Case #2232.0

United States Department of Education: Launching the College Scorecard, a Digital Service

Publication Date: October 20, 2021
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The goal of the case is to understand how to design, build, and engage with digital technologies as they relate to civic participation, equity, governance, and accountability. Delivering critical services to the public requires building technology that works for people. In environments like the public sector, this can be a challenge, but it is possible and necessary. Students will learn how product managers set strategy, define products, advocate for the user, manage stakeholders, and understand market or policy factors in order to ship technology services and products that benefit people.

In 2015, the Obama Administration asked a cross-governmental team to reimagine the College Scorecard, a website to assist high school students with their college decisions. This team consisted of the United States Digital Service (which fell under the Executive Office of the President), 18F (which fell under the General Services Administration), and the Department of Education.

The team, whose members had diverse skillsets and backgrounds, understood the problem by conducting a thorough discovery sprint. This helped them understand users, particularly high school students from different backgrounds, parents, guidance counselors, and other stakeholder groups. The team then continuously engaged users as they built the product, working across three different government entities to get a digital product launched. Team members interviewed for this case included: Holly Allen, Lisa Gelobter, Michelle Hertzfeld, Jessica Teal, Sabrina Williams, David Nesting.

Learning Objectives
1. Understand how government can use human-centered approaches to develop digital products for the public good.
2. Identify key challenges, including bureaucracy and politics, in product development.
3. Understand product management concepts: discovery sprints, user experience research, agile, metrics, product roadmap, feature prioritization, design trade-offs, and stakeholder management.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Kathy Pham and Sahil Joshi
Faculty Lead:
Kathy Pham
United States