver on intended outcomes, rooted in empathy and evidence, that benefit members of the public and the government employees who serve them.

We created this guide for your reference. It’s here for a refresher on writing compelling vision statements, or for quick access to roadmap templates, skill building workshops, presentations, etc. You’re also welcome to read it from start to finish, of course.

This guide is divided into 4 sections:

  • Discover the current state describes key elements of our discovery work, where we seek to understand users and their needs, stakeholders and their priorities, their technical landscape and requirements, and their regulatory landscape and obligations so that we can help our partners make informed decisions about the path forward.

  • Define the future state describes our processes for translating discovery to implementation by defining the problem we’re solving, creating an aspirational vision for the future, developing a strategy to achieve those outcomes, and crafting a roadmap to get there. This strategic work, focused on goals rather than a specific destination, is essential for ensuring the success of government technology projects in environments where people, priorities, and policies regularly shift.

  • Deliver the “right” way describes how we build products iteratively following agile principles, collaborate and communicate transparently, and measure success as we go so that we can reduce risk and uncertainty, adjust or pivot as we learn, and develop solutions with impact.

  • Enable partners describes our unique approach to ensuring our agency partners build or buy sustainably and to creating a culture of long-term, government-led product ownership so that they can maintain their digital products after we leave. This is accomplished through helping our partners develop product leadership capacity, coaching on product ownership, preparing them to manage an agile vendor, and planning from the beginning for that transition so that partner agencies can successfully practice product ownership in government on their own.

This guide and our approach to product management are informed by several frameworks that years of experience have shown to be effective in driving low-risk, successful technology projects in government:

If you have any suggestions for improving this guide or want to get involved, read our contributing page; find us on Slack in #product; or create an issue in GitHub.

Reusing this guide in other organizations

As a work of the federal government, this project is in the public domain within the United States. Additionally, we waive copyright and related rights in the work worldwide through the CC0 1.0 Universal public domain dedication.

This guide is written for internal use and is shared in the spirit of open source. We encourage you to make a copy of this guide and adapt it to your organizational needs. This guide is just that: a guide. It’s not meant to provide the final opinion on any of the topics discussed. If a certain section isn’t relevant to you and your team, delete it. And if you feel the guide is missing a section, by all means, add it. This guide is yours to use, and we trust you’ll update it in the ways that best suit you.

Sours: https://product-guide.18f.gov/
Hillary Hartley, Intro to USDS and 18F, LSC15

Continuous learning for product managers

As product managers (PM), we never stop learning because products never stop evolving and changing. When you join a new team or product, you need to quickly get up to speed on the product’s technical implementation, design, user research, and business needs. But how do you do that, especially if you’re short on time or the product is technically complex? How do you focus your learning so that you can be an effective PM for the team?

This blog post is based on my experience as the new cloud.gov product manager after having worked as a PM with 18F for two years and more than 10 years in the private sector. As I reflect on my journey with cloud.gov, three factors have been instrumental in building my knowledge: having a learning mindset, prioritizing what is critical to know, and pairing with your teammates.

Embrace a learning mindset

It can be intimidating to learn a new product, especially if it’s using a technology or providing a service outside your existing expertise. There is the added pressure to get up to speed as quickly as possible so that you can contribute effectively.

However, it can be less intimidating by approaching the situation as an opportunity to learn—when faced with something you don’t understand, rather than beat yourself up for not knowing the answer, look at it as the chance to learn something new. The learning never stops as you deepen your knowledge, you uncover new areas to explore which will keep you nimble and responsive.

Prioritize what you need to know

When I started with cloud.gov, my only experience with the product was as an end user through my work with the Federal Election Commission, which used cloud.gov to host their website, fec.gov. When I joined the cloud.gov team, I had to start learning about the platform. As a PM, my goal was to understand the technology well enough that I could prioritize and have discussions with our engineers. It was not practical for me to build the same depth of technical knowledge as the engineers but I needed to understand enough of how the parts work together so that I could build a roadmap and collaborate with the team.

I concentrated on the key services and platforms used by cloud.gov - Concourse, BOSH, Cloud Foundry, and Kubernetes. The learning materials I found to be the most helpful were case studies of companies that migrated to Cloud Foundry. I looked for patterns in the stories the team was working on and on bugs uncovered by us and our customers.

Pair to facilitate learning

Many of the materials (videos, blog posts) I was reading and studying were written for a highly technical audience. And it was difficult to know which sources were trusted authorities and experts on the topics. So I reached out to one of our engineers and asked if we could pair. We started by going through my list of questions (terms, services, why one service rather than another) and discussing the context of why these things matter and how they work together. We met two or three times a week, usually for 30 - 45 minute sessions. The sessions were kept short to maximize learning capacity and to not take away from our day to day responsibilities. We continue to pair about once a week. As I’ve learned more, our sessions have evolved to focus on relationships between platforms, the importance of practices and processes, and what cloud.gov means for product managers.


Whether you are new to product management or are a seasoned PM, continuous learning is part of the job. Products evolve so our knowledge must evolve with it. When in doubt, ask yourself, “What can I do or learn so that I’m the best product manager for this team?” Remain open to learning, prioritize, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and pair with your colleagues.

Sours: https://18f.gsa.gov/2020/03/24/continuous-learning-for-product-managers/

Product manager 18f

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Product Owner Vs Product Manager - Product Management - Invensis Learning

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