Happy Tobi

Weeknotes: I got the job!

tobiogunsina Product management, weeknotes Leave a Comment

I only worked 3 days this week so it was a short week. Short and good! 

Last month, I interviewed for a senior product manager role at GDS and on Tuesday, I found out I got the job! I was so excited, I don’t think I properly calmed down till the next day, I even posted videos of myself dancing on social media. This was a key goal for me in 2020 so I’m very excited. 

I have it on good authority that my interview was ace too – I was so nervous after, reviewing everything I said, wondering if the smiles on their faces were anything to go by or just politeness. Ha, I was worried for nothing! This feels good and right.

Apart from the job, it was a good week at work too and here are the highlights:

What went well

6 weeks ago, I started managing 2 products, spending approximately 50% on each one, which was a lot of work and context switching but it was fine. After a while, it became clear that the scope of the work needed on accessibility was huge especially since we have a September deadline to meet the accessibility requirement for public sector bodies

Also, replatforming was at a pivotal stage in the discovery, with clear recommendations for a migration approach and a platform choice, we needed to pull together everything we’ve learnt, share with stakeholders and start thinking about the first phase of implementation. 

It became hard to manage both products with the focus they deserve so I had a conversation with our lead product manager about it. We agreed it’s best I focus on accessibility for now while he takes over product management for replatforming until we work out a long term plan. We had that conversation with the team together. 

While it’s not the best of times, I think this change was very much needed and everyone was very understanding because they know doing both was no mean feat. I ran planning for the next sprint and my watch on replatforming ended…for now. 

On the accessibility team, we finally got a different legal advice that was more in tune with our initial assumptions about the regulations and how it applies to GOV.UK and Government Digital Service. This reduced the burden on the team and increased our confidence about being able to do all we need to do in time for the deadline. 

This came as a result of some pushback from content leads and additional conversations with lawyers about context. It’s an important lesson for me in communication: not assuming shared context and pushing back when needed. 

We also had some much needed kickoff sessions to explore accessibility problems related Image descriptions and Table headers and the best way to approach them. This is the first time I’ve run this type of session with the accessibility team and unfortunately they were impromptu – Both problems seemed quite small and easy to deal with at first but we hit some road bumps and it quickly became clear that shared understanding was lacking. 

Running the sessions was great because we now have shared understanding and a clearer plan to deal with the problems. 

What could be better

While the sessions were fine, being impromptu meant everyone didn’t have a good chance to review the kick off notes before the meeting. Also, the mixed level of context and being the first time running it with this group meant we had some teething issues with interruptions and jumping ahead to solutions but we worked it out by the second session. 

In other news

Kevin and I had a session with a team from HMRC who are doing some work to rebuild their Intranet. They found out about Content Publisher, loved that it was accessible and wanted to see a demo, talk about the design/technical decisions we made and see if they might be able to reuse it. 

I really enjoyed talking about and doing a demo of Content Publisher again because I am incredibly proud of managing that product and the team I worked with. It is a complementary part of GOV.UK publishing architecture so we talked about learning from key decisions we made, our design principles and reusing some components/workflows.

The pilot for the introduction to product management course on futurelearn started this week. So far the learners are pretty engaged and seem to be finding the course helpful. My favourite comment so far is “Before this, I genuinely believed nobody in the world could explain the difference between a vision and a strategy in a way that wasn’t jargony nonsense. Thank you!”

See? It was a very good week!

Thank you for reading.