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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/service-owner-skills-they-need/service-owner-skills-they-need
This content is part of the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Capability Framework which describes the DDaT roles in government and the skills needed to do them.
1. What a service owner does
A service owner is accountable for the quality of their service. They adopt a portfolio view, managing end-to-end services which include multiple products and channels. They operate at scale and provide the connection between multidisciplinary business areas and stakeholders.
Service owners make sure the necessary business processes are followed and participate in the governance of the service, including acting as a point of escalation for the delivery teams. They own the budget and allocate funding to areas of the service based on their decisions about priorities. They communicate the benefits and performance of their service, and are ultimately responsible for the successful operation and continuous improvement of the service.
2. What skills they need
A service owner needs specific technical skills.
All roles have essential skills, and some have desirable skills.
Each skill has one of 4 skill levels associated with it:
2.1 Essential skills
|Skill||Description of the skill||Skill level||What the skill level means|
|Agile working||Is aware of and understands agile methodology and how to apply the agile mindset to all aspects of their work. Has the ability to work in a fast paced, evolving environment and utilises an iterative method and flexible approach to enable rapid delivery. Unafraid to take risks, willing to learn from mistakes and appreciates the importance of agile project delivery for digital projects in government. Able to ensure the team has a situational awareness of what each other is working on and how this relates to practical government objectives and user needs.||Expert||Coaches and leads teams in Agile and Lean practices, determining the right approach for the team to take and evaluating this through the life of a project. Is able to think of new and innovative ways of working to achieve the right outcomes. Is able to act as a recognised expert and advocates for the approaches, continuously reflecting and challenging the team.|
|Financial ownership||Able to secure funding for agile delivery through a business case and through delivering a good pitch in government. Capable of prioritising spending based on return on investment (ROI) and strategic intent; this may include contract ownership and accountability for realisation of benefits.||Expert||Able to develop an agile business case, own and iterate it throughout the lifecycle. Able to develop benefits with others within the portfolio. Understands the granularity of financial costs per sprint and value delivered.|
|Lifecycle perspective||Understands the different phases of product delivery and is able to contribute to, plan or run these. Able to maintain a product or process through the delivery phases, through to live and into retirement. Able to lead a team through the different phases of the delivery lifecycle. Can maintain and iterate a product over time to continuously meet user needs. Understands and is aware of incident management and service support so that products are built effectively.||Practitioner||Able to apply experience of multiple parts of the lifecycle. Able to recognise when it is right to move forward and when it is right to stop. Able to recognise the appropriate deliverables and the right people to meet these. Able to work with other agile delivery operations throughout the product lifecycle. Able to plan and engage with the appropriate stakeholders at a particular stage in the project.|
|Operational management||Able to manage the operational process of designing and running a product or service throughout its entire life-cycle. Able to implement best practice in new product or service development and knows how to plan and operationalise the stages of new product or service development. Able to overcome operational constraints to deliver a successful product or service. Works closely with other operational delivery teams.||Expert||Keeps abreast of industry best practice and cascades ways of working. Knows how to make operations efficient. Is the escalation point for major operational issues and champions operational management across the community. Works closely with leaders of operational delivery teams in DDaT.|
|Problem ownership||Understands and identifies problems, analysing and helping to identify the appropriate solution. Is able to classify and prioritise problems, document their causes and implement remedies.||Expert||Is able to anticipate problems and knows how to defend against them at the right time. Understands how the problem fits into the larger picture. Is able to articulate the problem and helps others to articulate the problem. Builds problem-solving capabilities in others.|
|Strategic ownership||Focuses on outcomes, not solutions. Is bold - develops ambitious visions and strategies. Gets the organisation and team to buy-in. Translates the vision into prioritised deliverable goals.||Expert||Able to develop a long-term vision and objectives. Discerning and disciplined in focusing on what is important and most relevant. Able to develop the capability of others.|
|User focus||Understands users and can identify who they are and what their needs are based on evidence. Able to translate user stories and propose design approaches or services to meet these needs and engage in meaningful interactions and relationships with users. Puts users first and can manage competing priorities.||Expert||Gives direction on which tools / methods to use. Is experienced in meeting the needs of users across a variety of channels. Able to bring insight and expertise in how user needs have changed over time to ensure these are met by the business. Applies strategic thinking in how to provide the best service for the end user.|
2.2 Desirable skills
|Skill||Description of the skill||Skill level||What the skill level means|
|DDaT perspective||Demonstrates an understanding of user-centered design, technology and data perspectives. Understands the range of available technology choices and makes informed decisions based on user need and value for money. Understands the variety and complexities of digital contexts and designs services to meet them. Has knowledge of the wider digital economy and advances in technology.||Practitioner||Able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of design, technology and data principles. Able to identify and implement solutions for assisted digital. Able to apply knowledge to work with other job families.|
|Product ownership||Uses a range of product management principles and approaches. Captures and translates user needs into deliverables. Able to define the minimum viable product and make decisions about priorities. Writes stories and acceptance criteria. Capable of working with a range of specialists in multidisciplinary teams.||Working||Understands tools, terms and concepts used to deliver a product and how they can be adapted, and applied to different phases of delivery.|
3. Civil Service Success Profiles Framework
The Civil Service uses The Success Profiles Framework to assess candidates during recruitment.
It is a flexible framework, used to assesses a range of experiences, abilities, strengths, behaviours and technical/professional skills required for different roles.
Find out more about Success Profiles.
4. Other roles in service ownership
There are no other role levels in service ownership.