Lead Data Product Manager (Future Farming and Countryside Programme)

Grade: Grade 6

Location: The role is not location specific. Travel (including to London and York) should be anticipated once it is safe and appropriate.

Salary: £57,114 to £65,740

Closing Date: 25 Jun 2021

Defra is responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industries and sustaining a rural economy. Our broad remit means that we play an important role in people’s day-to-day life, from the food we eat and the air we breathe to the water we drink. The environment, food production and farming practices increasingly occupy centre stage in public and policy debates.

Defra’s Digital Data and Technology Services (DDTS) is at the heart of the organisation, delivering IT systems, transformation and operations to support the department’s policy agenda. DDTS is currently looking for a Lead Data Product Manager to work on a fast-paced, challenging and incredibly

Please be aware that space within the London Office is restricted and it may not be possible to be based in this location.

Job description

Future Farming and Countryside Programme (FFC)

The current arrangements for regulating and supporting farming and the countryside are ending now that the UK has left the EU. The Future Farming and Countryside Programme will to replace existing arrangements with a new offer which involves:

• Phasing out direct payments and closing down existing schemes.

• Introducing a new contract-based way to reward farmers and land managers for producing public goods – a scheme called Environmental Land Management (ELM).

• Improving regulation and enforcement based on a partnership approach.

• Improving advice and guidance to help farmers and land managers make sound choices for their businesses and the environment.

• Investing in industry-led innovation, research and development to drive productivity improvements and enable wider adoption of new technology and practices.

• Offering grants to help farmers invest in the necessary infrastructure and equipment to become sustainable businesses during the transition

• Delivering animal and health welfare support to farmers.

Digital services will underpin the realisation of FFC and data will be a core component in managing payments, monitoring delivery and supporting the evidence-based analysis of policy.

Future Farming digital delivery

This post will be based in the large digital delivery programme that is supporting FFC to review and change existing systems and processes and to move strategically to new ones.

Like most big programmes, FFC is delivering through a number of product teams and our goal is to ensure that data is treated consistently by all of them. To this end we have designed a programme-wide Senior Data Team featuring three complimentary roles:

• Business Product Owner for Data

• Data Product Manager

• Lead Data Architect

The three roles will work together to ensure: a business led data strategy, clear data requirements, consistent delivery of data products and a reliable standards-driven architecture that aligns data and technology to the best effect.

The Data Product Manager sits at the heart of digital delivery, translating business and user needs into data products. They can expect support and engagement from the wider Data team in Defra’s Digital, Data and Technology Services (DDTS) department.

Primary purpose of role

To build a data delivery plan, ensure that the right delivery resources are in place and drive and track the delivery of reliable data products across a large and complex change programme.


• Provide cross-FFC direction on delivering data products and services to meet business needs. This includes influencing and steering Delivery Managers across the Programme and representing data on high-level governance groups.

• Help to author and maintain the FFC business strategy for data and turn this into a delivery plan based on sound data management principles and practical use cases.

• Embed the plan into product delivery by ensuring that data capability is embedded within multi-disciplinary product teams.

• Define and assure FFC data products in accordance with existing DDTS data assurance processes.

• Work with existing (BAU) DDTS data teams to validate Programme data products and get the right oversight, approval and delivery support where required.

• Work seamlessly within the FFC Senior Data Team to form a powerful voice for data, collectively representing business knowledge, delivery skills and technical expertise.

• Influence and steer senior stakeholders; represent data at Programme and business boards and champion data standards and management throughout FFC.

• The postholder will report to the DDTS Head of Data & Information and can expect support from the wider DDTS data functions.


• Can define data products, services and processes that both align with enterprise standards and meet business and data needs.

• Has a good understanding of data technologies, standards, methods, approaches and operations.

• Understands issues associated with data legislation and compliance (e.g. in relation to Personal Data) and has a working understanding of Data security, Protection/GDPR legislation and risk, though is not expected to be an expert.

• Is familiar with standard delivery methodologies (e.g. Agile, Waterfall, PRINCE) and can apply Agile principles to data product development.

• Has expertise in authoring and reviewing digital project documentation.


• Can plan-ahead, think strategically and ensure products meet changing user and business needs.

• Has significant leadership and communication skills, including influencing and negotiation skills.

• Can build effective and sustainable relationships with senior stakeholders.

• Can communicate convincingly in writing, including both technical and non-technical briefings and policy documents. Has the ability to express ideas and priorities clearly in meetings and presentations.


• Has experience of translating business outcomes and user needs into data user stories.

• Has experience of translating technical and data issues for non-technical stakeholders.

• Has strong experience of the strategic and organisational aspects of data ownership, sharing, quality and governance.

• Has experience of digital delivery programmes.

• Has experience of working in and leading agile multi-disciplinary delivery teams.

• Has experience of managing external suppliers.

• Has experience of communicating to and working with senior leaders.