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Head of Product

Job Description

This role is part of the Product function of a group of product managers, business analysts, performance analysts and user-centred design specialists responsible for understanding user needs and defining the problems which we can solve.

We work on:
  • products and services which solve problems around productivity, data, cyber security, shared platforms and services
  • partnering with business units and their users to develop strategic priorities and opportunities
  • platforms and capabilities which support all of the above

As a Head of Product you will be responsible for the success and growth of a portfolio of products and will define the product strategy, set and own key performance indicators which measure success and be accountable for the product. You will also act as a digital business partner for a group of internal stakeholders and users.


This role is focussed on platforms and services to build, run and operate digital services, and also to lead assurance activity against the government service standard and spend controls.

Each Head of Product defines the product strategy for a problem space and manages the combined roadmap and backlog. This involves working with users and stakeholders to lead and prioritise change that needs to happen, and working with  colleagues to ensure that the change can be delivered and that products at different stages of the lifecycle meet their goals and are operating well. Heads of Product are also responsible for setting those goals, key performance indicators and objectives/key results for each product.

We work in multi-disciplinary teams and deliver in a range of methodologies, including agile, building and developing some of the technology ourselves and also adopting procured services or those provided by our colleagues in Government Digital Service. The role therefore has responsibilities for team leadership, stakeholder management of dependent services and commercial contract management.

Each Head of Product will be a champion for user needs and for prioritisation techniques to maximise business value and cost/benefit analysis; understand the end-to-end product lifecycle including support models; and communicate integrated strategy, roadmaps, product plans and progress through various channels, while listening to feedback and adapting priorities accordingly.

Skills needed:

Agile working. You can coach and lead teams in Agile and Lean practices, determining the right approach for the team to take and evaluating this through the life of a project. You can think of new and innovative ways of working to achieve the right outcomes. You can act as a recognised expert and advocate for the approaches, continuously reflecting and challenging the team. 

DDaT perspective. You can show knowledge of the wider digital economy and advances in technology. You can understand Agile working at an organisational level. You can create the environment for success. You can initiate and support working with other digital, data and technology (DDaT) roles, job families and professions.

Financial ownership. You can understand the marketplace. You can realise the benefit of a product and persuade others that it’s the right one to use. You can integrate a product with other services. You can ensure that products get used. You can realise benefits by linking work in progress back to the business case. You can build business cases based on user needs. 

Life cycle perspective. You can successfully lead teams through the full product life cycle. You can identify which tools and techniques should be used at each stage. You can develop sustainable support models. You can identify and deal with potential risks across or between all stages of the product life cycle. You can coach others. You can contribute to the assessment of other teams, providing guidance and support as they move through stages of the product life cycle. 

Operational management. You can keep abreast of industry best practice and can cascade ways of working. You can make operations efficient. You can act as the escalation point for major operational issues and champion operational management across the community. You can work closely with leaders of operational delivery teams in digital, data and technology (DDaT).

Problem management. You can anticipate problems and defend against them at the right time. You can understand how the problem fits into the larger picture. You can articulate the problem and help others to do it. You can build problem-solving capabilities in others. 

Product ownership. You can start to define and create approaches. You can coach others. You can implement new ways of working. You can show an awareness of what other sectors are doing. You can understand what is most important and applicable.

Strategic ownership. You can develop a long-term vision and objectives. You can take a discerning and disciplined approach to focusing on what is important and most relevant. You can develop the capability of others.

User focus. You can give direction on which tools or methods to use. You can demonstrate experience in meeting the needs of users across a variety of channels. You can bring insight and expertise in how user needs have changed over time to ensure they’re met by the business. You can apply strategic thinking to provide the best service for the end user. 

Working within constraints. You can influence, challenge and coach. You can anticipate how constraints might change and know where to challenge or remove constraints.