Technical Product Manager, People Systems

Location: San Francisco, CA

Department: Technology

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Manager/Supervisor


The People Systems Technical Product Manager is a champion for people, and is a shepherd for the technology solutions that help Burning Man support, develop, and invest in people. A holistic and caring approach is used to develop cross-functional solutions for human resources and finances, volunteer engagement and management, and support and development programs as identified.

The People Systems Technical Product Manager develops long-term strategies and roadmaps for systems, scopes initiatives for short and mid-term project work, develops prioritized detailed requirements and features, drives interdepartmental dependencies and business decisions, and manages project deliverables and stakeholder communications.

They facilitate an integrated relationship between people & operations, finance, volunteerism, education, design, engineering, and communications. This position manages the full lifecycle for a suite of people-supporting technology systems and projects, bridging relationships and acting as a translator between customers and solution development teams. Their work ranges from strategic to tactical, taking care of the customer is priority, and technical implementation/development is provided by team developers.

This position uses strong communication and detail tracking capabilities to keep internal customers informed of and engaged in project progress. The People Systems Technical Product Manager leverages technical knowledge and experience in people related functions to inform project scope, priorities, and risks and works closely with solution teams to map out viable implementation plans.

This position works with all stakeholders, and collaborates with cross-functional teams to ensure the successful completion of all aspects of projects in support of the business needs through an ongoing product strategy and evolution.

The deadline to apply for this role is 6:00pm PT on Friday, March 16, 2018.


Customer Partnership

  • Build and maintains a trusted, cooperative relationship with internal and external customers and partners.
  • Primary customer interface to engineering and solution teams, outsourced development houses, or software vendors on an ongoing basis.
  • Mentor the customer in relevant topics and technology, and listen generously in order to process and provide solutions based on the collective understanding of the end goal.
  • Coordinate consultative, innovative, knowledge sharing, and ideation sessions as necessary through the engagement of stakeholders and extended staff, especially volunteers and regional contacts, and people systems and related subject matter experts from the Burning Man community.
  • Champion for the customer and users.
  • Work with communications and product stakeholders to develop plans and consistency for related announcements or procedural communications.
  • Find opportunities for volunteer and community engagement throughout product and project lifecycle.
  • Solicit and review user and program feedback via formal and informal reporting mechanisms to determine product success and enhancements.

Product Management

  • Crafts technical product and program vision, strategy, goals and success metrics from stakeholder input and approved organization initiatives.
  • Determine and document product needs by integrating planning and brainstorming conversations, evaluating processes and software solutions, reviewing usage data and support metrics, observing and engaging users, performing market research and staying current on related industry and technology trends.
  • Recommend the scope and timeline of projects by writing and/or reviewing specifications and requirements; appraising new product ideas or changes, and working closely with engineering and solution teams to evaluate and determine appropriate solution approach using internal or outsourced capacities or vendor solutions.
  • Incorporate emergent organization-wide technical initiatives and strategies, such as data security or integration projects, into product roadmaps by coordinating product planning and debrief sessions with solution and engineering teams and other program managers.
  • Synthesize requirements, understanding different teams unique ways of working to find common usage patterns / different usage patterns across teams and converge on common solutions that will scale.
  • Assist with business process analysis and process redesign as part of solution design for program areas.  
  • Propose solutions to technical constraints using technical expertise and experience, and provide resolutions for escalated problems, and anticipated bottlenecks in the development cycle.
  • Contribute to or initiate collaborative impact evaluation, return-on-investment or cost benefit analyses as necessary to determine product priorities, roadmaps or retirement.
  • Facilitate collaborative prioritization of product requests amongst stakeholders.
  • Identify dependencies and manage all intra, inter, and 3rd-party dependencies.
  • Champions user adoption and can clearly delineate between the goal of the customer and the goals of the users.
  • Collaborate with design and technical implementation teams to define and design the product with the best user experience and efficient use of staff resources and time.
  • Ensure the creation of instructional or help materials for new products or features.
  • Ensure the channels, content, and resources are in place for user support.
  • Help product users prepare and develop support strategy as needed for on playa users.
  • Effectively able to integrate metrics and relevant data to inform product decisions.
  • Provide reusable best practices and lessons learned based on product knowledge and real-life implementation project experience.
  • Stay on top of current and future technology capabilities as well as establish a seamless working relationship with customers, partners, management, services, operations, support, development and others.

