Product articles

Teamwork makes the dream work: Managing effective product analytics projects

November 09, 2022

Whether you’re starting a new product analytics collaboration or trying to get a current one back on track, good partnerships require a well-structured, traceable process.

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How to use product operations to scale the impact of government digital services

October 19, 2022

We’ve found that product operations can help scale impact by putting objective indicators at the center of product decision-making.

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Building trust with users for long-term platform success

September 14, 2022

Building trusting relationships with your platform users is a powerful way to ensure your product remains strong and healthy and those using it have a positive experience. In this post, we outline ways that will put you on a path to achieving these goals.

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Connect the dots across your agency with product portfolio management

August 30, 2022

Product portfolio management is an essential strategy for tracking initiatives across a large organization. Here are our recommendations that will help set your teams up for success and deliver better outcomes for your customers.

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Using a product approach to build and modernize APIs

August 23, 2022

Hear from our team who spoke at the CMS Convergence event about how we use a product approach when developing APIs and the benefits that come from doing so.

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Using design systems for digital success within the federal space

July 18, 2022

Design systems can be an important tool for agencies looking to scale their digital transformation and improve services to the public. Read more to learn what problems design systems can address and what lessons we’ve learned in developing them.

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The carrots and sticks of platform governance

June 30, 2022

Taking an iterative approach to governance implementation will help you find a balance between the levels of written, automated, and manual enforcement to meet business and user needs without introducing unnecessary restrictions. Here are some recommendations.

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The building blocks of platforms

June 13, 2022

We talk about platforms in terms of reuse of services, separation of responsibility, and platform “building blocks.” Framing platforms this way helps teams articulate the design, prioritization, and strategy of their platform.

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Building a mentorship program for product managers

May 25, 2022

We’ve created a supplemental APM mentorship program that provides a place for aspiring product managers to grow and experienced PMs to teach.

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Introducing the Ad Hoc Product Field Guide

April 25, 2022

With this guide, agencies can start moving from a project management mindset to a product-based approach to delivering services that enable them to better serve the public.

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Product Reviews: Building a culture of feedback loops in government

April 18, 2022

We created Product Reviews to provide product managers with non-judgemental feedback on their strategic approaches from cross-functional peers.

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The right benchmarks

November 30, 2021

While government websites don’t need to match or outpace commercial websites on design novelty or retention metrics, they should aim to outperform on ensuring users accomplish their goals easily and efficiently.

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Using CX to align goals for improved service delivery

November 22, 2021

We believe customer experience should serve as more of an active “sense and respond” function that helps agencies reduce friction to service delivery, rather than just a passive reporting role.

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Research as Diplomacy: The marriage of research and product

November 10, 2021

Reframing the research step and using it to bring stakeholders’ concerns to the forefront instead of pushing past them can turn research skeptics into research advocates. We call this approach Research as Diplomacy.

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Improving government services, by design

October 13, 2021

We know that in order to build effective software, we need to understand the service’s current process. That’s where we turn to service design tools and methodologies.

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Creating a COVID-19 dashboard to help the VA prioritize their response

June 17, 2021

With support from Ad Hoc and our prime contractor Oddball, the VA quickly built a COVID-19 digital reponse dashboard to help measure the trajectory and success of their COVID-19 digital services.

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A path to transforming the nation’s unemployment insurance systems

June 11, 2021

The time is ripe to rethink how the nation’s unemployment systems, many of which still rely on manual and paper-based processes, can be improved through new technology and approaches.

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Aligning human-centered design and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

May 25, 2021

While this mismatch in priorities can be a challenge, Bellese and Ad Hoc have found a number of product management strategies to bring the values of HCD into a SAFe environment.

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What it’s like to be a product manager at Ad Hoc

January 13, 2021

We’re looking for people at all levels of experience who are interested in solving hard problems and helping organizations adopt more iterative and human-centered ways of working.

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The impact of internal incentives on product outcomes

December 15, 2020

Agencies that take the time to set outcome-based North Stars, align their internal incentives to reward outcomes, and empower their product owners are better prepared to build excellent products for the public.

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How bad incentives can lead projects astray, and how to set things straight

December 08, 2020

While there is a great deal written about how perverse incentives can lead to unintended outcomes, we wanted to focus on how using the right incentives can drive the right behaviors — both at the individual and organizational levels.

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The new Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook

August 18, 2020

The 2020 version is now a standalone playbook that any federal agency can use to replace enterprise software with proven techniques from the world of commercial software.

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What does product thinking look like at Search.gov?

June 30, 2020

Search.gov is an enormous opportunity to improve interactions between government and the people it serves. However, like any tech product, there is more to build than we have resources for.

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Four myths about applying human-centered design to government digital services

February 20, 2020

While human-centered design (HCD) is gaining traction, its underlying concepts are sometimes misunderstood. This can mislead teams into thinking they’re working in a human-centered way when in fact, their work is largely driven by requirements.

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Launching a government MVP in less than a month

October 01, 2019

On behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, we recently launched a site for insurance issuers. We went from zero lines of code to a production MVP serving pilot users in under a month.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 2: Search, security, and serving users

August 21, 2019

In this section, I’ll continue looking at the IDEA Act’s new requirements for public websites and digital services, including a deep dive into what it means to design services around the needs of your users.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 1: Accessibility, appearance, and overlap

August 15, 2019

Reading the IDEA Act, I saw much of how Ad Hoc works with our customers on government digital services. I thought it would be helpful to share our experience in implementing these kinds of digital services.

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Defining digital services and what they mean for product teams

August 14, 2019

We don’t have a shared definition for what government digital service means. This post offers one perspective by outlining how we think about digital services and how these ideas relate to our product practice.

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Prototyping the Ad Hoc Hotel & Casino

June 13, 2019

We used this scenario to introduce people to the human-centered, service-design-rooted processes we employ to understand a problem, learn quickly, and adjust.

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Product management at Ad Hoc

May 31, 2019

At Ad Hoc, we define product management as “the practice of shipping the right things, given business goals, user needs, and constraints.” It’s a discipline, not a process, for maximizing value.

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My view of OpsCamp

November 30, 2018

Internal company training events are often associated with boredom, long monologues, and Powerpoint presentations. My first Ad Hoc training event was exactly the opposite.

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HealthCare.gov turns five

November 01, 2018

Over the past five years, Ad Hoc has played a critical role in the recovery effort for HealthCare.gov. Our efforts embody the core values we hold today: an emphasis on practicality and a focus on the people impacted by our work.

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Our four day discovery sprint with San Jose

October 25, 2018

The focus of our sprint was MySanJose, a mobile app that residents use to make service requests of five services, such as reporting abandoned vehicles, or graffiti.

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Stop your (business rules) engines!

October 10, 2017

One of the many surprising artifacts of the initial failed HealthCare.gov launch was a “business rules engine.” This was a new concept for most of the team that helped rescue the site.

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Ad Hoc and the State of California

June 19, 2017

Ad Hoc is actively seeking partners and team members in California, especially in the capital, Sacramento. We’re looking to hiring software engineers, designers, and product management professionals for all sorts of positions.

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