As a creative product manager, I specialise in modern product methodologies, designing strategies, and mobilising teams to go from 0 → 1. These skills help me bring new products & services to market and take established products & services in new directions. I’m passionate about innovation for the public good and open, ethical product design.
You can find out how to hire me at the bottom of the page.
GOV.UK Design System at Government Digital Service
December 2022 to February 2024
Provided maternity cover as Senior Product Manager for the GOV.UK Design System, the design system that brings a consistent look and feel to digital services in the GOV.UK ecosystem.
A large part of my role was to design a ‘more intentional’ strategy that would grow the design system’s impact. Taking influence from open-source software, community-led growth, lean product management and strategic design, I created a strategic model that could be validated and iterated through a discovery. I also established the team’s playbook, the ways of working to deliver the strategy.
Another significant part of my role was to work with a coach and the delivery manager to create a coaching programme that would decrease risk-aversion and decrease imposter syndrome on the team over a 6-month period. I also helped devise, plan and organise a 2-day conference for 1,200 digital and UX professionals called Design System Day 2023.
Skills: Strategy, leadership, coaching, organisation design, design management, product management.
Secure Data Environment service at NHS England
August 2022 to December 2022
The Secure Data Environment service is a secure data analysis and research platform, giving approved researchers access to pseudonymised NHS healthcare data.
As senior product manager on the service design team, I led two user researchers and two service designers on the alpha phase for the Secure Data Environment service. I also drove collaboration with technical, operational and data engineering teams on the programme to prepare the end-to-end service for an alpha service assessment.
It was a complex project to work on: the technical platform had been built and delivered during the pandemic, but aspects of the service design needed researching while we were prototyping them. Lean UX and hypothesis-driven design techniques were key. Developing a trusting relationship with the service owner and fuelling open-working practices was another essential ingredient for success.
Skills: Product management, Agile leadership, business model validation, open-working, stakeholder alignment.
MVP, launch and iteration at Claimer
July 2021 to July 2022
Claimer aimed to make it effortless for startups to claim millions of pounds in research & development tax credits. It simplified the process of gathering evidence, preparing financial information and describing innovation projects, meaning that time-poor founders could start and submit claims in days, not weeks.
I joined the venture-funded startup as the first product hire, establishing the product function and how the company designed and delivered software. In my first six months, I was responsible for delivering the minimum viable product to the market. After launch, I created roadmaps and product plans collaboratively with stakeholders, aligned to business objectives, that would maximise value for users and grow the product. I leaned towards Shape Up and Kanban rather than Scrum.
It was essential to wear many hats in this role. I co-ordinated two development teams across multiple service stages and managed all new features, from inception through to design and delivery. Product teams were aligned by a product vision and strategy I defined, based on the company’s mission. I hired, managed and coached one other product manager.
Skills: Product management, Agile leadership, line management, service design, interaction design, content design, stakeholder alignment.
Recurring payments for GOV.UK Pay at Government Digital Service
January 2021 to July 2021
GOV.UK Pay is a payments platform making it easier for the public sector to take and manage payments online.
As the product manager looking after payment types, channels and UX, I led a small team on an 8-week strategic discovery to decide whether we should provide another way for people to pay for something now or a way to pay regularly. We spoke to 45 people from 6 local authorities, 2 central government departments, 6 arm’s length bodies, 1 government company and 1 NHS trust, diving deep into their motivations, enablers and barriers to adopting new payments infrastructure. The evidence and changes in technology suggested a need for recurring payments functionality that could apply to card, Open Banking and Direct Debit payments.
After the discovery, I led a multidisciplinary team on prototyping the product and its API during an alpha phase. Deep understanding of the payments landscape, its technologies and market analysis allowed me to bring new features to the government payments market at a competitive price for our customers. Released in summer 2023, recurring payments is helping Kent County Council increase revenue by taking payments in instalments and it will allow the Environment Agency to offer fishing licences that renew automatically.
Skills: Product management, innovation, service design, financial ownership, strategy.
Exploring personalisation for GOV.UK at Government Digital Service
January 2019 to March 2020
GOV.UK makes it simpler, clearer and faster for people to find and use government services and information in the UK. However, it is a largely static, one-way experience for users. It appears to be one whole thing but services are not joined-up, and administrative burden is placed on users with no option to use saved information.
I led a small team on a 3-month discovery to explore the concept of personalisation and how it might improve outcomes for users of UK government services. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it was essential I develop a vision that struck a balance between radically ambitious futures and responsible use of technology. We called it ‘boring magic’.
Over a 6-month period, I led a team to make the vision more tangible through developing a series of proofs-of-concept and prototypes, using techniques from user-centred service design, futures thinking and the burgeoning ethical design practice. We also explored what needed to be true from a technical, legal, funding and capability perspective for the futures to be possible and plausible. Alongside this, we crafted a cross-government strategy and narrative which we presented to Cabinet Ministers and a Chief Advisor. This formed the basis for GOV.UK’s Spending Review representation in 2020.
Skills: Strategy, product management, innovation, futures thinking, ethical design, leadership.
Product community events for the public sector (side project)
April 2018 to present
After joining Government Digital Service (GDS) in 2018, I started helping organise cross-government events for the product community, and organised regular monthly meet-ups for product managers at GDS. One day I decided to email Marty Cagan to see if he’d come and speak to some product managers. Shockingly, he agreed, so I had to pull together a small conference inside 6 weeks!
Luckily it went well, and the community across government lapped it up. This gave me the bug and I’ve been organising events, mentoring programmes and other good things for the public-sector product community ever since. In 2023, I co-organised 3 events under the Product for the People banner alongside Debbie Blanchard and Matt Jukes.
Skills: community-building, events management, networking, foolhardiness.
If you have a project that could use my skills, please contact me through the Boring Magic website.