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Collaborate and communicate

When building and shipping, it’s important to balance the input coming from the various subject matter experts on your team. Your teammates need to be heard, and you need their expertise. You will balance their voices and use that perspective to find a path that minimizes technical and design debt. When you have a clear idea how to proceed, make sure the team understands why. If there are gray areas, embrace them and leverage the team’s expertise to get through them. The team should always know where they are going and understand why any trade-offs are being made. You should not hide trade-offs or tough decisions from your teammates, even when there is no direct action for them to take.

Below are some outcomes 18F product managers drive in this area:

  • The team and stakeholders understand the iterative, incremental, and user-centric approach
  • The team understands and has documented “Definition of Done” for working together and building functionality
  • The team has a shared understanding of high quality work (using design principles, accessibility standards, etc.) and holds the work to these standards
  • Define, document, and validate practices—including unit tests, integration tests, and functional tests—at every sprint
  • Establish and schedule core ceremonies/meetings and make sure the team understands the value of such meetings
  • Make sure the code that’s destined for production is sustainably-paced and not accumulating technical debt
  • The team has a shared understanding of where, when, and how to communicate with each other
  • The project team understands the state of the project at all times
  • Key stakeholders understand the state of the project at all times
  • Key stakeholders know how they can contribute to the project as well as how to effectively give feedback to the project team
  • Regularly reflect/retro on what’s working well and how the team can improve
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18F Product Guide is a product of GSA’s Technology Transformation Services, and is managed by 18F.

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