Planning Out The Direction of Products

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is the principal domestic mapping agency of the Federal Government and is responsible for the administration of the National Geospatial Program (NGP), under which multi-purpose maps and digital cartographic and geographic data are produced. The NGP required a training course and technical support for the preparation and update of Product Management Plans, with the goal to improve Product Plans and assess long term direction for the NGP’s products and services.

Xentity had the domain expertise along with considerable USGS Science and Geospatial Discipline knowledge. Executed at DOI and USGS since 2003, this knowledge and experience was a significant asset for this effort in all the objective tasks for this response. Specifically, Xentity brought a proven understanding of what it took to provide the Product Management Training and Support required of the USGS to assure success for its Product and Service leads.

A Strategy To Better Understand Users

The principle charge of the USGS is maintaining the National Atlas and The National Map. From these, along with the USGS’ data and archives, other deliverables are produced and other products can be viewed on the organization’s website. However, the NGP needed to develop a better understanding of the needs and priorities of their users. Then they must translate those needs into implementable plans. NGP Product Managers required a better understanding of how to plan and use customer research and feedback provided through Geospatial Liaisons. Also, needs/requirements collected through the COU’s (Communities of Use) they tried to establish to guide future product management.

Xentity’s main roles in this project were consultant/trainer and technical support. Xentity prepared and delivered two 3 day NGP Product and Service and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) training seminars. The product management concepts presented came from best practices and techniques developed in private sector product management organizations. They applied and adjusted these practices and techniques for the unique differences in government management. 

Xentity also provided consulting services for ten product plans of the NGP. This included: The National Atlas (which was unfortunately removed from service in 2014), The National Map (TNM) Delivery Services, Watershed Boundaries, National Hydrologic Dataset (NHD), Boundaries/Governmental Units, Structures, Transportation, Elevation, Orthoimagery, and Land Cover. Below is a screenshot of The National Map.

For each product plan, Xentity performed detailed review and evaluation. Also, they prepared a product plan review report for each product documenting the evaluation and recommendations for improvement. Finally, Xentity incorporated recommendations into plans. They assured this by working with product managers.

Improved Customer Interaction

From these efforts, the USGS’s NGP sees improved customer service, communications within the organization and between the organization and users. Also, they are seeing more effectiveness and efficiency in production. Because technology constantly changes, the potential communities that could use NGP’s products and services vary. For that very reason, it is important for organizations to constantly look to improve their product management. Also, at their current products and services. Xentity’s consulting and advisory services of the NGP’s product plans, will create improvements tailored to the needs of their users.