Software Product Manager

Contract Anywhere Salary: Based on experience and qualifications, in line with market rates Closes: 2020-06-19

The Open Contracting Partnership is seeking a software product manager to manage the development of our open-source software that supports the publication and use of public contracting data.

About us

The Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) is a silo-busting collaboration between government, business, civil society and technologists to transform government contracting and drive systemic change using open data and radically-improved transparency for users. We work across sectors and along the whole process of government contracting to use open data and improved oversight to save governments money and time, deliver better goods and services to citizens, deter corruption and create a better business environment for all.

Our most powerful tool is the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS). It aims to: (1) support disclosure requirements in policy and law, (2) link all stages of a contracting process, (3) promote the effective use of contracting data by improving its interoperability and comparability and (4) enable faster reforms by encouraging the reuse of tools.

Our strategic goals involve increasing the number of OCDS publications worldwide and building a community of use, impact and learning. This includes supporting government, civil society, business, media and academia to use OCDS data to improve integrity, fairness, and value for money in public contracting.

Background

Since 2015, OCP has developed a range of tools to support the publication and use of public contracting data that conforms to the OCDS. Our software projects include:

  • Kingfisher: A family of tools to collect, pre-process, summarize and query OCDS data. It is used internally by helpdesk analysts to provide feedback to publishers of OCDS data, and by data analysts to calculate indicators and do research. It serves as a data source for other tools.
  • Data Review Tool: An online tool to report structural errors in OCDS data. It is primarily used by implementers of OCDS to check their conformance to the standard. Its library is used by Kingfisher to automatically check OCDS data after its collection.
  • Pelican: An online tool to report quality issues in OCDS data, sourced from Kingfisher. It is used internally by helpdesk analysts to provide feedback to publishers of OCDS data, and by program managers to better understand a local partner’s data.
  • Flatten Tool: A command-line tool to transform JSON data to tabular formats, and vice versa. It is an important tool for users who are more familiar with tabular data.
  • OCDS Kit: A suite of command-line tools and a Python library for working with OCDS data. It contains common functionality used by Kingfisher and Toucan, in particular.
  • Toucan: An online tool to replicate the functionality of command-line tools in a browser. It gives access to OCDS Kit and Flatten Tool.

Early work was done in an experimental fashion by a single outsourced development team. In recent years: new teams have been involved; work processes have been better defined; small experiments have been consolidated into single interfaces like OCDS Kit; new tools, like Pelican, have involved more up-front work on business requirements and project scope; there is greater attention to tests, documentation, performance, and code style; and a roadmap that responds to OCP’s strategy is prepared annually.

Most tools are designed first to support the work of the OCDS Helpdesk, which works directly with publishers and users of OCDS data. We are presently in the process of polishing a few tools in our Kingfisher family for broader reuse.

The size of OCDS datasets has grown significantly since our early years. Large inputs have led to performance issues, which have been corrected in OCDS Kit and avoided in Pelican, but which need work in Flatten Tool and the Data Review Tool.

There is a significant opportunity to focus on supporting users more directly, now that our internal needs are largely met.

Objectives

OCP is seeking a consultant to manage the development of our open-source software that supports the publication and use of public contracting data.

The consultant’s main responsibilities will be to:

  • Support the Head of Data Products and Services in preparing an annual software development roadmap, to promote the publication and use of OCDS data
  • Lead the day-to-day management of external consultants to design and develop the software in the roadmap, and to improve the software in our portfolio
  • Recommend future improvements and tools, based on user feedback and other expressions of user needs
  • Ensure our software maintains a high level of quality (in terms of code, tests and documentation) such that it can be easily be taken on by new consultants

Activities

The consultant will have short weekly calls with the Head of Data Products and Services, to discuss any updates, issues or plans.

The consultant will otherwise perform the activities necessary to fulfill the objectives as implied by the qualifications below.

Qualifications

The required skills for this position are:

  • Experience prioritizing, planning and managing the design, development and delivery of software products and services
  • Experience managing and directing consultants, including assigning tasks, reviewing changes, and establishing processes to promote consistently high-quality work
  • Experience in drafting terms of reference and reviewing bids from consultants
  • Experience in agreeing business requirements between multiple stakeholders
  • Sufficient knowledge in relevant domains in order to manage consultants, such as databases, message brokers, web scraping, UX design, user research, etc.
  • Excellent written and spoken English, in particular for technical writing
  • Experience with online collaboration tools
  • Legal ability to work in the location where based

Desirable skills for this position are:

  • Python programming expertise
  • Experience in creating software for large datasets, for example, streaming data, using queueing systems, or iteratively parsing files
  • Familiarity with common dependencies like Django and Click, and with common services like PostgreSQL, RabbitMQ, Redis and ElasticSearch
  • Experience in drafting software development roadmaps that respond to organizational priorities and user needs
  • Experience transferring projects between development teams
  • Experience with data analysis, procurement data, and/or data standards

Timeline & Remuneration

We are looking for a consultant to steward our software over the longer term, though we can start with a short contract. We estimate the workload to be about 2 days a week.

Remuneration will be based on experience and qualifications, in line with market rates.

Application

Applications should include:

  • Cover letter outlining your motivations and qualifications
  • CV detailing recent relevant experience
  • Weekly availability and daily rate in USD
  • Two references with whom we could follow up

Apply on Screendoor

Annex

More information on the specific projects, current consultants and other details are provided in this software project management orientation.