R&D Operation Director
At Palo Alto Networks® everything starts and ends with our mission:
Being the cybersecurity partner of choice, protecting our digital way of life.
We have the vision of a world where each day is safer and more secure than the one before. These aren’t easy goals to accomplish – but we’re not here for easy. We’re here for better. We are a company built on the foundation of challenging and disrupting the way things are done, and we’re looking for innovators who are as committed to shaping the future of cybersecurity as we are.
The R&D operations director will act as a senior-level partner to the SVP, R&D for the product areas of Prisma Access, Prisma SaaS, Virtualization, SD-WAN, and Data Protection. Some of these teams have strong interdependencies and some operate more on their own. All of them have a high degree of cross-functional interactions with teams including executive leadership, sales and marketing, support, finance, etc. The role will be broad and if done correctly, will have a positive and wide-ranging impact on the success of these product teams. At a high level, the role will encompass two main areas:
Senior level reporting and operations
- Support consistency across the senior leadership team (Directors and VPs) in areas including product strategy, budgeting, pricing, people, and reporting
- Drive operational execution across the different product areas and support their interactions with cross-functional teams
Engineering program management
- Help define common tools, metrics and reporting methods for development efforts
- Ensure on time and consistent delivery across each product area
- Work in partnership with the SVP of product strategy and operations, a direct report of the Chief Product Officer
- Drive cross-product activities that span multiple product teams. Coordinate decisions and communicate as needed to appropriate constituents.
- Represent the product team in situations where a single representative is needed, make decisions on behalf of the team, and communicate decisions back to the product leaders.
- Partner closely with other functions relevant to the team, including Communications, PR, Sales, Marketing, Finance, People, Legal and Operations. Use cross-functional knowledge and seek to understand issues, trends and perspectives that may influence the business.
Skills to succeed
- Anticipating issues and resolving conflicts: As a leader, you should be able to look forward and understand where each team member might face challenges in the project. Whether an issue is anticipated or arises unexpectedly, you need to be able to work with their teams to diffuse tensions. Often, this work is done “offline,” rather than in front of other people, so that individuals can address their concerns clearly, without accusations. When resolving conflicts, a leader must also be able to maintain their composure and not be thrown off guard.
- Understanding your indirect team: In order to effectively lead people you do not directly manage, you have to understand each team member’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition, giving your team feedback on both their strengths and on areas in which they need to improve is crucial to encourage growth. While this may lead to difficult conversations, it will help both you and your team members succeed.
- Having perspective: As a leader, you need to know not only what must happen in the moment, but also anticipate what should happen in the future. This will allow you to formulate a clear plan of action for your project.
- Being able to negotiate: When issues arise, your role as a leader will entail convincing opposing parties to see the situation through each other’s eyes. It will be helpful to understand both positional negotiation, which is holding to and only arguing for a fixed position, and interest-based negotiation, in which parties collaborate to reach a mutually beneficial decision. These negotiation skills are necessary for effectively leading your team towards success and resolving any conflicts that may stand in the way.
- Communicating: Know your audience and vary your style based on it. For example, you should communicate with the board of directors differently than staff, and interact with the public in yet another way. By tailoring your communication to each audience, you will be able to increase your credibility and best showcase your technical knowledge.
- BS degree or equivalent practical experience, MS degree or MBA preferred.
- 10+ years of experience in product management and/or engineering operational roles.
- Experience partnering effectively with cross-functional teams and leaders up to the C-level.
- Ability to work across multiple functions - including Communications, PR, Sales, Marketing, Finance, People, Legal and Operations.
- Ability to effectively influence and communicate cross-functionally with all levels of management with exceptional verbal and written communication skills.
- Effective Program Management skills, with demonstrated ability to lead complex strategic and operational initiatives.
- Excellent judgment and critical thinking skills, and drive for results.
- Knowledge and familiarity with technology in the cyber security space.
To stay ahead of the curve, it’s critical to know where the curve is, and how to anticipate the changes we’re facing. For the fastest growing cybersecurity company, the curve is the evolution of cyberattacks, and the products and services that proactively address them. Our engineering team is at the core of our products – connected directly to the mission of preventing cyberattacks. They are constantly innovating – challenging the way we, and the industry, think about cybersecurity. These engineers aren’t shy about creating products to solve problems no one has tackled before. They define the industry, instead of waiting for directions. We need individuals who feel comfortable in ambiguity, excited by the prospect of challenge, and empowered by the unknown risks facing our everyday lives that are only enabled by a secure digital environment.
Our engineering team is provided with an unrivaled opportunity to build the products and practices that will support our company growth over the next decade, defining the cybersecurity industry as we know it. If you see the potential of how incredible people products can transform a business, this is the team for you. If you don’t wait for directions, instead, identifying new features and opportunities we have to just get better, this is your new career.
We’re trailblazers that dream big, take risks, and challenge cybersecurity’s status quo. It’s simple: we can’t accomplish our mission without diverse teams innovating, together. To learn more about our dedication to inclusion and innovation, visit our Life at Palo Alto Networks page and our diversity website.
Palo Alto Networks is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity in our workplace, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or other legally protected characteristics.Additionally, we are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all qualified individuals with a disability. If you require assistance or an accommodation due to a disability or special need, please contact us at email@example.com.