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Product Design Roles


Contents
Associate Product Designer
Product Designer
Senior Product Designer
Staff Product Designer
Principal Product Designer

Product Design Manager
Senior Product Design Manager
Product Design Director
Senior Product Design Director


Associate Product Designer

Associate Product Designers work with guidance while actively seeking mentorship, focusing on learning established processes and design patterns. They take ownership of small and mid size projects. They work frequently with their manager to receive direction on more challenging or ambiguous problems and to define growth opportunities.

Visual Design

Demonstrates taste in layout, typography and visual hierarchy. Uses our Design Principles, as well as existing style guides and previous Product Design work to represent our brands.

UX Design

Has conceptual familiarity with information architecture, multi-step and cross-platform flows. Considers potential states (errors, successes, dead-ends) in their work.

Patterns

Follows existing visual and UX patterns established established across our brands to ensure a consistent, intuitive experience.

Product Thinking

Familiar with the vision and key objectives for their product area. With support from their design manager and product manager, considers how their designs can support that vision.

Process

Learns and executes our defined design process, which includes project definition, design exploration, idea refinement, building and learning. Takes guidance from their design lead or design manager on how best to manage speed and quality based on the scope and potential impact to users and/or revenue.

Toolkit

Employs design tools to solve and communicate user flows, interaction and motion. These tools could include sketching, diagramming, interface design tools (Figma, Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator), production HTML/CSS and Javascript, platform SDKs (Xcode, Android Studio) or native prototyping tools (Framer, Principle.

Transparency

Shares work early and often and seeks out constructive feedback from their manager, stakeholders, teams and the Product Design team and actively works with their manager to filter and prioritize this feedback. Documents all work throughout the lifecycle of a project.

Data

Begins every project by partnering with their design lead, manager, or product manager to define what qualitative and quantitative data will be important in their work. Interfaces with with User Research and Product Analytics throughout the design and development process, making changes to the product based on their analysis and recommendations.

Fluency

Communicates with product leads and engineers in their language, designing with consideration for their cares and concerns. Proactively works with their manager to negotiate thoughtful design outcomes when there are cross-discipline concerns.

Communication

Practices verbal and written communication skills, in both one-on-one and group situations. Works with their manager to distill complex ideas, goals and problems in a way that is accessible even to those unfamiliar with the project.

Mentorship

Seeks out feedback from designers across the Product Design team, to grow their own skills and design toolkit.

Culture

Contributes to the culture of the Product Design team by participating in design-led projects, events and discussions, in order to spread design thinking and enthusiasm throughout BuzzFeed and the wider design community. Embodies the Tech Values, following the framework for how we want to work.


Product Designer

In order to move up to this level, Designers should hit each point marked with a *, plus any other 2. Designers and Managers should work together to define focus areas.

Mid level Product Designers take on work more independently while continuing to proactively give and receive feedback. They take ownership of small and mid size projects and may start to take on leadership responsibilities in their cross-discipline group.

Visual Design*

Demonstrates understanding of layout, typography and visual hierarchy. Uses our Design Principles, as well as existing style guides and previous Product Design work to represent the BuzzFeed brand with a holistic consideration for their product's future.

UX Design*

Demonstrates proficiency in and understanding of information architecture, multi-step and cross-platform flows. Consistently considers the holistic user experience and potential states (errors, successes, dead-ends) in their work.

Patterns*

Balances existing visual and UX patterns with platform-specific patterns to ensure a consistent, intuitive experience. Identifies and flags instances where existing patterns break down in their own work and diverges responsibly.

Product Thinking

Has a strong understanding of the vision and key objectives for their product area, taking cues from their design lead and/or manager, as well as their product and engineering leads. Consistently considers how their designs can support that vision, the team's goals, the broader product vision and company objectives.

Process

Consistently demonstrates our defined design process and uses the design process to contextualize their work and the type of feedback they need in a given moment. Learns to balance speed and quality based on the scope and potential impact to users and/or revenue.

Toolkit

Employs design tools to solve and communicate user flows, interaction and motion, and knows which tool to use depending on scope and phase of the project. These tools could include sketching, diagramming, interface design tools (Figma, Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator), production HTML/CSS and Javascript, platform SDKs (XCode, Android Studio) or native prototyping tools (Framer, Principle).

Transparency

Shares work early and often and seeks out constructive feedback from their manager, stakeholders, teams and the Product Design team and actively works with their team and manager to filter and prioritize this feedback. Documents all work throughout the lifecycle of a project.

