DTA Portfolio Assurance Team – Embedding a Product Management Mindset Though a Culture of Experimentation


The Portfolio Assurance Team provides analysis and advice so that government decision-makers can confidently make digital investment decisions. We embedded with the team to co-create a product management training program that was designed to create a culture that would enable the team to design change for themselves ongoing.

  • MORE
  • The team is at the heart of strategic advice and analysis for decisions by senior officials and Ministers on proposed and in-flight digital investments, leading engagement to shape how the Government invests its money in advancing digital transformation for all Australians. They are deploying new products and services to support this across the whole-of-government. They identified that to best support this taking a product-led approach would be critical to best serving customers. The challenge lay in how we might best design training for a team operating across a complex product portfolio with differing backgrounds of design and product experience.

  • Our assumption was that for real change to happen it must be supported at an individual and team level. Engaging the team through interviews and workshops we designed a curriculum of modules to embed core product skills. This generated buy-in at the team level and ensured tools and practices aligned to the team’s unique context. We created a cadence that mixed team sessions, to introduce and apply new concepts, with 1:1 practitioner pairing. Team members paired with expert FF practitioners for regular 1:1s on how to run experiments with new ways of working on their day-to-day projects.

  • Traditional ‘out-of-the-box’ training is heavily focused on passive delivery of static frameworks that struggle to adapt to evolving organisations and risk throwing out existing good behaviours. Our custom designed approach empowered individuals in a range of roles to drive change as a group - intertwining product progress and process improvement as one. This left the team with a lightweight monthly recurring structure for setting goals, experimenting and reviewing outcomes as a group. Ultimately we created a culture where leadership and teams have a high maturity approach for experimentation that allows them to adopt and iterate new ways of working at speed.

  • To deliver the training, we introduced a series of critical concepts and proven practices for designing high performance teams from our Team Acceleration (TA) methodology. Fundamental ingredients to TA include: designing smaller multi-disciplinary teams charged with a mission, setting a cadence that balances making with inclusive involvement, building belief and momentum through storytelling, and rigorous testing to minimise the risk of failure and to place the customer at heart of decision making. Accelerated teams can resolve conflicts faster, share learnings together, and continuously adapt as a collective to solve complex challenges. '”This training embedded a whole new mindset and way of working across our teams. Every team embraced the continuous learning and experimentation approach. This approach saw us take learnings and new techniques straight from the classroom into practice, immediately shaping and improving how we delivered on our mission.” - Jamie Whitcombe, Branch Manager. “I found combination of team and 1:1 sessions very useful - being able to take new insights from the team sessions into my 1:1 to create an experiment so quickly is really exciting.” - David Thavasuthan, Director – Assurance Strategy & Engagement.