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Labs Design Manager, Santa Monica

Los Angeles, California

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Job ID 1491098 Date posted Jan. 12, 2019

About Us

As a recognized leader in agile and lean software development practices, Pivotal combines the Silicon Valley state of mind, modern approach, and infrastructure with organizations’ core expertise and values. Our cloud-native platform and suite of data tools drive software innovation for many of the world’s most admired brands, helping enterprises move at start-up speeds and with greater business agility. We optimize for change and teach next-generation product teams to create and build new solutions, and are committed to open source and open standards.

Our methodology is about evolving, in both development and innovation, and our culture is empowering. Our 2,000+ employees across offices worldwide subscribe to an ethos of kindness. We make a point to bring empathy to each and every project, and are guided by a purposeful mission—to transform how the world builds software.

We care deeply about recruiting and developing exceptional talent. Pivotal seeks to add new voices and perspectives to our vibrant community because we know it leads to the most innovative solutions and most successful teams. We hire for empathy, collaboration and excellence. Learn more about what Pivotal is doing to cultivate our community.

To help share a bit more about life at Pivotal here are a few resources in addition to the job description that can give you an inside look at what life is like at Pivotal.

Pivotal’s Mission

Article about Diversity and Inclusion, D&I Values, Principles and Actions

Talk about Design Pairing

5 Culture Hacks



You enjoy daily product decision making and real product delivery with product managers and developers. You judge your success by the success of your team and the happiness of our customers. You enjoy seriously collaborative teams and pairing with team members. You are a creative problem solver who is comfortable with uncertainty and can lead the design effort to make better product decisions. You like to work alongside and learn from thought leaders in your practice and at the boundary with other practices. You are curious and a keen learner who thrives on enhancing the design practice.


Your Day

Product designers at Pivotal Labs ensure we solve the right problems and understand user needs to deliver new or improved products and services that have real impact. We espouse a lean/iterative mentality, and try not to treat design artifacts as precious - the only deliverable we are concerned with is the software product and its impact on target outcomes.

You are a full stack designer in the sense that you are driving all dimensions of design—research, testing, ux, visual, css, etc.  We don’t expect you to know everything—we want you to have a sense of ownership for the whole design process, be curious, open-minded and always want to improve and learn from others. You are thoughtful about the role of design in relation to contemporary technology and are committed to lifelong design learning.

As consultants, the goal is to ship products that create real value while enabling the client team to develop skills necessary to take the product home after an engagement with our team—you will be teaching designers who are operating in a traditional waterfall process how to fish.

You are working with a cross-disciplinary product team and pair with everyone - developers, product managers, other designers, and your clients. You show clients the value of user-centered design, the importance of user testing and experimentation in making smart product choices.

In the spirit of agile, you collaborate with peers to innovate on the design process itself: do what works, try new things, and stop doing things that don’t work.

Next to project work, you leverage your experience to develop and mentor the other Designers in our office. You are expected to rely upon your own knowledge and acquired experience to make decisions that affect your team and provide support to Designers on other teams, with some guidance and support from Labs leadership. You are able to respond quickly and professionally to unanticipated events while effectively managing the existing workload. People development include regular one-on-ones with team members, working with the local leadership and HR business partners, and facilitating coaching among practitioners.

This is a full-time individual contributor position with managerial responsibilities, onsite in our Pivotal Labs Santa Monica location. Some travel may be required occasionally.


  • Mentor and be responsible for the professional development of direct reports.
  • Demonstrate hands-on leadership on projects while empowering both client and Pivotal teammates to become leaders themselves.
  • Balance individual contributor job duties with managerial responsibilities.
  • Facilitate peer coaching in the Product Design practice
  • Hold regular one-on-ones with reports for updates, feedback, coaching, and mentoring.
  • Maintain contact with project leaders to discover and address issues as early as possible.
  • Run scoping sessions and other workshops with client teams.
  • Assist with project inceptions, eventually assuming the role of inception facilitator.
  • Assist in managing the office operations, including staffing/allocations, help make team rotations successful and address project problems—with guidance from the Labs Leadership
  • Demonstrate practice leadership in a variety of ways, including the facilitation of regular Core Practice talks, hosting design events in the larger Santa Monica community, participation in Product Office Hours sessions, etc.
  • Report directly to one of our Labs Associate Directors 
  • Contribute to weekly manager meetings and share feedback and progress of the Pivots who you support
  • Onboard new Pivots in your practice and oversee ramping-up period
  • Handle disciplinary issues & guidance periods
  • Oversee timesheet submission & approve vacation requests in consulting with office leadership


Required Skills / Experiences

  • 5+ years Design experience creating software products.
  • BA/BS in relevant field of study or equivalent work experience.
  • Extensive experience in user-centered design, closely collaborating with agile software developers and contributing to successful products using the lean startup product development process.
  • Deep experience in at least one of the following design skills: user research, interaction design, visual design or service design.
  • Experience in actively enabling others develop design skills and supporting them to improve in their practice.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of web and/or mobile software development.
  • Demonstrated ability to help the team respond to customers context, pains and goals leading with user research and customer development techniques, while creating balance with the technical feasibility of concrete features.
  • Ability to analyze complex environments with technical, business, legal, industry compliance and people aspects, and ability to synthesize a path forward.
  • Demonstrated team leadership helping the team and stakeholders navigate product vision, high-level business priorities and desired outcomes.
  • Demonstrated ability to design software in an iterative way while making demonstrable, incremental progress towards goals.
  • Strong communication skills with both technical and non-technical individuals; the ability to listen, articulate ideas and advocate best practices in both one-on-one and group settings, in both verbal and written form.
  • Strong facilitation skills and demonstrated ability to work in a highly collaborative environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to help foster a culture of collaboration while providing a sense of direction and meaning to the whole team.
  • Knowledge of modern front-end systems and open source frameworks (iOS, Android, Bootstrap, responsive patterns, etc.)


Desired Skills / Experiences

  • Management experience following the servant leadership principles
  • Experience working with leadership, management, business partners and stakeholders from other parts of the business.
  • Experience working independently with clients or stakeholders in a consulting capacity.
  • Experience in a related field.
  • Experience designing complex multi-sided systems or enterprise software.
  • Able to help the development team with CSS.
  • Active member of the design community and presentation skills demonstrated by giving talks about design.

Pivotal is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer that will consider you for this role regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, gender identity or expression, national origin, genetics, age, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.


Pivotal does not accept unsolicited Agency Resumes. Pivotal will not pay fees to any third party agency or firm that does not have a signed ‘Pivotal Agency Fee Agreement.'

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