Digital Product Manager

Digital Product Manager, Royal Academy of Arts
Digital Department
Up to £34,000 plus annual staff incentive scheme and generous group pension
Based in Blackfriars

About the Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is one of the UK’s foremost arts institutions. We are best known for our world-class exhibitions including David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture, Ai Weiwei and our current blockbuster Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse. It is a particularly exciting time in our history. An ambitious ‘Masterplan’ by Sir David Chipperfield RA will be completed in time for our 250th anniversary in 2018 and will provide new galleries, a new learning centre and lecture theatre, dedicated spaces for our Collections and greater visibility of the art school at the heart of the Academy.

Accompanying this ambitious programme of organisational change is an exciting digital and technology strategy which has set challenging goals for the RA online:

● to grow our online audience by creating world-class content and products
● to deepen our users’ engagement with compelling experiences and a smooth user journey
● to convert digital audiences into on-site visitors, members, customers or donors by offering exciting and easy purchase options
● to retain our digital audiences for the longer term, by building loyalty-enhancing digital products and content.

About this position
We are looking for a creative problem-solver who can bring together a sound understanding of audience, business strategy and technology to join our award-winning team.  As one of two Digital Product Managers, you will set the vision for making the very best digital products the RA can create, and work with internal and external colleagues to ensure digital products are delivered that meet our business and user needs.

This is a varied role, where you’ll work on products as diverse as our historic collection, ticket and membership sales systems and mobile strategy. We are a hardworking and high performing team.  In return for your expertise and application we offer a truly supportive environment and genuinely interesting and meaningful work. And you will have a rare opportunity to affect the RA’s strategy and performance in the run-up to our 250th anniversary.

About you
You’ll have a focus on nurturing our digital products to keep them brilliant.  You will work with people across the organisation – developers, strategy, business unit owners – to develop products which support the RA’s business and charitable goals.

You will understand the needs of our users and act as their champion throughout the development process.
You will work with developers (internal and external), UX experts and agencies, and project managers to deliver digital products which are valuable, usable and feasible; you will balance strategic thinking with tactical agility to make sure products meet their user need, but are also delivered in time to be relevant.

You will be committed to the business and artistic goals and objectives of the RA and be able to match them with our users’ needs to unlock value.

You will find further details about this position in the Current Vacancies and How to Apply section of the Careers page on our website

Closing date for applications:  31 May 2016
Interviews to be held week commencing: 13 June 2016 



Business – This role is primarily about maximising business value from the products you will manage. You should be obsessed with optimising a product to achieve the RA’s artistic and business goals, while maximising return on the charity’s investment.  You will work with product owners throughout the organisation (for example, the Head of Collections, Head of Visitor and Friends Experience, or Summer Exhibition Manager), get to know their business goals and their users, and deliver products which enhance our user’s interface.

Technology – You don’t need to know how to code, but you do need to understand the RA’s technology stack and the level of effort required to deliver particular features. You should be comfortable conversing with technical staff and ‘asking the stupid questions’ when appropriate. On some projects, you will work with a technical project manager who has the responsibility for delivering packages of development work.

User Experience – You will be the voice of the user inside the RA, and you must be passionate about our user experience. You don’t need to be a designer, but you do need to be out there testing the product, talking to users and getting feedback first hand, which you can then translate into developer-friendly language, with the help of our project manager.

You need to balance these three – sometimes conflicting – concerns in order to succeed. You’ll work alongside another Product Manager and work across a diverse portfolio of products, to a challenging – but, we hope, rewarding – timescale.


1. Set a vision for the RA’s digital products and ongoing feature updates; working with the Head of Digital, Product Manager, Strategy Team and IT Director to identify opportunities, develop and prioritise

2. Conduct research into our market, wider trends affecting our users and the the user needs they have that the RA can solve

3. Product communication and evangelisation – making sure that everyone involved (from curators to developers) understand the vision behind our digital products and understand their role in creating something which works beautifully

4. Assimilate huge amounts of information – feedback from visitors or customers, quantitative data from our web analytics, research reports, market trends and statistics – and digesting/translating for different audiences

5. Lead the process of briefing internal developers or external providers; briefing and the creation of wireframes, prototypes or visual designs

6. Work with colleagues to organise user testing or prototype testing with groups of users (internal or external)

7. Work with the IT and strategy teams and business product owners to problem solve and develop products throughout the development cycle, with a focus on maintaining an excellent user experience.  Duties will include:
• developing customer journey maps
• leading on creating information architecture maps and managing content creators
• making decisions on prioritisation of developer stories in conjunction with the Head of Digital, Strategy and IT teams

8. Lead the process of acceptance testing throughout development projects; defining acceptance criteria for pieces of development and approving features and products for release

9. Work with IT Project Manager to devise and execute testing plans for projects, focusing on end-user acceptance testing

10. Work with the IT Project Manager, Head of Digital, IT Director and Strategy Programme Manager to update and manage the RA technology roadmap; specifically having responsibility for products and projects that relate to the digital strategy (ongoing UX improvements, mobile strategy, exhibition-related projects and community-building)

11. Manage or assist the management of digital strategy projects with external agencies and partners. For example:
• Building a mobile strategy for the Royal Academy’s enhanced campus
• Working on a rolling programme of user experience testing to extract maximum value from our existing digital products
• Working on a vision for how the RA’s collection can be presented and interpreted online; linking in with the onsite displays planned for 2018
• Building a vision for integrated ecommerce within the RA site, for example in art sales, picture framing or other marketplace solutions

12. Comply with all relevant Health & Safety policies, procedures and regulations and take appropriate and reasonable care for the safety of colleagues and visitors to the Academy.

13. Fulfil other duties as set out by the Head of Digital.  You will need to be flexible for this role; from conducting training or user research, to mocking up UX diagrams, to organising relevant signage or digital interpretation screens with IT and production colleagues.



● Experience working in digital product development, from strategic planning to product launch and ongoing management, including iterative improvement

● Requirement gathering from external and internal users, using interviews, questionnaires, workshops and other tools

● Managing external providers, from UX, product development and design agencies

● Experience of working in cross-functional teams, from subject matter experts and content creators to designers and developers

● Experience working in a cultural/media/arts environment would be a plus but is not essential


● A relentless focus on delivering workable and relevant digital solutions

● Fluency with technology and how it can be used to solve complex user and business problems

● A good understanding of digital design and UX, and how principles can be applied to create great products

● Ability to negotiate complex stakeholder environments skilfully and tactfully

● Excellent horizon-scanner, with highly-developed project- and risk-management skills

● Ability to interact confidently and effectively as an intelligent and highly credible partner/customer with technical and subject-matter experts both in-house and externally

● A focus on evidence-based decision-making, especially using customer insight to guide product owners in the direction that best serves the RA’s users

● Effective management of team dynamics when working across organisational boundaries

● Affinity with the brand and charitable objectives of the Royal Academy.