Data

Begins every project by partnering with their design lead, manager, or product manager to define what qualitative and quantitative data will be important in their work. Partners with User Research and Product Analytics throughout the design and development process, becoming familiar with different data collection techniques and making changes to the product based on data analysis.

Fluency

Communicates with product leads and engineers in their language, designing with consideration for their cares and concerns. Fosters a collaborative, cross-disciplinary design process and, as a result, is trusted by their team to talk through both scope and technical challenges and negotiate thoughtful outcomes.

Communication*

Possesses strong verbal and written communication skills, whether in one-on-one or group situations. Communicates complex ideas, goals and problems in a way that is accessible even to those unfamiliar with the project. In design conversations about their own work, keeps discussions on-track and focused on delivering actionable next steps.

Mentorship

Provides direct and impactful feedback in Basecamp, Slack, and Design Critiques. Seeks out feedback from designers across the Product Design team, to grow their own skills and design toolkit.

Leadership

When appropriate, acts in a leadership role within their cross functional squad or group. Taking cues from their design lead and/or manager, as well as their product and engineering leads, works collaboratively to ensure their squad or group operates efficiently.

Culture

Contributes to the culture of their product team by identifying, advocating for and executing design-driven projects and initiatives within their product area. Also contributes to the culture of the Product Design team by participating in other design-led projects, events and discussions, in order to spread design thinking and enthusiasm throughout BuzzFeed and the wider design community. Embodies the Tech Values, following the framework for how we want to work.


Senior Product Designer

In order to move up to this level, Designers should hit each point marked with a *, plus any other 4. Designers and Managers should work together to define focus areas.

Senior Product Designers take ownership of large projects and are leaders in their cross-discipline group. can navigate ambiguous projects and are accountable for design quality across their immediate and adjacent product groups. They collaborate with their group to define roadmaps and goals. They mentor other designers to help them grow their skill sets.

If there is an opportunity, Senior Product Designers operating at a high level may manage a team of 1-2 designers. While managing, they will be expected to live up to the Tech Manager expectations and work with their direct manager to manage the careers of their direct reports and conduct performance reviews.

If a Senior Designer is excelling in people management and wants to transition to the management track they may be considered for an open role in Management when one arises.

Visual Design*

Demonstrates and articulates understanding of layout, typography and visual hierarchy. Uses the Design Principles and existing visual frameworks creatively to produce designs and, where appropriate, new styles and patterns that are visually cohesive with the rest of BuzzFeed's products. Maintains and suggests evolutions of our Design Principles and existing style guides with a holistic consideration for their platform's future.

UX Design*

Demonstrates and articulates a strong understanding of information architecture, multi-step and cross-platform flows. Consistently considers the holistic user experience, potential states (errors, successes, dead-ends) and product overlaps in their own and others' work. Points out connections and potential collisions between different products, features and platforms.

Patterns*

Balances existing visual and UX patterns with platform-specific patterns to ensure a consistent, intuitive experience. Identifies and flags instances where existing patterns break down in their own work, as well as work done by other designers on that platform. When diverging from established patterns, identifies, documents and socializes new patterns amongst the design team.

Product Thinking*

Leads the vision for their product area alongside their product and engineering counterparts. Shapes their team's roadmap and goals by providing input from a user's perspective, and ensures they're pursuing achievable, measurable and impactful goals. In their design work, regularly references product goals and can speak confidently about how their work relates to the broader product vision and company objectives. When appropriate, provides feedback on the product direction of adjacent product areas to other designers.

Process

Demonstrates a deep understanding of our defined design process by showing good judgment and flexibility in applying that process to their work, moving fluidly between each stage as needed. Uses the design process to contextualize their work and the type of feedback they need in a given moment. Consistently balances speed and quality based on the scope and potential impact to users and/or revenue.

Toolkit

Employs a broad set of design tools to best solve and communicate user flows, interaction and motion, and knows which tool to use depending on scope and phase of the project. These tools could include sketching, diagramming, interface design tools (Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator), production HTML/CSS and Javascript, or platform SDKs (Xcode, Android Studio) and native prototyping tools (Framer, Principle). Additionally, seeks out new techniques and tools, tries them out and makes recommendations to the Product Design team.

Transparency

Shares work early and often and encourages peers to seek out constructive feedback from their manager, stakeholders, teams and the Product Design team and actively filters and prioritizes this feedback on their own and with their team. Additionally, encourages peers to give constructive feedback to the rest of the team. Documents all work throughout the lifecycle of a project and encourages peers to do the same.

