Sr Product Manager, Innovative Technology and Analytic Solutions

Posted on: January 6, 2020


Iowa City, IA

Job Description

ACT is a nonprofit organization helping people achieve educational and workplace success.  Our programs are designed to boost lifelong learning in schools and workplaces around the world. Whether it’s guiding students along their learning paths, enabling companies to develop their workforce, fostering parent, teacher, and counselor understanding of student progress, guiding job seekers toward career success, or informing policymakers about education and workforce issues. ACT is passionate about making a difference in all we do.

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Job Responsibilities

As a member of ACTNext, ACT’s innovation hub, the Product Manager provides product leadership to ACTNext technology and analytics solutions for both internal and external customers. This role builds product roadmaps for technology and analytic products in early stages of the product lifecycle, working closely with customers, ACTNext’s business strategist, developers, subject matter experts, researchers, and other stakeholders.  The Product Manager has the primary responsibility of working directly with business, operational, and technology stakeholders to ensure that their needs and priorities are clearly translated into epics and features and leads the Agile Product Ownership functions responsible for defining features and user stories and prioritizing team backlogs to ensure the streamlined execution of business and customer priorities.  The Product Manager also has a significant role in ensuring quality of deliverables by accepting epics and features as done.

  • Provides product leadership to ACTNext technology and analytics solutions for both internal and external customers for multiple products
  • Develops and delivers upon product roadmaps for technology and analytic products in early stages of the product lifecycle, working closely with stakeholders, business strategists, and researchers
  • Work directly with business stakeholders (including ACTNext and ACT business strategists, Measurement and Learning Business Unit leadership, and Core Operations leadership) to understand business needs, represent user journeys, and to translate priorities into a consumable Agile backlog
  • Develops and communicates program vision and roadmaps to business stakeholders, scrum teams, and other interested stakeholders
  • Incorporates expectations of customers in delivering required results and shares information about how trends may influence products, services, and customer needs
  • Uses Lean Analytics and other Innovation Accounting methods to understand and communicate product viability, feasibility, and desirability, conducting pilots and experiments as necessary
  • Facilitates transition of viable products to business units and Core Operations teams in support of commercialization and operationalization efforts.
  • Communicate needs of the business stakeholders directly to scrum team members to ensure understanding of business priorities (usually as part of establishing, maintaining, and owning the backlog)
  • Lead product owners and business analysts to elicit, construct, and develop high quality, detailed, and traceable requirements, requirements scope, and user stories
  • Manage and track features, epics, and user stories (including effective acceptance criteria) in organizational tools (such as Jira)
  • Participate in and where appropriate facilitate scrum team ceremonies including Program Increment Planning and Sprint Planning
  • Work directly with engaged third parties (such as vendors and partners) to develop and communicate features, epics, and requirements (where applicable)

Candidate Requirements


  • Bachelor’s degree required, preferably in engineering or business discipline
  • Master’s degree preferred
  • Or an equivalent combination of education and experience from which comparable knowledge and abilities can be acquired


  • Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience, including significant experience as a Product Manager driving delivery of medium to large, complex projects and work that includes a strong combination of the following:
    • Developing roadmaps
    • Working with business stakeholders to prioritize work for business value
    • Developing, documenting, or managing requirements
    • Managing complex technology and innovative solutions, including those with substantial analytic (e.g., machine learning, predictive modeling, user metrics) components
  • Experience and demonstrated success leading, managing, and building technology project teams required
  • Experience with Agile methodologies including Scrum and Kanban (required) with experience in backlog grooming and writing and developing requirements in a user story format; SAFe methodology (preferred)
  • Product manager who achieves a frequent release cadence with team with a focus on delivery of value to customers
  • Pragmatic Marketing Framework certification preferred
  • Experience building Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas preferred

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Proven ability to be successful in a fast-paced environment using creative solutions related to capacity or budget constraints
  • Self-starter, action oriented, and strong individual contributor and manager
  • Ability to manage multiple products at one time, prioritize and drive work and manage ambiguity through problem identification and resolution
  • Ability to answer questions related to product viability, feasibility, and desirability and/or delight internal and external customers by designing and delivering upon product roadmaps
  • Ability to translate business needs into features, epics, and requirements, then into action, using tools such as process modeling, creation of other visual models, business rule capture, user stories, use cases, functional requirements, and capturing effective user acceptance criteria
  • Strong communication, collaboration and relationship building skills are needed to facilitate critical discussions and lead events with stakeholders at various levels across organization; translate business needs into solutions; and engage in and influence organizational escalation
  • Ability to envision and represent products with substantial analytic components
  • Exceptional problem solving skills and decision making abilities
  • Ability to consistently demonstrate accountability and ownership
  • Ability to indirectly lead other team members effectively through ambiguity and change
  • Ability to understand and evaluate technological and process complexities and act on as needed
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