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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, or

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:

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.