Data

Begins every project by defining what qualitative and quantitative data will be important in their work. Partners with User Research and Product Analytics throughout the design and development process to run research studies and experiments, analyze the findings and validate potential product changes. Socializes their learnings with the rest of product development in a thoughtful, articulate way in order to enhance everyone's understanding of our products and users.

Fluency

Communicates with product leads and engineers and stakeholders in their language, designing with consideration for their cares and concerns. Fosters a highly-collaborative design process and, as a result, is trusted by their team to talk through both scope and technical challenges and negotiate thoughtful outcomes. In cross-discipline initiatives, brings a design voice to the conversation and builds trust between the design team and other disciplines.

Communication*

Possesses strong verbal and written communication skills, whether in one-on-one or group situations. Communicates complex ideas, goals and problems in a way that is accessible even to those unfamiliar with the project. Leads and directs group design conversations, keeping them on-track and focused on delivering actionable next steps.

Mentorship

Provides regular, direct and impactful feedback in Basecamp, Slack, and Design Critiques, additionally engaging individual designers in adjacent product teams to help them grow their skills and design toolkit. Is generous with their time and knowledge. Looks out for and offers potential opportunities to other designers, as well as flags successes and concerns to design managers.

Leadership

Assumes a leadership role on the Product Design team and within their cross functional team. Shapes team norms and processes, and with their product and engineering counterparts takes responsibility for the operational excellence of their team. Is held accountable for design quality and cohesion across their own and adjacent product teams, and flags quality concerns to the responsible designers and design managers. Additionally, regularly evaluates existing design processes and tooling, and makes recommendations to design management when something can be improved.

Culture

Contributes to the culture of their own and adjacent product teams by identifying, advocating for and driving the execution of design-driven projects and initiatives that have cross-team impact. Also contributes to the culture of the Product Design team by identifying and helping to organize opportunities (internal or external speaking engagements, local meetups, participating in open source projects, writing blog posts, etc.) to spread design thinking and enthusiasm throughout BuzzFeed and the wider design community. Embodies the Tech Values and serves as an example to the Product Design team, following the framework for how we want to work.

Recruiting

Completes training to support Product Design interview loops. Participates in Product Design interview loops and ensures their written and verbal feedback are thoughtful and represent our role documentation.


Staff Product Designer

In order to move up to this level, Designers should hit each point marked with a *, plus any other 4. Designers and Managers should work together to define focus areas.

Staff Product Designers are leaders within the Design organization and Tech overall, leading projects and teams across product areas. They take ownership of large, ambiguous, projects and are accountable for design quality of our products and our processes on the team. They actively mentor and coach other designers to help them grow their skill sets.

If there is an opportunity, Staff Product Designers operating at a high level may manage a team of 1-2 designers. While managing, they will be expected to live up to the Tech Manager expectations and work with their direct manager to manage the careers of their direct reports and conduct performance reviews.

If a Staff Designer is excelling in people management and wants to transition to the management track they may be considered for an open role in Management when one arises.

Visual Design*

Demonstrates, articulates and teaches understanding of layout, typography and visual hierarchy. Gives strong design direction to other designers on the team, encouraging creative use of the Design Principles and existing visual frameworks to produce designs and, where appropriate, new styles and patterns that are visually cohesive with the rest of BuzzFeed's products. Maintains, suggests and advocates for evolutions of our Design Principles and existing style guides with a holistic consideration for all of our products. Where appropriate, develops relationships with other design teams at BuzzFeed and works with them to influence the visual language of their product area.

UX Design*

Demonstrates, articulates and teaches others understanding of information architecture, multi-step and cross-platform flows. Consistently considers the holistic user experience, potential states (errors, successes, dead-ends) and product overlaps in their own and others' work. Points out connections and potential collisions between different products, features and platforms.

Patterns*

Balances existing visual and UX patterns with platform-specific patterns to ensure a consistent, intuitive experience. Identifies and flags instances where existing patterns break down in their own work, as well as work done by other designers across all of our products. When diverging from established patterns, identifies, documents and socializes new patterns amongst the design team, and assists and educates fellow designers in doing the same.

Product Thinking*

Leads the vision for their own product area alongside their product and engineering counterparts, while also defining how all of our products work together. Shapes their team's roadmap and goals by providing input from a user's perspective, and ensures they're pursuing achievable, measurable and impactful goals. In their design work, regularly references product goals and can speak confidently about how their work relates to the broader product vision and company objectives. Provides feedback on the product direction of multiple product areas to other designers. Works with other designers and design managers on complementary, cohesive goals and execution across products/teams.

