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The strength of Product People in Government

For those that don’t know me I’m Zoe, proud mum, avid geek and currently the Head of Product at the Department for Works and Pensions.

At the start of this year, we in the DWP worked with the Goverment Digital Service to host the first ever cross-government Product Management conference.

Why? Because we wanted to bring together all the Product Managers and Owners currently working within government to celebrate our achievements, grow our community, and look at what more we could all do to keep driving our work, our profession and us as individuals forwards.

The event was, I believe, a massive success, we had speakers and representatives from a wide variety of departments, the community nominated to topics that it wanted to discuss and we all got a chance to network and share stories. I got a lot out of the day, not only professionaly, but personally. But, that event was never designed as a one-off, and the main thing I and many others took from the event, was what more can we do?

So what have we done since then?

Well, we’ve expanded the Product People community dramatically, we’ve grown the network outside of London, and started having regular gatherings of Product People in the North.

We’ve got the Product Management career pathway into Beta and being used by most departments within government. A handful of the Heads of Product are now getting together regularly to share news and updatesand we’re using this group to share recruitment plans, job or secondment opportunities, training and development ideas, for example.So we’re building consistency and collaboration to benefit all those working in the profession within government.

We’ve continued to work with the Digital Academy to deliver the Product Owners working level course across government, and started development on the first Product Management masterclasses, that will begin role out shortly.

We’re starting to offer cross-government mentoring opportunities for Product Managers, and building those networks between departments, allowing us all to workmore closely and learn from each other.

Many government departments are now recruiting for Product Owners and Product Managers up and down the country at various levels. This gives us all a great opportunity to grow our community and keep building the user-centred culture we need in order to solve the right problems and deliver the right things.

Product Management is a very exciting place to be right now, and planning for the next conference is now underway, with HMRC taking the lead this time, and I for one can’t wait to see all we’ve delivered in the last 6 six months together.

You can read more here about what our Product Owners in DWP do, and what we’ve been doing to build our community:  https://dwpdigital.blog.gov.uk/?s=Product