Senior Director of Product Development - CSR2

Game Design & Production London, London

At NaturalMotion, we make games that wow people. We innovate to create experiences that previously were impossible and that would not exist without us. We take pride in making titles that reach a large audience and in creating communities that last.

You are ambitious, intelligent, and intellectually curious. You are a self-disciplined problem-solver, who is respectful and straightforward with all your colleagues. You are trusting and trusted, flexible and emotionally mature, and you thrive on working with people who share these values.

As a Senior Director of Product Development (SDPD) you will have a clear understanding of your leadership style and its impact on others, and be able to use a range of directive and non-directive leadership skills to get the best from your team.

You will balance delivering results with caring for the needs of your team. You will motivate and guide others to excellence, acting as a role model for organisational, technical, and creative skills, whilst showing others ‘what good looks like’.

Assertive when needed, you ensure the requirements of your team and your business are met by stakeholders at all levels. Confident in your decision making, you nevertheless think carefully before you speak and act.

Job Purpose:

NaturalMotion’s Racing Studio is looking for a Senior Director of Product Development to oversee production and execution of the racing franchise.

Working with the VP Racing, the Senior Director of Product Development is a key leader, across the whole franchise, to achieve business-critical objectives relating to the development and live operation of our games. Masters of their craft, our Senior Directors of Product Development are key influencers and mentors Zynga-wide.

The SDPD partners with the Vice President (VP) to define the delivery strategy including team structure, third party vendors, project management processes, budgets and project governance/reporting. The SDPD is adept at foreseeing and adapting to internal and external change in a way that minimises disruption to teams and business goals.

The SDPD maintains a vision for the Production function and has an eye constantly on process improvement. The SDPD has overall responsibility for game/feature development, release management, and the production management of the live operation.  In addition, the SDPD works with the Vice President, General Manager(s), and senior team, to cultivate a positive team culture that helps us attract, develop and retain the very best talent.

Reports to:
Vice President, Racing

Key Responsibilities:

  • Oversee production for the racing franchise throughout the development life-cycle, and during live-operations.
  • Contribute to KPI development and execute on delivery in collaboration with Vice President and Director of Product.
  • Partners with the VP to establish and maintain long term business strategy.
  • Establish processes and controls to manage cost, quality, and schedule across an entire game or other significant body of work.
  • Liaise with key business partners including Finance, Legal, Marketing, Central Tech, Central QA, Customer Service, Community and  Recruitment, bringing these groups together as needed to solve problems across multiple departments.
  • Proactively engage in leveling up the production function across Natural motion and Zynga. Establishes and shares best practices throughout the organisation.
  • Assess and improve team productivity, developing, maintaining and executing plans for continuous improvement. Develop processes that reliably provide transparency and effective risk mitigation.
  • Take on high-impact production improvement initiatives beyond scope of immediate team, e.g. across NaturalMotion and Zynga.
  • Working with the VP, manage and optimize costs to maintain target contribution margin for the franchise. Collaborate with VP of Production and Finance to create accurate forecasts and tracking mechanisms.
  • Creatively leverage vendors as appropriate to support delivery of the game/franchise strategy.
  • Partner with recruitment to establish and maintain the hiring plan, actively supporting the recruitment process.
  • Partner with VP on Racing Studio culture and leadership, the development and coaching of talent, and team-health.
  • As needed communicate operational plans, progress, risks and issues at all levels of the company, adapting communication style to suit each audience.

Essential Requirements:

  • Broad and deep knowledge of Production / Project Management gained in a fast-paced complex software development environment.
  • A passion for people and process - a deep-rooted desire to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of software development.
  • Strong leadership skills; ability to influence and challenge a variety of stakeholders.
  • A well-rounded manager with proven ability to lead, inspire and support passionate teams within an Agile, “Servant Leader” context.
  • Extensive experience of managing medium to large sized teams (50+ people).
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills and a communication style readily adaptable for all levels of the organisation.
  • Adept at facilitating teams arrive at creative solutions to complex problems.
  • Authentic interpersonal style with confident conflict resolution skills.
  • Solid understanding of the disciplines that create games: Production; Programming, Art; Design; Product Management; Data Science; Marketing; CS; Social
  • Be able to adapt quickly, become effective in new situations, in a highly dynamic environment.
  • Able to plan and manage complex, multi-year projects as well as the operation and support of a live game service.

Desirable Requirements:

  • Mobile and/or free-to-play games industry knowledge and experience.
  • Understanding of product management and free-to-play audience acquisition, retention and monetisation.
  • A leader in the project management / production community and industry at large.
  • Formal project management certification in Agile, Scrum or equivalent frameworks.
  • Experience managing external vendors and multi-site development.

 What do we give you?

  • Zynga Stock Unit allocation from day one.
  • A discretionary annual bonus.
  • Private healthcare.
  • The opportunity to join a contributory pension scheme.
  • 6 months fully paid maternity and 3 months fully paid paternity leave.
  • Flexible working hours.
  • Free lunch every Friday.
  • Free fruit & soft drinks.
  • 25 days holiday.
  • The opportunity to join the childcare voucher and cycle to work schemes we run.
  • Summer/Christmas parties and Happy Hour in every Studio, every Friday.