Process

Exemplifies and takes responsibility for maintaining and improving our defined design process. Shows good judgment and flexibility in applying that process to their work, moving fluidly between each stage as needed. Uses the process to educate their teams and fellow designers in how best to approach problems, solicit feedback and drive for impactful outcomes. Proven track record of balancing speed and quality based on the scope and potential impact to users and/or revenue. Additionally, assists and educates fellow designers in doing the same.

Toolkit

Employs a broad set of design tools to best solve and communicate user flows, interaction and motion, and knows which tool to use depending on scope and phase of the project. Additionally, assists and educates other designers in doing the same. These tools could sketching, diagramming, interface design tools (Figma, Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator), production HTML/CSS and Javascript, as well as platform SDKs (Xcode, Android Studio) and native prototyping tools (Framer, Principle). Additionally, seeks out new techniques and tools, tries them out, makes recommendations and teaches those tools to the Product Design team.

Transparency

Shares work early and often. Encourages, assists, and teaches peers to seek out constructive feedback from their manager, stakeholders, teams and the Product Design team and actively filters and prioritizes this feedback. **Encourages, assists, and teaches peers to give constructive feedback to the rest of the team. **Also, solicits feedback from other designers as a tool for teaching different methods and benefits of good critique. Documents all work throughout the lifecycle of a project and encourages peers to do the same.

Data

Begins every project by defining what qualitative and quantitative data will be important in their work. Partners with User Research and Product Analytics throughout the design and development process to run research studies and experiments, analyze the findings and validate potential product changes. Socializes their learnings with the rest of product development in a thoughtful, articulate way in order to enhance everyone's understanding of our products and users. Consistently holds designers accountable for examining their choices through the lens of data, and fosters a learning culture both within Design and the larger Tech organization.

Fluency

Communicates with product leads and engineers in their language, designing with consideration for their cares and concerns. Fosters a highly-collaborative design process and, as a result, is trusted by both their team and stakeholders to talk through both scope and technical challenges and negotiate thoughtful outcomes. Coaches other designers on how to foster a collaborative design process and work with people across disciplines. Participates in cross-discipline initiatives, bringing a design voice to the conversation and building trust between the design team and other disciplines.

Communication

Possesses strong verbal and written communication skills, whether in one-on-one or group situations. Communicates complex ideas, goals and problems in a way that is accessible even to those unfamiliar with the project. Leads and directs group conversations, whether about design or design-adjacent topics, keeping them on-track and focused on delivering actionable next steps. Regularly coaches other designers in their presentation, interpersonal and team communication skills.

Mentorship*

Provides regular, direct and impactful feedback in Basecamp, Slack, and Design Critiques, while additionally engaging individual designers across the Product Design team to help them grow their skills and design toolkit. Is generous with their time and knowledge, and takes an active interest in the career development of designers on the Product Design team. Looks out for and offers potential opportunities to other designers, as well as flags successes and concerns to design managers.

Leadership

Assumes a leadership role on the Product Design team, within their cross functional team, as well as the Tech team overall. Is held accountable for design quality and cohesion across many product areas, and flags quality concerns to the responsible designers and design managers. Helps fellow designers advocate for best practices and solutions with their teams, providing a strong voice for design within product development. Additionally, regularly evaluates existing staffing, processes, design documentation and tooling and makes recommendations to design management when something can be improved.

Culture

Contributes to the culture of their product team as well as BuzzFeed Tech as a whole by identifying, advocating for and driving the execution of design-driven projects and initiatives that have impact (in total) across the entire department. Also contributes to the Product Design team culture by owning and caring for Product Design team rituals (like Design Critiques), ensuring effective and empathetic feedback loops and stronger resulting work across the entire team. Additionally, identifies and organizes opportunities (internal or external speaking engagements, local meetups, participating in open source projects, writing blog posts, etc.) to spread design thinking and enthusiasm throughout BuzzFeed and the wider design community. Embodies the Tech Values and serves as an example to the Tech organization, following the framework for how we want to work.

Recruiting

Takes ownership of Product Design recruiting by providing interview training to the Product Design team, as well as process feedback and recommendations for improvement to the design managers. Regularly reaches out to designers in our recruiting list, conducts screening calls, participates in Product Design interview loops and ensures their written and verbal feedback are thoughtful and represent our role documentation.


Principal Product Designer

In order to move up to this level, Designers should hit each point marked with a *, plus any other 4. Designers and Managers should work together to define focus areas.

