Assistant Director - Product Design & Development

Sheffield Permanent
  • Executive level role within a Russell Group University
  • Opportunity to lead a large team in an environment of investment and innovation

About Our Client

The University of Sheffield IT Services Directorate manages the University's information and technology environment. It develops and delivers services supporting the University's world-class learning, teaching, research and professional services. The University has a turnover of c£750M per year and is a member of the elite Russell Group of Research-led Institutions.

The IT Directorate supports close to 30,000 students and 8000 staff across five faculties and multiple professional service departments. The department has c240 staff and is projected to continue to grow by 30% to deliver University strategy aims over the next three years. This is in line with significant investment in our technology-enabled strategy that will completely transform our services and meet our aim to lead the sector for product and service delivery.

Job Description

You will be a member of the ITS Executive Team responsible for the delivery of the new technology-enabled strategy as well as sector-leading IT operational services.

You will report to the IT Director who has overall responsibility for all products and services.

The role has the following direct reports:

  • Head of Student Product
  • Head of Education Product
  • Head of Digital Workplace
  • Head of Workforce Product
  • Head of QA
  • Head of Development
  • Head of Product Delivery

You will be critical to the ongoing development of our product design and development function and the role is expected to evolve and develop based on the knowledge, experience and capabilities of the successful candidate. Currently, the main duties are as follows:

  • Own and deliver the product development strategy and approach to delivering the University Technology Enabled Strategy via the six roadmap areas - Education, Research, Workplace, Workforce, Student and Infrastructure and Enablers.
  • Build, manage and mentor the product design and development team to deliver the four core product-led areas. (Research and I&E have separate leadership but are required to meet the same standards)
  • Develop and own the development, quality assurance and integration teams to deliver the product development strategy and the delivery of high-quality products.
  • Develop the required communities of practice across all teams and in key teams across the University.
  • Champion user experience, service design and inclusivity across all technology-enabled products.
  • Create a clear relationship between the product development function and the wider University to ensure that all products and services meet operational and strategic needs.
  • Embed an iterative product development approach across the IT team and University customers.
  • Ensure that value is delivered as quickly as possible to customers and that the IT product and services meet the University's needs.
  • Be a member of the IT Executive Team that works collectively to achieve our strategic aims.
  • Have University-wide impact in ensuring that the product team design, develop and deliver high-quality products and services delivered to all staff and students.
  • Work with PD&D direct reports to maintain a Product strategy that continually improves the product groups to ensure that product decline reduces and an overall experience step change is delivered. Be able to quantify the step change and have agreed targets to improve it year on year.
  • Collaborate with peers and establish a leading role in product design and development across the HE sector.
  • Complete the roll-out of an Agile Methodology and roadmap to all Product and PS teams. Have defined measures that demonstrate the real impacts of the change and develop a champion network that supports its adoption throughout the University.
  • As a member of our professional staff, you will be expected to demonstrate a commitment to the professional behaviours set out in the Sheffield Professional Framework.
  • As a member of staff, you will be encouraged to make ethical decisions in your role, embedding the University sustainability strategy into your working activities wherever possible.
  • Any other duties, commensurate with the grade of the post.

The Successful Applicant

We are seeking a creative, high-performing and engaging leader who can work with the IT Director and other members of the IT Executive team to continue to develop and build a function that will realise these aims.

Our ideal candidate will have a wide range of experience in large-scale product-led design and development and will critically understand the importance of design and development standards, service design and user experience. You will have a track record of delivering multiple strands of delivery in a complex portfolio of products and services.

As a leader, you will be able to establish relationships with a wide range of customers and stakeholders across the University and beyond. To achieve this, you will continue to build a high-performing team and develop them to have the right skills and processes to deliver.

This is a rare opportunity to work in an exceptional University, within a creative and innovative team who have the drive and determination to design and deliver sector-leading products and services to our wide customer base.

Essential Experience:

  • Demonstrable leadership skills and experience in building and managing successful, high-performing individuals and teams.
  • Experience with full agile software lifecycle product development and processes.
  • Experience in building product and development delivery teams and transforming traditional development functions into high-performing product-led development teams.
  • Experience in running communities of practice across large and diverse delivery teams.
  • A proven creative and visionary in a product-led environment that builds teams that deliver customer value early and often.
  • A long history of building strong working relationships with a diverse range of customers, using these relationships to deliver products and services valued by these customers.
  • A commercial, strategic, innovative technology-led mindset to help inform customer needs and disrupts traditional views.
  • Knowledge of the education (but not necessarily the HE) sector - including the strategic challenges and opportunities faced by universities.
  • A degree or equivalent qualification/experience.
  • A can-do, problem-solving attitude and experience.

What's on Offer

A salary of between £75,987 - £99,097 depending on the experience, knowledge and skills of the successful candidate.

You will also be eligible to be considered for an annual salary review and/or bonus under the University's Professional Equivalent Pay Scheme, subject to the prevailing rules of the scheme.

If you join the University you will also have access to a Total Reward Package that includes a generous Pensions Scheme and annual leave entitlement, as well as access to a range of learning and development courses to support your own personalised portal where you can also access a comprehensive selection of benefits and offers to suit your challenging lifestyle needs, for example, financial wellbeing, travel options, shopping and cinema discounts.

This role will offer a hybrid working pattern, however, we would like candidates to be within a commutable distance of Sheffield.

Rutesh Shah
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Job summary

Head of Product
Technology & Telecoms
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Rutesh Shah
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