The Executive Director, New Product Development (NPD), leads a center of excellence for the development of new products that advance the mission of ETS. This center provides expertise in developing new products following a lean startup methodology and emphasizing agile approaches to development. It further emphasizes high market engagement throughout development, short sprints to address key assumptions of the product, and metered funding to explore the market and technical potential of a product concept. The staff within this division provide expertise and assemble and lead development teams, serving as Product Owners and working closely with the Product Managers. New product concepts may originate from the Product Managers in the business units of ETS, represent completely new lines of business for ETS, or be based on active engagement with external organizations to meet the demand of their customers.
The Executive Director is responsible for establishing and managing work teams drawn from across the ETS organization that are exploring new product concepts. This individual provides Product Owners from their staff who have expertise and experience in this kind of product development effort, and actively creates and fosters a community of practice within the group to further advance the core skill set of lean startup market innovation for new products. They manage and oversee the teams as they advance from early stage product conceptualization through later stage large-scale development and operational deployment, ensuring that early-stage product performance is consistent with expectations
- Develop, revise and execute on a strategic vision for the operation of the group, including the composition of the group going forward to best deliver on the potential of exploring many new product concepts simultaneously in partnership with other areas of ETS and/or external organizations, including identification of resource/training gaps and training and/or hiring to address gaps.
- Provide a high degree of expertise and experience in Lean Startup approaches to product development, including Design Thinking, Agile Development, Lean UX, and use this knowledge to design and implement a more effective and efficient product development process at ETS.
- Develop and lead orientation programs for the broader organization to better understand and use Design Thinking and Lean Startup, particularly focused on the teams that are involved in the new product development effort as part of broader organizational adaptation
- Identify market opportunities for new products that advance the ETS mission in areas where ETS does not currently operate and bring those concepts into the product development process, along with a robust rationale for possible ETS entry.
- Establish and manage a functional center of excellence that simultaneously operates multiple small teams, each focused on the pursuit of product concepts following Design Thinking and Lean Startup approaches, including the anticipation of new teams, selection of staff from within the organization to participate, training of team members, and ensuring adherence to best practices
- Encourage and execute on product pivots away from products that lack sufficient traction, including termination of product concepts in favor of new opportunities.
- Build strong organizational partnerships with senior leaders of ETS and external organizations.
- Identify, approach, develop and fulfill partnership opportunities with complementary organizations in a variety of markets/fields.
- Use strategic vision and influence to lead others in more senior, parallel and more junior positions--both internal and external to ETS--toward strategic goals.
- Propose, secure, and effectively manage budgets to support new product development.
- Lead groups of professionals, both within the direct reporting line and assembled from across the organization, in the conceptualization, design, development and deployment of new products.
- Excellence in the principles and execution of lean startup product development such as Design Thinking, Agile Development, and Lean UX.
- Outstanding leadership skills and the ability to identify opportunities and marshal resources in a matrix environment, including executive support, to ensure success of multiple simultaneous products.
- Excellent outreach, networking, consulting skills and ability with external organizations, markets, and product users to understand needs and to propose solutions with other organizations.
- Strong business development skills to lead collaborations, contract negotiations, and other outward facing activities that support the development and early commercial success of new products.
- Exceptional communication skills, verbal and written, and an ability to negotiate objectives, responsibilities, and outcomes with collaborators at more senior and more junior levels, both inside ETS and in external organizations.
- Experience and skills in end-to-end product development (from need identification to deployment), with an emphasis on early stage product conceptualization and market prototyping for products in education, assessment and related fields.
- Strong business acumen and a motivation for successful execution.
- Strategic orientation; defining multi-faceted long-term goals in new product development and the tactical plans necessary to execute on those goals to bring about the desired future state.
- Strong leadership skills, especially in generating engagement and enthusiasm across multiple reporting lines, organizational structures and areas of expertise, including strong mentoring and oversight skills of more junior staff.
- Excellent skills to lead through change and transformation, with an ability to define new priorities & opportunities in an ambiguous environment and gather organizational support.
Experience and Skills
Education, Certifications, or Special Licenses:
- Master's degree or equivalent work experience; master's degree in education, marketing, business administration or another field related to the development of new products for educational or workforce environments strongly preferred. Certifications in Agile, Lean UX, and Design Thinking preferred.
Relevant Years of Experience Required:
- At least 7 years of experience in conceptualizing, developing and launching new products.
- At least 5 years of leadership experience.
- Experience assembling and managing startup teams to explore new product concepts.
- Proficiency in agile-based market exploration sprints and managing the execution of those sprints effectively.
- Understanding of how to navigate metered funding in development efforts and associated prioritization of market assumptions for confirmation.
- Has experience developing experiments related to problem/solution fit.
- Has expertise in designing market fit tests and working with early indicator metrics to inform product concepts.
- Experience with product discovery and ideation, inclusive of customer empathy mapping and identification of key must-solve market problems.
- Experience using forward looking metrics to lead complex products from early problem/solution fit through to market fit prototyping.
- Proficiency in applying financial concepts associated with running a business, including profit and loss, cash flow, return-on-investment, and margins.
- Proficiency in developing and adapting business models, as well as identifying flaws in proposed business models.
- General proficiency in developing and negotiating business terms and working with the legal department to finalize business contracts.
- Ability to identify new product opportunities based on market and customer needs.
- Identify organizations with complementary strengths and approach them, developing relationships leading to collaborations on new products.
- Strong networking ability emphasizing exploration, inquiry and exploring opportunities for joint efforts.
- Quickly learn the goals, challenges and needs of others, both organizational and individual.
- Capability to develop creative solutions to problems, presenting and honing/adapting them based on feedback.
- Strong market and customer value orientation.
- Keen sense of commercialization and need for commercial viability.
- Risk management.
- Leading by influence rather than authority.
- Ability to inspire and motivate staff.
- Enthusiasm and persistence.
- Strong negotiation skills.
EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer of Women and Minorities.
EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer of protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities.
EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE is a Drug-free workplace.