DRAFT: OpenOakland Product Selection
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DRAFT: OpenOakland Product Selection



Code for America Brigade volunteers consider thousands of projects for local civic engagement and innovation apps; we build only a handful in each city. How can we choose better? A little intention ...

Code for America Brigade volunteers consider thousands of projects for local civic engagement and innovation apps; we build only a handful in each city. How can we choose better? A little intention could dramatically improve the quality of our project portfolios. I propose we score proposals across four dimensions:

- The value our products will produce. (More users, more usage, building capacity, leaving infrastructure behind)
- Risks of the journey (taking the right level of risks around customer clarity, effort & cost, tech difficulty, political risk)
- Alignment with our values
- Stakeholders engaged and affected



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DRAFT: OpenOakland Product Selection DRAFT: OpenOakland Product Selection Presentation Transcript

  • Which projects are worthy? A few thoughts on product portfolio management for Code for America brigades Phil Wolff Product Manager OpenOakland 配称  #prodmgmt #productmanagement #openoakland #pmo #productportfolio #planning #strategy #cfa #codeforamerica #cfabrigade @EVANWOLF
  • Four legs for selection “How would you score prospective projects for your brigade?” @EVANWOLF
  • We talk about four factors Value our product makes Risks of the journey Alignment with our values Stakeholders engaged and affected @EVANWOLF
  • We were opportunistic at the start OpenOakland released five apps in our first 18 months. •  Relationship builders: OO + City of Oakland •  Low risk: Low difficulty, Low effort. •  Low value: Low impact, Symbolic usage @EVANWOLF
  • High Value: •  Impact •  Users •  Usage •  Capacity •  Infrastructure Value Risk: •  Customer Clarity •  Effort & Cost •  Tech Difficulty •  Political Risk Low Low Risk High @EVANWOLF
  • High Value Project Name Low Low Risk High @EVANWOLF
  • We are not here to augment the City’s IT budget. Volunteers can’t make a dent in the City’s technology debt. @EVANWOLF
  • What can we do with the handful of projects we can do each year? @EVANWOLF
  • We can choose projects that matter more. @EVANWOLF
  • Value @EVANWOLF
  • We build to create value Our apps and services create various flavors of value @EVANWOLF
  • Impact How are we changing someone’s life? •  Access to Services •  Convenience •  Insight & Understanding •  Engagement and Action •  Social, Political, Economic Capital @EVANWOLF
  • Impact How much impact? •  Low •  Saving five minutes •  Access to information •  High •  Saving a life •  Reducing homelessness @EVANWOLF
  • Users How many people can this product serve? Some projects serve more people than others. How big is the potential “market”? @EVANWOLF
  • Usage How much is the service used? How many times? How long each time? @EVANWOLF
  • Capacity How will this project increase the Brigade’s capabilities? •  Will the experience leave us with new technologies we can use on future projects? •  Relationships to build on? •  Volunteers with deeper skills? @EVANWOLF
  • Infrastructure Are we adding to the commons? Will this project leave knowledge, systems, and tools that others can build on? @EVANWOLF
  • •  Impact •  Users •  Usage •  Capacity •  Infrastructu re Value @EVANWOLF
  • Risk @EVANWOLF
  • We pick projects that balance risk, effort, and reward We assess and manage project risk @EVANWOLF
  • We pick projects that where we can manage the risk Some risks can’t be managed @EVANWOLF
  • We pick projects with risks right for the team We assess and manage project risk @EVANWOLF
  • Customer Clarity Do we understand who we’re creating value for? Can we quickly learn their needs deeply enough to make good decisions @EVANWOLF
  • Stakeholder engagement Naming the persons carrying the torch for the customers drives success Finding our “Executive support”, “Citizen champion”, or “Issue advocate” can be the difference in building the right things for the right people in the right way with the best resources. Or not. @EVANWOLF
  • Effort & Cost Projects are always resource constrained. Is there enough of the right volunteer time, open data, technology, and capital to deliver? @EVANWOLF
