Tips for being a lead assessor for a service standard assessment

Of the assessment panel roles, the role of lead assessor for a government service standard assessment is both the most daunting (any difficult questions, everyone looks straight at you) and the least obvious (to be the design assessor, it helps to be a designer; to be a lead assessor, it helps to, um, know a lot about government services).  Somewhere back in the mists of …

A governance parable

A governance parable

[Scene: An angry civil servant from a government department confronts me, a civil servant working for GDS.] “It’s ridiculous. The service standard is just an excuse for external organisations to make money out of government. You [pointing at me] should be ashamed of this.” “What’s the problem?” “This is the problem. Every team has to have all of these people in it [brandishes print-out]. You …

Five things to remember about changing service provision to respond to lockdown

It’s easy to rush into changing a service to meet the demands of a post-COVID 19 world in lockdown but it’s worth pausing before making changes. Failing to consider users risks wasting resource by providing a service that won’t be used because it’s not accessible. Even worse, it could mean that we unknowingly increase the isolation or exclusion of our most vulnerable users by introducing …

Product managing beyond products

My manager had asked to talk to me. The conversation we had was one of those conversations that you dream about as a product manager. When I say “dream”, I mean wake up early in the morning wondering what on earth you’ve let yourself in for. She started with  “you’re not doing much at the moment are you, Matt?” and then swiftly followed up with …

question mark

Right question, wrong answer: agile stakeholder management

You are part of a successful multi-disciplinary team working in a user centered and iterative way. A stakeholder – not a user – in the service your team manages gets in touch with feedback. What’s your first reaction? It’s probably to tell them to go away. This reaction may be even more vigorously expressed when the feedback betrays a lack of understanding about how your …

delorean

10 things to remember when preparing for a service standard assessment

The last couple of times I’ve prepared teams for service standard assessments, I’ve put together a presentation to help explain the process. This has covered the background to the service standard and the main areas that I’ve seen cause confusion or problems. I don’t intend to cover the background here [1] but I thought I’d list the areas that can cause issues, in case that’s …

narrow walls

The value of user needs

Prologue A meeting room in a UK government department. Being discussed is the integration of a vendor’s system into the digital service managed by the various people on the other side of the room. A number of questions are raised about the approach to the integration and the user experience of the service once the new flow is included. The head of the vendor team …

Into the great wide open

Have you ever jumped off – or even out of – something that existed rather higher up that you’d have liked? I once got to climb to the top of a telegraph pole, stand on top of it and then jump to catch a trapeze swing suspended above and a little way away from it. This experience came with two negative aspects. The first of …

What a product person is, and what they are not

A product person [1] is… The Digital, Data and Technology Profession role description for a Product Manager is: A product manager is responsible for the quality of their products. They use their knowledge of user needs and business goals to frame problems and set priorities for their delivery teams. Product managers: form the vision for their product and engage their teams and stakeholders in the …

people chatting at party

What does a product person do?

If you’ve ever worked as a product person [1] then you’ll have had the experience of a family member, or someone at a party, asking you what you do. Unless you’re more articulate than me, there will be some awkwardness whilst your mouth opens and closes and you try and fail to explain what you do. Sometimes this will be followed by your audience saying …