During the recent Gov 2.0 Camp in Los Angeles the notion of jargon came about. I can't help but think about parallels with product management in general.
Let's say you have a product (or service) can do X, Y, Z. It's very tempting to crow about the fact that the product can do X, Y and Z. The reality of the matter is, no one cares about the product (it's not about you, it's about them). All a prospective person who encounters that product cares about is how can it help me kick ass. If it doesn't, they move on to other things.
To facilitate this process, the product manager really needs to know their audience. What are their needs, desires, stressors and the like? More specifically, what are they doing now at and how can you build from it? Think of it as basic marketing, or even basic community organizing. No matter the specific discipline, hopefully the net result is the same -- a deeper understanding of your audience.
It seems to me, government (1.0 and 2.0) is in the same boat. How does government help the average person be better at what they do? Whether it's getting on a bus, or getting a pothole fixed, everyone has a role to play in getting people into flow state of empowerment . While the initial discussion that triggered this post was about jargon, I really see this as effective product management.