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DRAFT: OpenOakland Product Selection


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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

  1. 1. 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
  2. 2. Four legs for selection “How would you score prospective projects for your brigade?” @EVANWOLF
  3. 3. We talk about four factors Value our product makes Risks of the journey Alignment with our values Stakeholders engaged and affected @EVANWOLF
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. High Value: •  Impact •  Users •  Usage •  Capacity •  Infrastructure Value Risk: •  Customer Clarity •  Effort & Cost •  Tech Difficulty •  Political Risk Low Low Risk High @EVANWOLF
  6. 6. High Value Project Name Low Low Risk High @EVANWOLF
  7. 7. We are not here to augment the City’s IT budget. Volunteers can’t make a dent in the City’s technology debt. @EVANWOLF
  8. 8. What can we do with the handful of projects we can do each year? @EVANWOLF
  9. 9. We can choose projects that matter more. @EVANWOLF
  10. 10. Value @EVANWOLF
  11. 11. We build to create value Our apps and services create various flavors of value @EVANWOLF
  12. 12. Impact How are we changing someone’s life? •  Access to Services •  Convenience •  Insight & Understanding •  Engagement and Action •  Social, Political, Economic Capital @EVANWOLF
  13. 13. Impact How much impact? •  Low •  Saving five minutes •  Access to information •  High •  Saving a life •  Reducing homelessness @EVANWOLF
  14. 14. Users How many people can this product serve? Some projects serve more people than others. How big is the potential “market”? @EVANWOLF
  15. 15. Usage How much is the service used? How many times? How long each time? @EVANWOLF
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. Infrastructure Are we adding to the commons? Will this project leave knowledge, systems, and tools that others can build on? @EVANWOLF
  18. 18. •  Impact •  Users •  Usage •  Capacity •  Infrastructu re Value @EVANWOLF
  19. 19. Risk @EVANWOLF
  20. 20. We pick projects that balance risk, effort, and reward We assess and manage project risk @EVANWOLF
  21. 21. We pick projects that where we can manage the risk Some risks can’t be managed @EVANWOLF
  22. 22. We pick projects with risks right for the team We assess and manage project risk @EVANWOLF
  23. 23. Customer Clarity Do we understand who we’re creating value for? Can we quickly learn their needs deeply enough to make good decisions @EVANWOLF
  24. 24. 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
  25. 25. Effort & Cost Projects are always resource constrained. Is there enough of the right volunteer time, open data, technology, and capital to deliver? @EVANWOLF
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. 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
  29. 29. Risk •  Customer cla rity •  Stakeholder engagement •  Effort & Cos t •  Tech Difficult y •  Political Risk •  Alignment Ris k @EVANWOLF
  31. 31. We want our efforts well aligned with our culture We hold some truths dearly @EVANWOLF
  32. 32. Well aligned with our culture Open Culture Open Source Open Data Creative Commons Free (as in freedom) Internet @EVANWOLF
  33. 33. Well aligned with our culture Government that works well for its people Effective Efficient Responsive Strategic @EVANWOLF
  34. 34. Well aligned with our culture Pluralism Civic Engagement Inclusion Diversity @EVANWOLF
  35. 35. •  Open Culture •  Government t hat works well fo r its people •  Pluralism ALIGNMENT @EVANWOLF
  37. 37. 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
  38. 38. 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
  39. 39. 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
  40. 40. 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
  41. 41. 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
  42. 42. 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
  43. 43. Elected Officials How will this product help elected officials like council members and the mayor be more accountable, effective, and engaged? @EVANWOLF
  44. 44. City Commissions & Commissioners How will this product help elected officials like council members and the mayor be more accountable, effective, and engaged? @EVANWOLF
  45. 45. 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
  46. 46. •  Volunteers •  Beneficiaries •  Interest Groups •  Data provider s •  City Staff •  Electeds •  Commissions •  Code for America STAKEHOLDERS @EVANWOLF
  47. 47. 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
  49. 49. Project portfolio processes •  Ideation activities •  attracting proposals we find attractive •  Screening process •  Formal approval •  Ongoing portfolio management •  Including abandonment and retirement @EVANWOLF
  50. 50. Intentionality We create more value, together, by choosing how we invest our time and build our relationships @EVANWOLF
  51. 51. Phil Wolff Hi! Email or tweet your stories, suggestions, referrals or just call/skype e skype v t evanwolf +1-510-343-5664 @evanwolf @letmydatago bio cv blog 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