Q&A: How do I make myself more suitable for a senior product role in UK government?

Here’s a question I’ve been asked recently:

Hi Jock,

I’d appreciate your advice on working for the GDS and different ministries. I have recently applied for senior positions (Deputy Director and Head of Product) at GDS and another UK government department.

On both occasions I was told that while I had the skills, my previous products had not been used by the millions of users, rather the hundreds of thousands, and therefore I was not considered the right person for the role.

This seems unusual given that building for 6 figure as oppose to 7 figure usage would not make that much difference in my opinion.

Could you recommend anything I could do to improve my suitability for next time a role like that comes available?

Many thanks,

D

Read on for my reply.

Continue reading

Q&A: How on earth am I going to start managing a second product?

Hi Jock,

I’ve been happily looking after my product (buying and selling cars online) for the last couple of years. I still think product management is a complete mystery to me, but my boss thinks I’m doing fine. In fact, at the end of this week she will be announcing internally that I will be product managing a second product, which will put me across the entire post-login customer journey!

I am freaking out about how on earth I’m going to do this. Any words of advice?

Yours,

K

Continue reading

Q&A: Getting into product management

This is an interview I did a little while ago with a user experience author living on the US East Coast. She was interested in moving into freelance product management.

We cover:

  • how to move into product management;
  • differences between working in the private and public sectors;
  • KPIs and financial modelling; and
  • the pleasures and pains of being a product manager.

Continue reading

Q&A: what’s the one thing retailers are doing wrong in ecommerce?

Another question:

When it comes to the ecommerce checkout process, what’s one thing that retailers are doing wrong? What’s one thing they’re doing right?

 

From a product manager’s perspective, there’s no one thing everyone gets wrong – it depends entirely on the circumstances.

This is why context and understanding of user needs are so important. Figure out what people need – their goals, frustrations, distractions… everything – then figure out how well your ecommerce capability meets those needs. Improve, then rinse and repeat.

And don’t forget Marty Cagan’s observation that “people don’t know what they need until after they’ve seen it”.

Read the other 20 opinions over on whatusersdo.com.

Q&A: what sources of information should people use to build products?

Here’s a question I was asked recently:

What sources of information do you suggest folks building their product plans today rely on, so that they can get the evidence they need to build the product that will meet the needs of end users?

Read on for my answer:

Continue reading

Q&A: what kinds of questions should I be asking in discovery?

I was recently asked this question:

During the problem exploration phase, what kind of questions should I be asking and how do I go from 1000 problems to the core problems that will unlock the solution?

Read on for my answer:

Continue reading

Q&A: how closely aligned should product organisations be with marketing and personas?

Here’s another question I was asked recently:

If you’re concerned about buyer needs and their objectives, how closely aligned do you suggest product organisations should be with marketing and with the persona development to ensure they are creating a solution that does meet those needs in the market?

Read on for my answer:

Continue reading