Principal Product Designers are leaders within the Product Design team and Tech overall, leading projects and teams across product areas. They proactively help improve design, organizational, and/or cultural initiatives that are impactful across the Tech org. They are accountable for design quality of all of our products and our processes on the team. They influence product strategy across multiple groups. They actively mentor and coach designers and other cross-functional teammates across the organization to help them grow their skill sets.

If there is an opportunity, Principal Product Designers operating at a high level may manage a team of 1-2 designers. While managing, they will be expected to live up to the Tech Manager expectations and work with their direct manager to manage the careers of their direct reports and conduct performance reviews.

Visual Design*

Demonstrates, articulates and teaches a high skill level of layout, typography and visual hierarchy. Creates work that raises our bar for quality of visual design. Gives strong design direction to other designers on the team, encouraging creative use of the Design Principles and existing visual frameworks to produce designs and, where appropriate, new styles and patterns that are visually cohesive with the rest of BuzzFeed's products. Maintains, suggests and advocates for evolutions of our Design Principles and existing style guides with a holistic consideration for all of our products. Forges relationships with other design teams at BuzzFeed and works with them to influence the visual language of multiple product areas.

UX Design*

Demonstrates a high skill level of and articulates and teaches others about information architecture, multi-step and cross-platform flows. Creates work that raises our bar for quality of UX design. Consistently considers the holistic user experience, potential states (errors, successes, dead-ends) and product overlaps in their own and others' work. Proactively identifies connections and potential collisions, influencing how those different products, features and platforms work together.

Patterns*

Balances existing visual and UX patterns with platform-specific patterns to ensure a consistent, intuitive experience. Identifies and flags instances where existing patterns break down in their own work, as well as work done by other designers across all of our products. Defines our strategy for when and how designers should diverge from established patterns. Assists and educates fellow designers in doing the same.

Product Thinking*

Leads the vision for their own product area alongside their product and engineering counterparts, while also defining how BuzzFeed's products work together. Shapes their team's roadmap and goals by providing input from a user's perspective, and ensures they're pursuing achievable, measurable and impactful goals. In their design work, regularly references product goals and can speak confidently about how their work relates to the broader product vision and company objectives. Provides feedback on the product direction of all product areas to other designers. Influences product direction of multiple products/teams.

Process

Regularly evaluates our defined design process in order to improve and scale the process. Shows good judgment and flexibility in applying that process to their work, moving fluidly between each stage as needed. Uses the process to educate their teams and fellow designers in how best to approach problems, solicit feedback and drive for impactful outcomes. Advocates for and educates Tech on the design process to build trust in design. Proven track record of balancing speed and quality based on the scope and potential impact to users and/or revenue. Additionally, assists and educates fellow designers in doing the same.

Toolkit

Consistently demonstrates a high level of skill in employing a broad set of design tools to best solve and communicate user flows, interaction and motion, and knows which tool to use depending on scope and phase of the project. Additionally, assists and educates other designers in doing the same. These tools include sketching, diagramming, interface design tools (Figma, Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator), production HTML/CSS and Javascript, as well as platform SDKs (Xcode, Android Studio) and native prototyping tools (Framer, Principle). Additionally, seeks out new techniques and tools, tries them out, makes recommendations and teaches those tools to the Product Design team.

Transparency

Shares work early and often. Encourages, assists, and teaches peers to seek out constructive feedback from their manager, stakeholders, teams and the Product Design team. Actively filters and prioritizes this feedback. Works to increase transparency between design and the rest of the Tech organization. Encourages, assists, and teaches peers to give constructive feedback to the rest of the team. Also, solicits feedback from other designers as a tool for teaching different methods and benefits of good critique. Documents all work throughout the lifecycle of a project and encourages peers to do the same.

Data

Proven track record of impactfully using qualitative and quantitative data in their work. Partners with User Research Product Analytics throughout the design and development process to run research studies and experiments, analyze the findings and validate potential product changes. Socializes their learnings with the rest of product development in a thoughtful, articulate way in order to enhance everyone's understanding of our products and users. Consistently holds designers accountable for examining their choices through the lens of data, and fosters a learning culture both within Design and the larger Tech organization.

Fluency

Communicates with product leads, engineers, and stakeholders in their language, designing with consideration for their cares and concerns. Fosters a highly-collaborative design process and, as a result, is trusted by both their team and stakeholders to talk through both scope and technical challenges and negotiate thoughtful outcomes. Coaches other designers on how to foster a collaborative design process and work with people across disciplines. Takes a leadership role in cross-discipline initiatives, bringing a design voice to the conversation and building trust between the design team and other disciplines.