  • Tech Difficulty Too easy or too hard for the available talent? Can we make up for gaps with recruiting? Are there process challenges that could disrupt the product lifecycle? @EVANWOLF
  • Political Risk Could this “utility” app become a political football? What enemies could this attract? Do we have the capacity to engage in that type of struggle? Will this affect other CfA Brigades if we undertake this project? @EVANWOLF
  • Alignment Risk Is this consistent with the Brigade’s core values? What is the potential for misuse, for drifting from our values, along the development cycle? Once released? @EVANWOLF
  • Risk •  Customer cla rity •  Stakeholder engagement •  Effort & Cos t •  Tech Difficult y •  Political Risk •  Alignment Ris k @EVANWOLF
  • We want our efforts well aligned with our culture We hold some truths dearly @EVANWOLF
  • Well aligned with our culture Open Culture Open Source Open Data Creative Commons Free (as in freedom) Internet @EVANWOLF
  • Well aligned with our culture Government that works well for its people Effective Efficient Responsive Strategic @EVANWOLF
  • Well aligned with our culture Pluralism Civic Engagement Inclusion Diversity @EVANWOLF
  • •  Open Culture •  Government t hat works well fo r its people •  Pluralism ALIGNMENT @EVANWOLF
  • Products build relationships Our projects affect people. We choose products for their direct benefits on Oaklanders Who benefits from our products? Who is harmed or put at risk? @EVANWOLF
  • Brigade Volunteers How will working on this product benefit the participants? Will they learn new product-related skills, knowledge, awareness? Will they be satisfied by the journey as much as the destination? @EVANWOLF
  • Beneficiaries Who benefits directly from this product? Are we serving them now with other products? How will our serving them this way affect the services they receive from others? What is the potential for harm through our actions? @EVANWOLF
  • Interest Groups What interest groups could be engaged to make this product better? To find users and drive usage? What groups or organizations might oppose or support this product? @EVANWOLF
  • Data Providers Will this project improve the range, quality, and depth of open data from the City? Will it build trust with those providers? @EVANWOLF
  • City Staff How will this project help the City’s workforce better engage their publics? Can this project build support for openness and transparency among City workers? @EVANWOLF
  • Elected Officials How will this product help elected officials like council members and the mayor be more accountable, effective, and engaged? @EVANWOLF
  • City Commissions & Commissioners How will this product help elected officials like council members and the mayor be more accountable, effective, and engaged? @EVANWOLF
  • Code for America Is this project consistent with Code for America’s principles and values? Will this reflect well on the CfA Brigade program? @EVANWOLF
  • •  Volunteers •  Beneficiaries •  Interest Groups •  Data provider s •  City Staff •  Electeds •  Commissions •  Code for America STAKEHOLDERS @EVANWOLF
  • Value, risk, alignment, stakeholders Value Risk Alignment Stakeholders Impact Customer Clarity Open Culture Volunteers Government that works well for its people Beneficiaries Users Usage Capacity Infrastructure Stakeholder Engagement Effort & Cost Tech Difficulty Pluralism Interest Groups Data providers Political Risk City Staff Alignment Risk Electeds Commissions Code for America @EVANWOLF
  • Project portfolio processes •  Ideation activities •  attracting proposals we find attractive •  Screening process •  Formal approval •  Ongoing portfolio management •  Including abandonment and retirement @EVANWOLF
  • Intentionality We create more value, together, by choosing how we invest our time and build our relationships @EVANWOLF
  • Phil Wolff Hi! Email or tweet your stories, suggestions, referrals or just call/skype e skype v t phil@LetMyDataGo.org evanwolf +1-510-343-5664 @evanwolf @letmydatago bio cv blog About.me/evanwolf Linkedin.com/in/philwolff Letmydatago.org Phil Wolff is a consulting product manager in Oakland, California. Phil co-founded four startups, worked as a programmer, project manager, business analyst, technology architect, industry analyst, operations researcher, and tech journalist at Bechtel National, Wang Labs, LSI Logic, Adecco SA, NavSup, and privacy NGOs. He volunteers in Code for America’s #OpenOakland brigade. @EVANWOLF