This is my first weeknote.
Hello! I’m Tobi, Product Manager on GOV.UK. The last week (ending 16/08/2019) has been an interesting one. I started managing a new product so I thought why not start writing weeknotes now? no better time than a new beginning eh?
I started working on the publishing tool for step by steps on Monday. Let me give you a bit of history — before moving to step by steps, I was working on content publisher, the new publishing tool for departments to publish on GOV.UK. Both products are publishing tools but the landscape and users are completely different.
Honestly, it was a bit of a manic week. I had lots of conversations to understand the context of step by steps publishing which covered its history, the goals for this quarter, the user groups, the current backlog, the current priorities and why they were priority. Here are my highlights for the week.
We understand the context and defined the ideal step by steps review workflow
The review workflow was the current priority for good reason — There was no workflow for reviewing within the tool and there was no clear process to let reviewers know a step by step was ready for review. This resulted in a lot of ad-hoc communication and sometimes delays in how quickly a step by step can be published. Considering the frequency of reviews, this is high priority.
Since half of the team members are new like me, I organised a kick off to better understand the context and needs for the 2i Review workflow so we can scope it properly. Kick offs are a technique that I have used successfully in previous teams to help the team get a shared understanding of an epic or problem area. Usually I (or anybody else with the information) pull together everything we know, share with the team to review and comment, then have a meeting to confirm what we already know about the problem is true (users, needs, current processes etc), identify what we don’t know (questions, considerations etc), make the key decisions we need and determine next steps. The goal is to be able to make key decisions at the end if there’s enough information to or determine how to get the information needed to make those decisions if there isn’t.
At the end of this one, we were able to define what the ideal review workflow should look like and identify options to let reviewers know a step by step is ready for review. Our next step is to design and implement the review workflow then determine the most appropriate option for letting reviewers know it’s ready for review.
We reviewed and identified improvements to the workflow for drafting step by steps
We ran usability sessions with the users to see how intuitive the workflow was and to identify key pain points. This was very enlightening and helped identify some new stories for the backlog. I think it was only possible at such short notice because some users are part of the team. That’s always a blessing.
Also since content publisher design patterns were well researched and all built with the design systems, we identified common patterns with Content Publisher that can be applied so the step by steps publisher is more consistent and accessible. This saves us time since those patterns are well researched. Our next step is to prioritise these improvements and implement them
I talked to the creative team about being a Product manager
I volunteered to speak to the creative team about being a product manager as part of a new DDaT campaign, I was a little nervous as I was asked not to prepare anything but it turns out I didn’t have to be. It was just a friendly chat talking about the role, how I got into product management, what I liked about product management. I’ll share the campaign when it’s out.
I co-facilitated the introduction to product management course
I co-facilitated the introduction to product management course for people who are interested in learning about product management. I took the sections about the product vision and setting priorities. There were 12 people in attendance and I t was a very interactive course. I enjoyed the opportunity to do this and will be looking for more opportunities like this in the near future.
This is my second time doing something like this, I’ve previously run a product management workshop for a startup and both times I’ve been told I’m really good at it.
Being on a new product was a pretty sudden change so it was a really intense week but we achieved so much and I’m very excited to see how the next few weeks will unfold.roduct management
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport — I’m half way through this book and I’ve found it so insightful and practical. I’ll be implementing some of his strategies to leverage deep work (working in a state of distraction free concentration) in my life.