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Director of Products

Houston , TX, USA | Rice University

  • Industry:
    Education (Higher)
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
  • Experience:
    10-12 years
Job Description:
72 people have viewed this job

We are a non-profit textbook publisher, learning software producer, and platform for learning research. Our mission is to provide every student with free or low-cost access to high-quality learning materials and tools that help them succeed in their education and career. We have created a library of free and openly licensed college textbooks that have served 6.2 million students, resulting in $576 million dollars in savings. We have created software to help college students in three of those subjects read with more engagement and practice more effectively, incorporating our research team’s expertise in cognitive science and machine learning.

We are embarking on an ambitious and exciting strategic initiative to create a unified experience for the faculty and students that use our textbooks and learning tools. We are creating a compelling student experience for our entire library that generates meaningful data that we can use to improve student performance and learning. This new platform will also serve as the hub for learning research, where we can discover what learning strategies best serve students given their individual differences (personalization) and then turn those discoveries into practical benefits for students.

We are looking for an experienced product leader who will be responsible for developing the vision of the products and corresponding strategy, managing the product team, and integrating new research and technological trends into the products, in alignment with the mission of the organization.

This role will be responsible for the vision of the organization’s product portfolio – ensuring the organization is building, releasing and supporting the right products to meet its mission and vision – and for the leadership of the Product Management team. This role will work closely with the rest of the leadership and the technology teams to maintain alignment, collaborating with all other key functional areas such as content development, marketing and support teams, to ensure the best products are being developed on-time and to the expectations of key customers and constituents. Along with setting the strategy for the different products, the director of products will be responsible for communicating and ensuring the entire company understands the vision and direction for the product portfolio.

The individual in this role will have strong skills for communicating and reinforcing that strategy across teams. The director of products will be responsible for representing the combination of product, market, and company success rather than a single specific function. A successful individual in this role will be one with exceptional listening and communication skills who can serve as a trusted broker at the executive level between various functional concerns and who can bring consensus and alignment around the product vision.

This position is grant funded and continuation of this position is dependent on funding and need.

Education Required

Bachelor's Degree.

Experience may not be substituted for the education requirement.

Education Preferred

Masters degree in business, marketing or similar field.

Experience required 

- Ten years of related experience in product management with five years of experience in digital product management

- Strong leader with a successful track record managing a product team, with ability to collaborate and work alongside a variety of departments such as sales, marketing, customer success, engineering, and finance

- Experience resolving conflicting stakeholder concerns around the product, creating a unified product vision, and implementing that across the organization

Experience Preferred

- Experience managing teams with the ability to work through strong growth cycles and organizational and staffing changes

- Experience as a head of product management

- Experience in large, global, and complex organizations as well as young, agile startup companies

- History of leveraging agile methodologies to partner with engineering and IT leaders to deliver the product roadmap

Skills Required

- Ability to listen well to various, sometimes competing, stakeholder concerns and to integrate them into the vision of the products

- Ability to gather product requirements into an actionable product roadmap

- Demonstrates high levels of leadership, diplomacy, persuasion, analytical influence, and judgment skills

- Excellent communication skills and empathy for different internal and external stakeholders, with the ability to balance conflicting needs from different teams and to work well with leaders and contributors from other disciplines

- Ability to multi-task, handle pressure, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment without a lot of direction or oversight

- Demonstrated ability to assess customer feedback, competitor and market data to define compelling value propositions and competitive differentiators

Skills Preferred 

- Strong conceptual and independent thinker with demonstrated experience in researching and analyzing technologies and markets

- Comfortable and adept operating in a highly collaborative and matrixed environment

- Ability to implement changes to his/her organization to improve the organization’s effectiveness

- A strong sense of curiosity and openness, with the ability to learn quickly and adapt to a changing market






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