Communication

Consistently displays excellence in verbal and written communication skills, whether in one-on-one or group situations. Communicates complex ideas, goals and problems in a way that is accessible even to those unfamiliar with the project. Proven track record of leading and directing group conversations, whether about design or design-adjacent topics with peers and leadership. Keps those conversations on-track and focused on delivering actionable next steps. Regularly coaches other designers in their presentation, interpersonal and team communication skills.

Mentorship*

Demonstrates consistent mentorship to Product Designers as measured by the growth and success of their mentees. Provides regular, direct and impactful feedback in Basecamp, Slack, and Design Critiques, while additionally engaging individual designers across the Product Design team to help them grow their skills and design toolkit. Is generous with their time and knowledge, and takes an active interest in the career development of designers on the Product Design team. Looks out for and offers potential opportunities to other designers, as well as flags successes and concerns to design managers.

Leadership

Assumes a leadership role on the Product Design team, within their cross functional team as well as the Tech team overall. Is held accountable for design quality and cohesion across many product areas and flags quality concerns to the responsible designers and design managers. Helps fellow designers advocate for best practices and solutions with their teams, providing a strong voice for design within product development. Shares operational and process learnings across the Tech organization. Additionally, regularly evaluates existing staffing, processes, design documentation and tooling and makes recommendations to design management when something can be improved.

Culture

Contributes to the culture of their product team as well as BuzzFeed Tech as a whole by identifying, advocating for and driving the execution of design-driven projects and initiatives that have impact (in total) across the entire department. Also contributes to the Product Design team culture by owning and caring for Product Design team rituals (like Design Critiques), ensuring effective and empathetic feedback loops and stronger resulting work across the entire team. Additionally, identifies and organizes opportunities (internal or external speaking engagements, local meetups, participating in open source projects, writing blog posts, etc.) to spread design thinking and enthusiasm throughout BuzzFeed and the wider design community. Embodies the Tech Values and serves as an example to the Tech organization, following the framework for how we want to work. Mentors others from across the organization in how to embody our values.

Recruiting

Takes ownership of Product Design recruiting by providing interview training to the Product Design team, as well as process feedback and recommendations for improvement to the design managers. When appropriate, cultivates recruiting sources and proactively adds potential candidates to our recruiting list. Regularly reaches out to designers in our recruiting list, conducts screening calls, participates in Product Design interview loops and ensures their written and verbal feedback are thoughtful and represent our role documentation.


Product Design Manager

Product Design Managers are leaders within the Design organization and Tech overall, leading projects and teams across product areas. They assume responsibility for design quality of all of our products, our processes on the team, and mentor and coach Designers.

Product Design Managers manage multiple designers. They actively manage the careers and performance of their team, understanding their goals and identifying growth opportunities for each person.

Mentorship

Develops effective, growth-centered mentor relationships with the Product Designers they manage. Through regular 1:1s and informal interactions, collaborates with and coaches Product Designers through complex design problems, product ideation, and any collaboration or communication issues that arise. Works with designers, as well as product and engineering leads, on their team to assess what level of Design Manager involvement would be most useful to each team.

Career Growth

Understands the personal and professional objectives for the designers they manage and helps set clear, realistic, action-oriented goals with each designer based on the Product Design Roles and Tech Leadership Principles. Regularly checks in on those goals, providing feedback, support and guidance, while simultaneously holding each designer accountable for what they've committed to accomplishing. Performs midyear and annual leveling calibrations with Product Designers they manage, exposing and resolving any misalignments, identifying growth opportunities, and ensuring each designer's goals are focused and reasonably achievable between review cycles.

Communication

Consistently delivers clarity for others: whether describing a complex project with many dependencies, delivering design critique, or giving feedback in a 1:1. Gives thoughtful, direct, and actionable feedback to the people they manage. When faced with a difficult situation, develops strategies for improving communication in order to remove friction or uncertainty.

Fluency

Regularly communicates and builds relationships with other managers across design and other disciplines. Balances the needs and concerns of their team and the wider Product Design team with those of other teams and departments. Promotes a healthy understanding of, trust in and appreciation for design processes and outcomes across disciplines.

