It might sound like a bit of a cliché, but genuinely no day is the same as a Product Lead at Kainos. The role changes depending on the client, type of project and the phase the work is in. There is also the opportunity to do work to support the development of the capability, sharing learning and supporting each other as we grow. However, what we bring to each engagement in many ways stay the same. As a capability, we have defined our principles and these guide what we do.
At the start of each week, I review my calendar and write out my “to do” list. There is always a huge variety of tasks to keep me busy and challenged! I have recently joined the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) project on their MOT Team as well as being an active member of the Kainos Consulting capability.
✅ Present back workshop output
Last week I designed and co-facilitated a session on a potential new service for DVSA. DVSA and DfT want to understand the potential scope, cost and timelines for developing the service. I have worked through the output of the workshop to pull together an high level view of the problem space and what we think the solution space looks like. There is a roadmap, focused on delivering value early, and a team profile that encompasses a wide range of disciplines across Experience Design, Data and Engineering to ensure the right solution is identified and developed. I present this back to the DVSA Chief Engineer along with the Kainos Delivery Manager, ensuring they have what’s needed to develop the business case.
✅ Attend session on MOT Product Team Ideas Board
The MOT project covers the MOT Testing Service, MOT Reminders, Check MOT History and Check Vehicle Recalls services. It is a broad set of services, all aimed at making our roads safer. The Service Manager asked if I could help the Product Team as they have a board of ideas that has been building over a long period of time. We agreed that a meeting to run through the board would be a good starting place. I spent a couple of hours with the Service Manager and one of the Product Managers going through a very broad range of great ideas. Towards the end of the session, I asked them about the MOT Vision and the strategic outcomes they are aiming for to help me to find a structure.
✅ Analyse Ideas Board and MOT Vision to develop recommendation
The next step is to take the Ideas Board and the MOT Vision and to develop this into a structure that the team can use moving forward to help them manage and prioritise their backlog. As reflected in our principles, I focus on outcomes to organise the work into themes and I am evidence based as I review the value propositions and identify the hypotheses that may need to be tested and the potential impact. I come up with a structure which I think will work for the Product Team, and organise a follow up meeting with the Service Manager to validate this before I do any further work.
✅ Attend Data Team Agile ceremonies
I am starting to work more with the Data Team, a team with Kainos and DVSA members from across a range of disciplines such as performance analysis, data science and data engineering. The team work in Kanban with a monthly cycle. I attend the team’s stand up and planning sessions. I organise a couple of follow up sessions to get a better understanding of the work coming into the team for the different roles.
✅ Attend ProductTank Birmingham
Meetups are a great way to connect with other Product people over beer and pizza. Kainos organise “Let’s Talk Product” in London, Birmingham and Belfast as a way to share what we do and to learn from the Product community. The focus of ProductTank Birmingham was prioritisation and the interactive exercises generate lots of debate. Kainos gets a mention as we are sponsoring their next meetup. It is great to see Kainos being a part of the tech community in my home city.
✅ Present conference learnings with Birmingham Product Internal Meetup
Each month we have a meetup for the Birmingham based Product people. I love spending the day in a Birmingham office. The culture is truly inclusive and the people incredibly friendly. Each morning there begins with a lap of the office to say hi and find out how people are and what they are working on. Our meetup is a great forum for Birmingham Product to talk about their projects, challenges they are facing and to share ideas and learning. I went to Jam Conference in October, so at this meetup I am sharing what I learned there, and some of my highlights from the day.
Being in Birmingham is also a great opportunity for some face to face 1-2-1s. I have an informal chat over a coffee (the coffee machines in the office are great!) with one of my team, talking through her goals for this year and so what opportunities she is particularly looking for in the project she is starting next week. I also have a 1-2-1 with my manager. I recently got promoted and she has my feedback from the process and this is really useful in helping me understand areas for further growth.
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