This week, my team hit the ground running - Monday morning started with the co-creation format we run as part of the digital-ready policy product I work on. Every two weeks we gather stakeholders from a range of ministries to share, discuss, test, and iterate ideas. The goal of the format is to create buy-in while likewise collecting feedback from different policy areas. Things that worked nicely were showing the thing instead of talking about it (we structured the session along a prototype). We combined this with ruthless timeboxing by using a always-present time-timer on a screen in the room. Put together this enabled us to collect valuable insights and made everyone’s answers brief and precise - the perfect ground for our next prototype iteration.
Tuesday was throughout a super exciting day! Starting with a celebration breakfast for reaching the milestone of 100 employees at the DigitalService 🥳. It was amazing to feel the energy, excitement and spirit in the room with many people present.
I continued the day meeting with the Danish Agency for Digital Government for an exchange about digital-ready policy. Denmark is somewhat “poster child” when it comes to creating the prerequisites for digital-ready policy. We left the meeting assured that we are heading in the right direction and inspired by a bunch of ideas and learnings. An especially proud moment for our team was the follow-up e-mail later this week, complimenting us on creating such a distinct definition of digital-ready policy and clear structure on why principles are important to create a common language throughout the administration (I hope I can share both soon).
On Tuesday afternoon we continued the role and responsibilities workstream. Moderated by a colleague, this time only the new project lead and myself discussed our responsibilities. Luckily we both had already a somewhat shared understanding as in the preparation for the meeting we build similar clusters of tasks. Moving forward I will be accountable for the development of our “product” while he will own the communication, stakeholder, and project management areas. We agreed to continuously reflect on this set-up and already have set up a dedicated meeting in about a month. I already sense the benefits of having more headspace as I do not have to coordinate the stakeholder interactions anymore.
The rest of the week was structured around collaborative working sessions with our governmental counterparts. What is worth a share?
- together with our team’s service designer, I structured a kickoff for the “learning and evaluation” part of our product in three parts. The session was super hands-on and mainly paper-based:
- The first slot was structured around the “what do we want to learn” question
- The second slot focused on quickly sketching graphs and dashboards that would allow us to answer the first question (through two iterations)
- In the third slot we asked everyon in the room what data sources we need to create or tap into to be able to create the visualization of step 2
After only 60 minutes we had validated our previous ideas, got a set of new ones, and already had first insights into where we maybe find some of the data needed.
- On Thursday I spent some focus-time crafting a story for a presentation our project partner is giving in the upcoming week. Since quite some time I made it a habit to completly write the story the presentation should tell before crafting a single slide. It was great to see that this helped to communicate and discuss the presentation later that day with the team. Now I am looking forward to see how the presentation will be delivered next week and since I am not the one on stage I am even more excited (and also frightened) to see if I did an okay job on writing for other people!
- On Friday we had a meeting where the discussion was lacking depth - to refocus it I spontaneously copied some prototypes on the Miro board we were operating on. It worked and we finished the meeting with a clear path forward. Reminded me about that the Kelly brothers wrote about that: “Never go to a meeting without one (prototyp)” (Creative Confidence).
- In my perception we struggled greatly focusing our product ideas for the first version. By focusing I mean also agreeing on what it will not be able to do yet. Last week we started calling this version a minimal viable product, which miraculously helped us in focusing.
- A couple of weeks back I asked a colleague if she could moderate a retro for our team - she responded with excitement and the urge to create “hypothesis how this will work in the set-up” - I took that as inspiration to enter more meetings with a hypothesis that I want to test, so far it is fun and even helps in the meeting preparation.
- Thinking about how to continuously evaluate our “product”.
Left me with puzzles?
- Working in government we (as our broader team including our governmental counterparts) need to navigate many procedures and hierarchies. It often leaves me puzzled as there are so many problems that we need to tackle simultaneously. Often this takes time away from “product” building but creating more pressure to be even faster at this… I know its part of the sector I chose to work in, still it sometimes leaves me speechless.
- While discussing my role as a product manager in my current “product” setting in my development 1:1 I was left with the question what I want to focus on for the upcoming quarter. It’s a good one that somewhat got lost in the craziness of everyday work - need to do more deep thinking about it.