Product Leadership

Collaborates closely with Product, Engineering and Data Science leads to define and communicate a strategic vision and high-level objectives for the product areas they manage. Over time, develops an understanding of BuzzFeed's various business lines and goals, as it relates to their teams' products, customers and key health metrics. Uses that knowledge to give informed and useful feedback to project proposals and ongoing product work. Ensures team roadmaps are user-centered, data-informed and consider the entire product ecosystem. Works with their direct reports to build their product thinking skills.

Culture

Establishes and maintains a healthy, collaborative culture across their assigned product teams. Regularly reminds their team to celebrate accomplishments together, and to identify opportunities together in a blameless, direct, improvement-centered way. Additionally, identifies and organizes opportunities for themselves and others on the Product Design team (such as internal or external speaking engagements, local meetups, participating in open source projects, writing blog posts, etc.) to spread design thinking and enthusiasm throughout BuzzFeed and the wider design community. Embodies the Tech Values and serves as an example to the Tech organization, following the framework for how we want to work.

Recruiting

Aids Product Design recruiting by regularly participating in activities across the entire recruiting process. Proactively engages designers in a variety of venues (social media, events, one-on-one), identifying and activating potential candidates. Interviews and evaluates candidates consistently, using this document to justify decision-making. Additionally, supports interview loops by building a strong familiarity with our leveling documentation and expectations, shadowing other, seasoned interviewers and developing an understanding of Product Design's recruiting practices and philosophies. Additionally, participates fully in the cross-department hiring process, providing thoughtful feedback and recommendations for candidates in other disciplines.

Design Operations

Assumes ownership across various operational aspects of Product Design, including but not limited to: Product Design Critique structures, role documentation, recruiting, intern programs, conference budgets, outing budgets, design-owned events and swag. Uses historical data to make informed proposals for future funding and process improvements.

Design Direction

With Senior, Staff, and Principal Product Designers on their teams, assumes responsibility for design quality for the products they manage. Can evaluate design work and give strong UX and Visual Design direction based on the entire design ecosystem. Additionally, works with designers on the team to establish a holistic vision for how our products should look, feel and interact with each other, as well as an effective strategy for executing on that vision. Continuously reminds designers on the team of our Design Principles and vision through critique, project kick-offs, etc.


Senior Product Design Manager

Senior Product Design Managers are leaders within the Design organization and Tech overall, leading projects and teams across product areas. They assume responsibility for design quality of all of our products, our processes on the team, and mentor and coach Designers and people from other disciplines.

Senior Product Design Managers manage multiple designers. They actively manage the careers and performance of their team, understanding their goals and identifying growth opportunities for each person. Senior Product Design Managers are able to understand the strategy for multiple teams, giving feedback and input when necessary.

Mentorship

Demonstrates consistent, effective, growth-centered mentorship to the Product Designers they manage, as measured by the growth and success of people on their team. Through regular 1:1s and informal interactions, identifies and coaches Product Designers through complex design problems, product ideation, collaboration or communication issues that arise. Demonstrates strong intuition for when to involve themselves directly and when to coach Product Designers to solve problems on their own. Takes on opportunities to coach and mentor other Product Designers at BuzzFeed, as well as individuals from other disciplines, as the need arises, building strong relationships across the entire Tech org over time.

Career Growth

Understands the personal and professional objectives for the designers they manage and on adjacent teams. Flags successes and opportunities to other managers. Helps set clear, realistic, action-oriented goals with each designer they manage based on the Product Design Roles and Tech Leadership Principles. Regularly checks in on those goals, providing feedback, support and guidance, while simultaneously holding each designer accountable for what they've committed to accomplishing. Performs midyear and annual leveling calibrations with Product Designers, exposing and resolving any misalignments, identifying growth opportunities, and ensuring each designer's goals are focused and reasonably achievable between review cycles.

Communication

Consistently delivers clarity for others: whether describing a complex project with many dependencies, delivering design critique, writing documentation for the Product Design team or giving feedback in a 1:1. Gives thoughtful, direct, and actionable feedback to the people they manage, their own manager, other managers, as well as people in other disciplines. When faced with a difficult situation, has a track record of  improving communication in order to remove friction or uncertainty. Additionally, actively assists designers they manage with improving their communication skills by providing regular feedback on the substance and strategy of their communications in Basecamp, Design Critiques, Product Reviews, etc.

Fluency

Proven track record of effectively communicating with other managers and leadership across design and other disciplines. Balances the needs and concerns of their team and the wider Product Design team with those of other teams and departments. Promotes a healthy understanding of, trust in and appreciation for design processes and outcomes across disciplines, and provides strategies to their designers so they can do the same. When appropriate, identifies and aids in the creation of necessary cross-discipline initiatives, engaging the right people to lead and participate in those initiatives.