Project Management

  • Own the overall project and deliverables. Maintains work breakdown structure, detailed implementation schedule, and project plan.
  • Proactively manage and mitigate project risks, critical path, and provide impact assessment and prepare status reports or presentations to keep stakeholders informed of project status and related issues.
  • Oversee project efforts to keep projects on schedule, on budget, and to specification.
  • Runs project related meetings and creates supporting documentation from:  kick-off meeting, stand-ups, checkpoint meetings, and post-mortems.
  • Establish project timelines and milestones with engineering and solution teams.
  • Coordinate user acceptance testing, bug reporting, and training activities.

Other Functions and Responsibilities

  • On-site program evaluation and research, may be necessary for products which serve operations in BRC.
  • Ensure support strategy in place for on playa users.
  • Other duties as requested.


  • Learning – Pursues ongoing learning in their area of expertise, working to stay current on emergent knowledge, skills, and processes.
  • Documentation - Assists in the creation, publishing, and maintenance of process documentation related to their assigned duties.
  • Knowledge sharing – Helps acculturate and educate junior staff in Burning Man culture and business processes.
  • Training development - Collaborates with the education team to develop training materials in their area of expertise, as requested.



  • Bachelor Degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, Engineering or related technical field or equivalent practical experience
  • 5+ years experience as a technical product or program manager
  • Proven successful experience in technical product management -- from start to launch
  • Experience creating and developing a new product manager role
  • Excellent written and verbal skills which demonstrate maturity, judgement, negotiation/influencer, analytical, and leadership skills
  • Must be a good natured, sociable, emotionally intelligent and responsible individual
  • Strong visual communication skills, proficient in diagramming and other presentation tools
  • Familiar with multiple software development and customer engagement processes, and comfortable using the one that will be the most effective depending on the team, circumstances, and project
  • Proven experience with more than one software development methodology and ability to apply and adjust processes as necessary to be successful in a dynamic, volunteer-driven organization with significant seasonal demands
  • Knowledge of, and experience navigating the full range of the software development life-cycle
  • Experience in delivering complex software product releases from ideation
  • Experience in systems integration and integrated solutions
  • Experience in HR, ERP, Payroll, LMS, Volunteer Management, Knowledge Management, and/or Help Desk software solutions
  • High degree of business acumen and technical competency; ability to balance and bridge technology and business needs; project and program management
  • Experience writing scope, requirements and high-level design documentation
  • Strong technical knowledge and ongoing learner
  • Excellent creative thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent organizational, analytical, written and oral presentation skills
  • Exceptional experience translating requests and requirements from non-technical customers
  • Able to identify and assess technology solutions (built in-house with our engineering team, or in partnership with vendors)to meet needs
  • Can apply technical skills to all program and projects to improve performance and planning
  • Able to adeptly ideate or negotiate as needed with developers, data teams, solution architects, and all stakeholders
  • Amazing negotiation capabilities seeking outcomes moving the process forward with goodwill
  • Able to effectively resolve competing priorities
  • Strong facilitation skills that draw out the most from product users and stakeholders
  • Strong attention to detail with the ability to see the big picture
  • Perform risk management and change management on projects
  • Ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines, and handle multiple projects simultaneously
  • Experience managing vendor relationships
  • Drives acceptance and adoption with curiosity and active listening skills
  • Ability to prioritize among competing opportunities, balance consumer needs with business priorities, and articulate the rationale behind decisions
  • Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; establishing personal networks; participating in professional societies


  • Significant knowledge and experience within the Burning Man Project, organization and community and working environment.
  • Experience with enterprise  software product management & worked with third party vendors to customize solutions.
  • Experience working with volunteers or as a volunteer.
  • Experience driving A/B or multivariate user testing.


  • None


  • Off-playa:  Work is primarily sedentary in nature, no special demands are required. 
  • On-playa:  Work is primarily sedentary but will also include the need to find and meet with department representatives who may not be in the vicinity therefore this could include walking or using some form of transportation.  Some of the work will be in outside weather conditions and will be exposed to fumes or airborne particles as well as possible extremes in temperature.


  • This is a regular, full-time position eligible for benefits, working out of our San Francisco office and in Black Rock City, Nevada.
  • Burning Man is an equal-opportunity employer.
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