You chart the product goals. You plug gaps and gel everything together. You wear many hats to drive the project forward.
Here is a look at what a Product Manager, Chua Swee Chin, has to say about working here.
Who we are
Open Government Products is an in-house team of engineers, designers, and product managers who build technology for the public good. We proactively identify areas where technology can help, test our prototypes with actual users, and bring our best ones to launch. This includes everything from building better frontend applications for citizens, to automating the internal operations of public agencies. We use and release open source software, keep a flat hierarchy, and bypass bureaucracy to focus on delivery. We work on real problems, build for the user, and push for change.
Projects we have worked on include:
Data.gov.sg - An open repository of all the Singapore Government’s public data. It helps people understand the data using visualizations and articles, and provides real-time APIs for developers to use.
Beeline - A data-driven shuttle bus platform. Bus routes are created from user suggestions and public transport usage data. Users can book, pay for, and track rides using a mobile app.
Parking.sg - A mobile app alternative to parking coupons. It lets users pay, extend, and refund their parking sessions just using their phones.
Form.sg - A form builder tool for agencies to self-service and create online forms that capture classified data, with the goal of replacing paper forms.
What does a Product Manager do?
As a product manager, your job is to make sure the right things get done. At a high level, this means establishing a clear vision for what a product should be and what needs to be done to get there. On a day to day basis, this means handling all the different facets of a project and making sure they’re coordinated. And at the core, this means building a foundation of knowledge across user needs, technical constraints, and design goals so you can act as a bridge across all of them.
Concretely this means:
Understanding users better than anyone else
Conducting user studies to understand their needs and problems
Analyzing data to uncover usage patterns that inform product decisions
Researching the industry to understand existing solutions
Keeping things organized
Running efficient meetings to keep people updated and make good decisions
Prioritizing, planning, and tracking what needs to be done
Documenting key information and decisions about the product
Communicating across teams
Explaining technical considerations to non-technical audiences
Comfortable with public-speaking, giving presentations, writing papers etc
Identifying key stakeholders and convincing them to give their support
Coordinating efforts across multiple roles from marketing, legal, finance, operations, and more
Making good product decisions
Working with designers to create intuitive user experiences
Creating multiple proposals for the many forms a product can take
Driving the team toward consensus on what the product should be
You will work on meaningful projects that solve problems pertinent to our society, from transportation, to education, to healthcare. The public sector is full of opportunities where even the simplest software can have a big impact on people’s lives. You will have direct ownership of your work with over 70% of our projects starting as ground up initiatives. Rather than work on commercial ventures commonly found in the startup scene, we’re here to improve how we live as a society through what we can offer as a government.
What it is like working here
Rapid Prototyping - Instead of spending too much time debating ideas we prefer testing them. This identifies potential problems quickly, and more importantly, conveys what is possible to others easily.
Ownership - In addition to technical responsibilities, this means having opinions on what is being done and having ideas on what should be done next. Building something that you believe in is the best way to build something good.
Continuous Learning - Working on new ideas often means not fully understanding what you are working on. Taking time to learn new architectures, frameworks, technologies, and even languages is not just encouraged but essential.
Who we are looking for
We look for people who:
Have experience writing code - You don’t need to be an expert engineer, but you need to be able to work with engineers and develop a strong understanding of technical considerations
Can analyze and use data to solve problems - The ability to apply specific approaches and knowing what data you would need matter more than knowledge about advanced statistical techniques
Have a good design sense - This means empathizing with users and having an intuition of what good and bad products look like
Have solid communication skills - You need to be able to write clearly and concisely, give good presentations, and know how to get people working together
Take initiative to make things happen - Our job is to push for change in government, so we need to challenge the status quo and not wait for instruction.
Want to work for the public good - We are public servants, we serve the public. This sometimes means ignoring political pressures and misguided policies. We need people who will push back if something is not in the public interest.
Overall we look for people who have ability, initiative, good communication, and strong values.