How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.
I started my career in GovTech as a Service Designer in 2019 and worked on a project with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to redesign the application and approving process on the Government Paid Leave Portal. It was a wonderful experience with MSF colleagues to streamline the workflow that not only provided better guidance to users every step of the way but also helping MSF officers to more easily review the applications through a backend system.
When the pandemic hit Singapore in early 2020, I joined the SupplyAlly product team as a Product Manager. Together with the team of engineers and designer, we rolled out multiple features and campaigns to help streamline the distribution process for multiple government agencies.
Most of them were involved in nationwide distribution initiatives such as reusable masks, TraceTogether tokens and ART kits. Because of the work we did in SupplyAlly which is to manage individual beneficiaries’ entitlements and balance, we were able to pivot the use of the same technology to support other use cases such as the redemption of the SingapoRediscover Vouchers and the development of a new product called GovWallet.
What was the most impactful project you worked on this year?
I had the privilege to witness two new product launches in November 2021. It is fulfilling to see the fruition of the hard work the teams put in. The first was the Government Paid Leave Portal and another was GovWallet. A large part of my time this year was invested in GovWallet’s product conceptualisation, engagement, and development. This was a product that was spun off from the SupplyAlly codebase.
It is a digital wallet module that manages a citizen’s government payouts and acts like a payment facilitator to transfer the funds from the government agency’s bank account to the recipient’s bank account using PayNow. It made the most impact on me given the many learnings I had throughout the product lifecycle, from conceptualisation to launch within a year.
What is one unexpected learning from 2021?
As a product manager, I am constantly learning how to balance business requirements, technical feasibility, and user experience… oh, and not forgetting the timeline to meet. The theory sounds simple, but this moulds me to constantly think and consider trade-offs in every decision. I am grateful for the opportunity to do that in this role and hope that I’ll become better in it.
What’s your favourite memory from the past year?
Our team started organising weekly sharings every Friday when we would take turns to share about anything under the sun. Through these sessions, we learnt about each other’s travels, meaningful things that they do and the things that shape our values. I enjoy that and though work is important, there’s so much more beyond the work we are doing, and I love that!
What’s a tool or technique you’re excited to explore in 2022?
I am interested in negotiation strategies and techniques. I like learning how people’s minds are wired and what people look out for in a conversation. It’ll be interesting to gain some skills in that.
What are your priorities for 2022?
I’ll like to be able to spend more time mentoring teams than executing work. However, 2022 work priorities are quite lined up – we have a few major feature launches for GovWallet in the first half of the year and I’ll be focusing on those first.
As for priorities beyond work, I’d like to learn a new motor skill and skateboarding could be it.
Who are the mentors and heroes that inspire you?
I am fortunate to have three mentors. Two of them have retired and I am glad they are enjoying the fruit of their labour now. I would still go to them to seek advice on how they would handle situations that I encounter at work sometimes. They have many leadership traits but what inspires me the most is their willingness to pause what they are doing and listen. They invest their knowledge and time in others. I am not there yet but I do aspire to be someone who develops and invest in others too.
What gets you up in the morning?
Besides my alarm, it’s the day’s tasks that get me up every morning and keep me going. I am a very task-oriented person and I stay focused to complete what is needed before the deadline.