Design Platform Lead

One of the keys to Spotify R&D’s success is our ability to decentralize how we develop products so we can execute quickly on each of the deep vertical business units we organize to serve. Nowhere is that more true than in our horizontal platform teams, which not only drive the product development disciplines of every one of our business units, but creates the standards, tools, and systems that ensure excellence and speed. Design Platform is one of those platform teams and has the enviable task of owning the craft, execution, and elevation of Product Design across all our business units and — by extension — Spotify as a whole.

What We’re Looking For

We’re searching for someone to lead the Design Platform Tribe at Spotify. You will be reporting to the VP of our R&D Platform team and will be accountable for developing/executing on the strategy of our Design Platform Tribe and fostering the community and practice of Product Design across Spotify. Your leadership will be in concert with the design leaders embedded in each of our business units, which means you’ll need an exceptionally strong ability to drive results through advocacy and influence. This is not a role for a one-name lead singer who needs the spotlight, we work like a many-instrumented supergroup and so should you.

To be successful, you have experience in the following areas:

  • Motivation – You are someone who has a deep appreciation for the competitive advantage excellence in Design brings Spotify, and you can share this passion to motivate the team and the wider organisation.

  • Cultural leadership – You have experience in leading design culture in an agile product development environment, and you are able to foster and grow the culture in cross-functional teams through advocacy.

  • Team building – Developing leadership, supporting managers, and growing the whole team across multiple levels is second nature to you. Ideally, you have been through hyper growth, and have experience with an organisation of 30-80 people across multiple locations/timezones.

  • Collaboration – You have deep history working with and leading Product Managers, Developers, and Product Insights/Researchers, as well as a working understanding of the technological systems that power design systems for services at scale like ours.

  • Design Obsession – We need you to be the expert in the room at all times about all things design (and at the intersection of tech + design). It may not always be top of everyone’s mind, but you are passionate about teaching everyone why it should be.

Your teams will drive design excellence across all our many platforms – mobile, desktop, web, and more, scalable backend services, and a deep focus on data and optimization.

What you’ll do

  • Lead and inspire the Design Platform organisation be an active contributor to the wider Design leadership team. Your organisation will include Product Management, Engineering, Product Designers, Prototypers, Editorial Design/Art Direction, UX Writers, Voice Designers, Accessibility specialists, Design Operations/Program Management. You must be capable of leading and empowering this collection of talent, but not necessarily fluent in all their languages.

  • Drive alignment in practice of Product Design at Spotify, providing guidance and oversight with the cross-functional Product Design leaders across the company to ensure hiring practices, modern skills, craft development, processes, and methodologies are applied appropriately.

  • Take responsibility for the Design System strategy and roadmap and contribute to efforts to accelerate the delivery and quality of product development in our business units.

  • Actively participate in local design initiatives and determine when consistency and strict adherence to design systems are appropriate vs. local deviation from global patterns or components.

  • Play an active role in partnering with cross-functional peers in leading cohesive design across the Spotify Platform. 

  • Manage the team to ensure continued personal and professional growth and create an environment that attracts world-class product, design, and engineering professionals as the team grows and develops.

  • Define challenging objectives and key results together with the team, monitor progress, eliminate roadblocks, and prevent distractions.

  • Work from our London, Stockholm or NYC office with occasional travel to our other major R&D centers (London, Stockholm, NYC)

Who you are

  • You know that “design” is a verb, not a hill to die on (but that’s not going to stop you from dragging every person in Spotify up that hill to look at how beautiful the view is on Design Hill).

  • You have extensive experience leading both design teams with a variety of crafts (visual, interaction/IA, writing, research, etc.) and hybrid product development teams at consumer-focused tech, media companies, or agencies. This includes skills like management of senior managers and across multiple levels of Product/UX Designer experience.

  • You are a player/coach and servant leader with practical design chops you don’t mind dusting off from time-to-time. You’ve shipped many consumer products over the years, and understand what it takes to create awesome, consumer-oriented experiences.

  • You’re a fantastic communicator. You have the communication skills to help you work cross-functionally with business stakeholders, You shine most at motivating others to carry forward and execute a strategy without needing to be in the room.

  • You have a user and data-focused design mentality. You are constantly looking to hone your teams instincts through user feedback and data insight. You understand the role and importance of qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

  • You are hungry to learn and evolve in all things. From leadership skills to design craft to process to industry and market trends — you never stop pushing into the next big challenge.

  • You are familiar and comfortable driving and governing large design systems that you may or may not own directly. Balancing the needs of the larger design ecosystem with the practicalities of a company that values speed-to-ship over all things.

  • You are able to provide a brief explanation in your application of why you are excellent for this role, while highlighting the part of the work you lead vs did in those roles.

What We Value

Dogmatic user focus, innovation, collaboration, transparency, passion and playfulness are the start. We believe our culture is a core part of what makes Spotify successful. We’re looking for someone who understands our culture, will thrive within it, and will help shape it as it evolves.

We are proud to foster a workplace free from discrimination. We strongly believe that diversity of experience, perspectives, and background will lead to a better environment for our employees and a better product for our users and our creators. This is something we value deeply and we encourage everyone to come be a part of changing the way the world listens to music.

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