Hands in a pile

Weeknotes: Using data better together

By Kathryn Dingle 10 December 2021

Hi all, I’m NPC’s Digital Product Manager! Ever wondered, what on earth does a product manager in the charity sector actually do? Here is your chance to find out! Every fortnight, I explore my highlights, the puzzle and conundrums I am still mulling over and the learning or ideas that has motivated my work. This time I sharing my thoughts on all things to do with using data better together.

Overarching feeling of the last fortnight

Excited and tired!

Excited for the opportunities by the projects I am currently on at NPC and the great work across the organisation. When reflecting with my coach (from the amazing Young Women’s Trust!) I feel grateful for the professional freedom that NPC and our funders allow me within our work. I am however also looking forward to recharging during the Christmas break and seeing family.

Highlights and achievements

I fixed a big bug on my no-code app!

I am grateful to all my developers, but I have a newfound appreciation for anyone who codes or uses no-code software. After struggling with a bug for most of the day, I was so happy (Yes I fist bumped the air when it worked!) Thank you to all those who support each other on the Bubble forum. Your discussion and ideas are in value!

Sharing learning with our Trustees

This week I shared the work of the My Best Life team to NPC’s Trustee board. The purpose being to share how NPC has embraced user involvement and co-design within our digital product development. Young people led all our key decisions from the problem we were trying to solve through to the solution itself and how we created it. We are in the process of developing our learning into easy-to-read guides, so any organisation can pick up our ideas and give it a try.

Using data better together

In my last week notes, I discussed my interest in exploring how we can make it easier for young people and charities to find clear and accurate information about local services online. I am pleased to say we have submitted a funding proposal to explore exactly this! We want to explore the potential methods for solving this and the role that technology could pay in doing so, before prototyping one idea. Fingers crossed the funder likes it!

Transforming government’s use of data

Connected to our funding proposal, this week I attended the first of a series of Government working groups, exploring how data taxonomies could improve Government’s use of data, and ultimately improve public services. Our remit focuses on recommending a data taxonomy to classify ‘vulnerabilities’, so that public service data is more readily available for both Government and charities.

Winter wonderland

We were lucky enough to have a low-key Christmas party. Being all in the same room is such a luxury and I feel incredibly grateful for this.

Puzzles and conundrums

To scale or not to scale? (and how?)

We have developed a proof-of-concept web app called My Best Life. The proof of concept was made with and for young people, initially in Lambeth to test whether a user-led web app could help young people find support and opportunities more easily. It is testing well in the real world, and we are now a crossroads….

What do we do now?

As I said, this has been a test (we are very grateful to our funders for allowing us to do this!) Our next step is to consider what option will have the biggest impact:

We know young people like the app and find it useful. Would scaling the app across the UK and letting young people find support have the most impact? (Easier said than done!)
We know many charities websites are hard for young people to navigate. Would using the insights, open-source code, and data to improve existing products and charity marketing make the most impact?
We know we don’t have a sustainable method for gathering and maintaining charity service data across the UK. Would investing our energy into fixing this have the most impact?

Lessons and links

I am due to take the Professional product owner (PSPO I) course and the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) early next year. I have doing a bit a pre-course reading:

Until next time!

Thanks for reading – I would love to connect. I don’t know all the answers. In fact I am usually the one asking questions, so please do share your thoughts, ideas or challenge!