Building a product

You will be working on distributed teams comprised of designers, engineers, researchers, policy experts, contracting experts and, frequently, agency partners. You are tasked with ‘leading from within’ (you are a member of the team and everyone is on equal footing)—you must provide direction to the team so that they are focused on the right priorities and feel empowered and excited to build the right solution. The vision and strategy will set initial direction and give the team a north star, and you will help lead the team to deliver in that direction.

Below are some outcomes 18F product managers drive when building a product:

  • Identify the Minimally Viable Product (MVP) from the roadmap with a focus on “must haves,” or non-negotiable functionality that will deliver a high value to end users
  • Break the initial MVP into small, prioritized features that deliver value to the end user
  • Tie the features back to the user value and write them from the perspective of an end user
  • Give actionable acceptance criteria to user stories and make sure they meet the INVEST standard prior to beginning the work
  • Refer to data and research when making prioritization decisions
  • Evaluate key risks, assumptions, constraints, and dependencies, and have a mitigation plan in place for significant risks
  • Triage, prioritize, and estimate the work (eg. stories, defects, tasks) with the PO
  • Evaluate user stories to make sure they meet acceptance criteria
  • Use authorized tools/platforms (via FedRAMP, when possible) to support desired build methodology and get an ATO if necessary
  • Test features with real users to ensure their needs are met