https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/2017/11/29/parliamentary-product-people/

Parliamentary Product People

Product people event

I’m one of the product managers at PDS and I want to talk about a recent event we hosted for the wider product manager community.

The value of sharing

There aren’t many product managers here in PDS. You can count us all on two hands with fingers to spare. As a result, we all get lots of responsibility, we’re a tight-knit group and every team meeting is a riotously fun affair.

Part of our job requires knowing the value of sharing and getting feedback. And while we’re good at this in our small group, we know there’s a bigger community to connect with.

Product People events

So we decided that it would be healthy for us to host a Product People event. These are usually run with other government departments and public sector organisations. Their aim is to share experiences, learn from one another, and connect the growing community of product managers in the public sector.

I’d been to a few events before and always found them enlightening. I enjoy meeting people who are trying to deliver similar products, as well as hearing about the interesting work going on in the public sector.

Product collaboration

There’s also an ulterior motive. As the beta.parliament.uk site progresses, we know that more cooperation with our government colleagues could bring benefits to the public. Connecting with a wider community of people who are hearing about what we’re doing can only help future collaboration.

Our event

After getting in touch with one of the organisers of Product People my colleague Fred McGhie began finding a suitable date and venue. While Parliament has a bunch of epic rooms to hold gatherings, it can be problematic finding a venue when the House is sitting.

We aimed for a recess date to give us a bit more flexibility. In the end we needed to find a bigger room as we sold out in around 24 hours. After upgrading to a 100+ capacity, we then came up with an agenda.

On the day we had talks from:

  • Nik Spicer who opened with an overview of how products are managed in PDS
  • Ed White explained why we’re building a new website and the work of the committees team working on beta.parliament.uk
  • I gave updates on the people pages of beta.parliament.uk, where we are so far and what’s next
  • Alex Rainsley gave an honest account about delivering the new online shop for Parliament
  • Dia Nag then shared how her team has improved Parliament's new search

We had plenty of healthy questions from the audience and it was wonderful to have more of the community come spend time with us.

There were so many questions and kind comments about our work that I have a feeling a part two is in order for 2018.

Find out more about the product manager community.

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