The SKA Operations Group is seeking to employ a talented and motivated person to act as a Product Manager to support and guide the software development for the construction of the SKA telescopes. As a large and globally distributed project, the software is being developed by many teams across different time zones from outside of the SKA Observatory.
The appointee will be an expert focal point for the development teams, providing expertise and guidance to those teams in areas of Observation Management. The role, therefore, calls for an organised person who understands, or is able to quickly acquire, system knowledge in the area of (radio) astronomy telescopes and their operation.
To manage the software development of the project, the SKA has adopted the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) for Lean/Agile development processes. As a Product Manager, the appointee will represent the interests and priorities of the SKA Operations team for the construction and operation of the SKA telescopes. They will be responsible for ensuring that the SAFe teams deliver value to the SKA by specifying and defining the priorities of the work and developing the programme roadmap. As a Product Manager they will have the responsibility for defining work, and assessing when it is completed, and accepting that work into the Programme. As such, the appointee will need to understand software development practices and technology.
Although the appointee will be a member of the Operations Group, they will spend the majority of their time working closely with the software development SAFe teams.
Full-time hours will be 35 hours per week. Flexible working arrangements are possible in agreement with the Line Manager, as long as contributions to telescope delivery are not impacted.
Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties
Working as a member of the SAFe Product Management team with key internal and external SKA stakeholders, including the Lead Software Product Manager, the Head of Science Operations, and the SKA System Scientist, the post holder will:
- Contribute to the Product Management Team in the development and communication of the vision and roadmap for the SKA Observatory’s software development programme to all relevant stakeholders.
- Contribute to the Operations group, engaging with the Science Operations and Data Operations teams to understand their priorities in the development of the roadmap.
- Develop Features aligned with the vision and roadmap and enter them into the SAFe Program Backlog.
- Engage with the teams to define Program Backlog items. Clarify Backlog items and confirm their understanding within the development teams.
- Define acceptance criteria for the work under their ownership and be responsible for accepting the results of the work carried out.
- Be an expert stakeholder for the development teams with respect to issues regarding Observation Management.
- Attend SAFe Program Increment (PI) planning meetings (every 3 months) to prioritise and plan future work and report on work carried out.
- Provide inputs to define and prioritise the content of the SAFe Program Backlog in collaboration with the Product Management team.
- Work with stakeholders to understand and define SKA Programme objectives.
Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience
The post holder will have:
- A PhD, or equivalent, in Astronomy, Physics, Computer Science or a closely related field, or equivalent experience in a professional scientific operational capacity.
- Significant experience in software development in a scientific environment, preferably in a (radio) astronomy setting, or equivalent, with an end-user perspective.
- Experience with the operation of (radio) observatories, science operations and observation management, from proposal management and handling through to the execution of science projects on the telescope.
- The ability to resolve multifaceted and complex problems, developing coherent solutions and managing workloads and targets in a dynamic and collaborative environment.
- The ability to build effective working relationships and influence with engineers and scientists from a variety of cultures.
- The capability to work in a team as a flexible, adaptable team player, able to work to deadlines.
- Excellent communication skills in English, especially within multicultural teams, able to translate technical concepts into clear guidance and advice.
- The ability to accommodate occasional travel, nationally and internationally (typically 1 week, 3 or 4 times a year, and subject to current international travel limitations).
Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience
- Experience in a similar role within a Software Development Project in a Scientific/Astronomical environment.
- Agile certification (Scaled Agile Program Consultant, BCS Agile Practitioner certification, or similar).
- Project management experience in a software development environment.