Jun 18, 2019

Director, Product Development

  • American Public Media
  • Pasadena, CA, USA
Development Performing Arts

Job Description

The Director, Product Development is charged with overseeing the development and management of digital products for Southern California Public Radio, home of KPCC and LAist.com, including web sites, mobile applications and other emerging platform plays. The role will spearhead product strategy for listeners and readers who rely on L.A.'s most listened-to NPR station KPCC and LAist.com to stay informed, inspired, and connected across platforms and devices of their choice. This includes engaging deeply with our audience, surfacing requirements from all internal stakeholders, facilitating development and implementation of new editorial and business processes, acting as liaison with third-party vendors, and overseeing internal development teams.

The position will be responsible for creating, testing, documenting, deploying, measuring, and monetizing new products, features, and emerging media experiences throughout the product life cycle. This person ensures that there are clear product plans and roadmaps for key digital products and projects. Software engineering and product design reports to this person. In addition, this position works in collaboration with the other business units and department in the company, including content, membership, and technology.

We are looking for a unique blend of user experience expert, editorial team player, e-commerce fanatic, technophile, and avid public media fan. The role will require someone who:

Position Responsibility:

  • Collaboratively define product vision for SCPR in partnership with the digital team, senior stakeholders, and other departments
  • Work with editorial and revenue teams to define new features and products
  • Combines the organizational skills of project management with a product manager's talent for understanding how people engage with content in various contexts
  • Embraces that SCPR's principal product is trust in our journalism
  • Constantly questions existing assumptions around business efforts, systems, user experience, audience needs and best practices
  • Wants to discover, verify, and meet the real news/information/entertainment needs of existing news audiences and adjacent markets
  • Thrives in an environment of constant feedback, from users, the newsroom, leadership, designers, and developers
  • Maintain high-level product roadmaps for key digital products
  • Ensure that a standard process for product and project management are in place
  • Manage requirements gathering and prioritization around various products
  • Oversee software engineering and user design for all of SCPR's audience-facing digital products
  • Review, validate, assign and verify incoming bug and enhancement reports, and manage bug tracking.
  • Develop test plans and automated testing support.
  • Hire, supervise, train and manage direct staff through coaching, mentorship, performance meetings and on-going feedback. Involve HR on performance issues as needed.
  • Foster a creative and productive work environment. Create development opportunities and individualized development plans for staff and training to enhance skills and foster growth.
  • Validate internal and external product releases.

Essential Functions:

  • Orchestrate product roadmaps that deliver meaningful, focused releases to customers while affording maximum flexibility for development teams and changing priorities
  • Promote features that demonstrate a great chance of success and discard bad, mediocre or merely good product ideas before they are built
  • Build audience and revenue through successful product development and deployment
  • Oversee all functions of the product life cycle, including hands-on audience and user research, product definition, requirements gathering, prototyping, business partnership development, project management, information architecture and design, audience and QA testing, and metrics
  • Articulate features and requirements for the design and development team, and document those requirements for SCPR senior leadership
  • Document goals and KPIs prior to all releases and launched initiatives
  • Quickly and efficiently vet product ideas
  • Develop a deep knowledge of SCPR's existing suite of products for the web and mobile devices, as well as the systems that support them
  • Uncover customer needs and motivations that lead to innovative product ideas through a variety of audience research methods: in-person interviews, direct observation, remote usability testing, surveys and responding to customer support requests
  • Improve internal organizational workflows
  • Iteratively improve existing products
  • Help triage bugs on development and live site/app issues
  • Lead QA/UAT, gathering feedback from stakeholders and beta testers
  • Assist with the discovery, cultivation, evaluation and successful negotiation of new business partnerships and 3rd party relationships
  • Develop and execute communications/marketing plans to promote SCPR products and services
  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor's Degree or equivalent working experience
  • Experience managing and working with engineering teams through agile software development and release processes (7+ years)
  • Experience marketing and shipping B2C products to large audiences
  • Deep understanding of the digital user experience, incl. user behavior, personalization
  • Experience with web and application development, especially native mobile SDKs, Ruby on Rails, test driven development, database schemas, and JavaScript frameworks
  • Experience with wireframing, rapid prototyping and iterative design process
  • Strong analytical background and experience using tools such as Google Analytics
  • Experience in online advertising, traffic-acquisition (SEO) and online media publishing
  • Broad understanding of internet business models and the ability to perform basic financial projections
  • Supervisory/management experience is required - must demonstrate an ability to foster high standards and an ability to coach, inspire and lead.
  • Experience working with large-scale, consumer-oriented Web sites important
  • Experienced in the use of bug reporting and project management software

Required Skills, Knowledge and Abilities:

  • Sharp assessment skills with an ability for ruthless prioritization
  • Strong ability to create clarity amid chaos
  • Comfortable with running lean
  • Solid oral and written communication skills in an interdisciplinary team environment
  • Excellent at translating abstract content and product concepts to stakeholders
  • Ability to balance small task management with creative big-picture product thinking
  • Strong understanding of technical and system-related component of potential and existing products. Must be able to identify and define technical requirements
  • Demonstrated ability to execute user research in an agile environment
  • Ability to learn new technology quickly
  • Ability to work independently with little supervision
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Supervisory skills and ability to recruit, coach and develop talent
  • Leadership and personnel skills and ability to inspire and lead the staff.
  • Ability to work under heavy deadline pressure.
  • Solid oral and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team environment.
  • Familiarity with communicating technical requirements.

Preferred Skills and Experience:

  • A strong interest in KPCC/LAist, public media, and on-demand audio (podcasts).
  • Experience in working with enterprise or large-scale, consumer-oriented digital products
  • Experience with high-traffic media or e-commerce sites
  • Proficient in either basic design tools & process (Photoshop, Illustrator, sketching) or basic web development skills (HTML, CSS, Javascript)
  • Open Source Software contributor or maintainer

Reporting To This Position:    

  • Sr. Product Manager
  • Team Lead, Software Engineering
  • Product Designer

Physical Demands and Working Conditions:

  • Must be able to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation
  • Physical Demands: 
    • Required to move about in an office environment and sit for extended periods of time
    • Frequent use of hands for data entry/keystrokes and simple grasping.  
  • Working Conditions: 
    • Moderate noise level
    • Occasional exposure to prevalent weather conditions.

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