Director of Product

  • BallotReady
  • Chicago, IL, USA
Full time Engineering Executive Government Information Technology Management

Job Description

Overview

Right now, it’s almost impossible to vote informed on the entire ballot - as a result, most voters guess, leave blanks, or stay home altogether.

We believe that it’s critical to our democracy to help every voter cast an informed vote on every race, every election. That’s why we started BallotReady - a startup that creates digital nonpartisan voter guides and builds tools to help advocacy groups and campaigns inform and mobilize voters, powered by the most comprehensive database to every level of government.

Founded in 2015 with funding from the National Science Foundation, the Knight Foundation, and the University of Chicago, BallotReady is an award-winning Chicago startup now available nationwide. In 2020, we worked with organizations and brands, including Snapchat, Tiktok, Spotify, and the Miami Heat to inform and turn out over 35 million voters.

Now, we’re focused on upcoming elections in 2021 as well as thinking about how we can hold our elected officials accountable to empower our communities to take effective action year-round on the issues they care about. 

Role

The Director of Product is the advocate for voters, working to make the complexity of polling places, ballot measures, and local elections accessible for every race and every election. 

We are looking for someone passionate about diving into the practical details of advocacy, local government, and organizing to help drive concept ideation, roadmap development, and a comprehensive backlog and user stories that drive value for voters and community members seeking to create political change. The Director of Product will work directly with the COO to understand user problems, come up with creative UX and product solutions to solve them, and then work with engineering to execute on the roadmap. They will also lead and build our new product team, developing processes to collect and prioritize feedback from customer success and sales, build wireframes with tech and design, scope new products through interviews and user testing, and define what successful product development looks like at BallotReady.

We are looking for a natural problem solver who puts the voter and community member first, working amidst ambiguity to get the job done. We are a small team trying to do big things to make democracy work the way it should. 

This role will report directly to the COO. 
Note: we're in the process of standing up product as a new department. As a result, we have a number of different job positions open - we're looking to find the right leader and build the department around them.  

As part of this role, the Director of Product will have the following responsibilities:
  • Lead the product team in writing user stories and other supporting requirements artifacts that help engineering bring product features to life while prioritizing user goals
  • In partnership with the tech team & COO, guide BallotReady’s roadmap from requirements definition through design, launch and post-launch measure and iteration
  • Own KPI development for BallotReady products, including monitoring of qualitative and quantitative user feedback to help drive product decisions, improvements, and growth
  • Use data to support hypotheses and outcomes to drive roadmap priorities
  • Work with the product leadership team to build and drive a strong product culture that understands the importance of continuous improvement and learning
  • Collaborate with the data team to develop a deep understanding of the political data that powers our products and requirements associated with its collection and organization within the BallotReady database
  • Direct the product team in building, maintaining, and prioritizing a product backlog with epics and user stories
  • Communicate product changes, updates, and new features across BallotReady through release notes, documentation, and cross-team partnerships
  • Work with BallotReady designers to create UI wireframes, mockups and prototypes, and  facilitate user interviews and testing
  • Provide product demos and presentations to potential clients as needed
  • Assist with client training and customer support as needed

Who We’re Looking For
  • We’re looking for someone possessing some experience with user experience and product and is ready for additional leadership and responsibility. Candidates who have work experience designing in collaboration with engineers, founders, and users will be prioritized.
  • Ideal candidate will be obsessed with elections data, understanding edge cases, getting things right for voters. Knowledge of SQL and GIS is a plus and some familiarity with tables and databases is helpful as well. 
  • In addition, we’re looking for people with the following qualities:
  • Mission: All of our team members bring a deep commitment to our mission. They understand why this work matters - why great user experience can help someone understand their judicial candidates, complete a plan to vote, or take action on climate change in their local community. 
  • Curiosity: Our product team is intensely curious - about voters, elections, and political change. Our democracy is complex, requiring products that account for rank choice voting, fusion ballots, and vote by mail. More broadly, we’re intrigued by how we can make civic engagement meaningful, effective, and playful all at once. 
  • Data: We believe that good design and product decisions are based on data. We endeavor to ground prioritization in measurable goals and track performance based on clear indicators. A strong technical background and ability to understand our database is an asset, but we also support all of our team members in learning SQL and gaining an understanding of our civic data.
  • Accountability: At BallotReady, we’re strong believers in flexibility in exchange for accountability. We trust our team to understand our goals and allocate their time accordingly. This requires strong communication, organization, and self-reflection in order to manage multiple projects without a lot of oversight.
  • Transparency: Product teams receive a lot of feedback and requests - from customers, users, internal team members, and founders themselves. They also manage changes to core products and rollouts of new features, bug fixes and deadlines. An effective Director of Product will create systems to respond to incoming and outgoing communication with clarity and consistency, collaborating openly across departments and making decisions and processes visible for all.
  • Leadership: BallotReady is a startup, meaning that every single person contributes to our success, roles often change or evolve, and team members are frequently given new projects and asked to figure out how to make them happen. This position is new, so we’re looking for an ambitious problem-solver excited by the ambiguities and possibilities in the role. Ideal candidates are interested in stepping up to identify opportunities, build processes and drive collaborative solutions that will have a lasting impact. We’re seeking individuals with a strong interest in learning and growing together.

BallotReady values diversity, and has an explicit commitment to supporting people of color, people with disabilities, women, non-binary candidates, LGBTQIA+ candidates, people of all ages, and people from traditionally marginalized communities. We are actively committed to building a team at BallotReady that reflects the diversity of all voters.

Salary: $80,000 - $110,000

Benefits: equity, healthcare, dental, vision, disability, life insurance, 401k platform, fsa, commuter benefits, unlimited pto, paid/flexible parental leave
Location: Remote through Covid, open to remote long-term with a preference for Chicago