Super Federal Product Ownership - Product Ownership at USAStaffing

USA Staffing is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's hiring software solution for Federal agencies.


USA Staffing positions agencies to acquire, assess, certify, select, and onboard qualified candidates precisely, efficiently and cost-effectively. It provides the up-to-date tools agencies need for strengthening the foundation of great government - your workforce. Created by OPM and based on the experience of more than 50 Federal agencies, USA Staffing is an off-the-shelf software solution for automating staffing and assessment. It combines core and advanced features in a user-friendly, web-enabled software solution. USA Staffing is compliant with Federal hiring regulations and meets Federal Information Technology (IT) security requirements.


As the program that addresses the hiring of nearly all Federal employees, the USA Staffing program in a major program in the US Federal government. Starting with one Scrum team in August of 2012 to using Agile across all the program teams, the USA Staffing program is committed to Agile concepts and methods as it rebuilds and updates the USA Staffing IT systems.


In looking at key lessons learned during this transformation, one of the keys was creating strong Product Ownership on the USA Staffing program. In Federal programs, Federal Product Ownership is often underserved, but with the USA Staffing program, there was a concentrated focus on ensuring effective Federal product ownership.  


This includes:

  1. Creating effective Product Owners for individual Scrum teams
  2. Scaling Product Ownership teams with a Super Product Owner


By doing the above, it allowed the USA Staffing program to:

  1. Create great collaborative working relationships with the USA Staffing stakeholders and customers
  2. Enable a collaborative and self organizing culture across the distributed teams on the USA Staffing program
  3. Allow USA Staffing to scale its program across all the Scrum teams in its program.


Through lecture, group discussions and Q&A, this session will offer practical techniques for cultivating Product Ownership within Agile work environment in government when teams are organizationally and geographically separated. We will also detail how we worked with customer and stakeholder organizations to help them adapt to a rapid development cycle.


This session is presented by Bridget Dongarra, a Federal employee and Product Owner on the USA Staffing program and by Richard Cheng, an Agile coach and Trainer. Bridget will bring the Federal perspective into the session while Richard will help address Agile specific nuances in the Agile @ OPM implementation.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

  • Background of Agile efforts at Office of Personnel Management (5 min)
  • Overview of Agile implementation on USAStaffing and scaling Agile across USAStaffing teams (5 min)
  • Key issue 1 – Address Product Ownership issues in the Federal government – We will do table discussion where the table can share their experiences, questions and thoughts , with the key focus on how they have made it work or how it could work. After the table discussion, we will debrief and present what USAStaffing did (15 min)
  • Key issue 2 – Address Scaling Product Ownership. This is a major challenge in government and we will discuss how and why this was critical in the USAStaffing success. We will also engage table discussions where each groups discusses challenges in working with stakeholders and why this is especially a problem on government programs. After the table discussion, we will debrief and present what USAStaffing did (15 min)
  • Closing thoughts (5 min)

Learning Outcome

  • Understanding the need for Federal Product Ownership
  • Understanding the difference between Product Ownership and Project Management
  • Understanding how to develop Federal Product Owners and Ownership on Federal programs
  • Understanding how to scale Federal Product Ownership

Target Audience

people interested in Agile in government, people dealing with Product Ownership in government

schedule Submitted 3 years ago

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