Product Leadership

Collaborates closely with Product, Engineering and Data Science leadership to define and communicate a strategic vision and high-level objectives for the product areas they manage. Possesses an understanding of BuzzFeed's various business lines and goals, as it relates to their teams' products, customers and key health metrics. Uses that knowledge to provide an informed vision as well as to give informed and useful feedback to project proposals and ongoing product work. Ensures team roadmaps are user-centered, data-informed and consider the entire product ecosystem. Works with their direct reports to build their product thinking skills. Proactively identifies which initiatives and teams will need more direct support and tactically engages with those teams and designers to guide the design and product development process.

Culture

Establishes and maintains a healthy, collaborative culture across their assigned and adjacent product teams. Regularly reminds their team to celebrate accomplishments together, and to identify opportunities together in a blameless, direct, improvement-centered way. Similarly, takes responsibility for the Product Design team culture: identifying and executing on design-specific initiatives, evolutions of current cultural artifacts and practices, and other potential improvements. Additionally, identifies and organizes opportunities for themselves and others on the Product Design team (such as internal or external speaking engagements, local meetups, participating in open source projects, writing blog posts, etc.) to spread design thinking and enthusiasm throughout BuzzFeed and the wider design community. Embodies the Tech Values and serves as an example to the Tech organization, following the framework for how we want to work. Mentors others from across the organization in how to embody our values.

Recruiting

Takes ownership of Product Design recruiting by regularly reviewing, shaping and evolving the entire recruiting process. Proactively engages designers in a variety of venues (social media, events, one-on-one), identifying and activating potential candidates. Interviews and evaluates candidates consistently, using this document to justify decision-making. Additionally, supports interview loops and coaches participants from across disciplines to interview effectively. Runs both pre-huddles and post-huddles, assigning areas of focus to each interviewer and holding them accountable for the quality of their feedback. Participates fully in the cross-department hiring process, providing thoughtful feedback and recommendations.

Design Operations

Assumes ownership across various operational aspects of Product Design, including but not limited to: Product Design Critique structures, role documentation, recruiting, intern programs, conference budgets, outing budgets, design-owned events and swag. Uses historical data to make informed proposals for future funding and process improvements. Provides helpful input when discussing operational aspects they do not own.

Design Direction

With Senior, Staff, and Principal Product Designers, as well as adjacent Product Design Managers, assumes responsibility for design quality across the entirety of either our consumer products or internal tooling. Can evaluate design work and give strong UX and Visual Design direction based on the entire design ecosystem. Additionally, works with designers on the team to establish a holistic vision for how our products should look, feel and interact with each other, as well as an effective strategy for executing on that vision. Continuously reminds designers on the team of our Design Principles and vision through critique, project kick-offs, etc.


Product Design Director

Product Design Directors are leaders within the Design organization and Tech overall, leading projects and teams across product areas. They assume responsibility for design quality of all of our products, our processes on the team, and mentor and coach both individual contributors and managers from all disciplines.

Product Design Directors manage multiple designers and at times, design managers. They actively manage the careers and performance of their team, understanding their goals and identifying growth opportunities for each person.

Product Design Directors provide strategic input to the teams they manage and adjacent product teams.

Mentorship

Demonstrates consistent, effective, growth-centered mentorship to the people they manage, as measured by the growth and success of people on their team. Through regular 1:1s and informal interactions, identifies and coaches Product Designers through complex design problems, product ideation, collaboration or communication issues that arise. Demonstrates strong intuition for when to involve themselves directly and when to coach Product Designers to solve problems on their own. Takes on opportunities to coach and mentor individual contributors and managers in design as well as individuals from other disciplines, as the need arises, building strong relationships across the entire Tech org over time.

Career Growth

Understands the personal and professional objectives for the designers across the entire Product Design team. Flags successes and opportunities to other managers. Helps set clear, realistic, action-oriented goals with each designer they manage based on the Product Design Roles and Tech Leadership Principles. Regularly checks in on those goals, providing feedback, support and guidance, while simultaneously holding each designer accountable for what they've committed to accomplishing. Performs midyear and annual leveling calibrations with Product Designers, exposing and resolving any misalignments, identifying growth opportunities, and ensuring each designer's goals are focused and reasonably achievable between review cycles.

Communication

Consistently delivers clarity for others: whether describing a complex project with many dependencies, delivering design critique, writing documentation for the Product Design team or giving feedback in a 1:1. Coaches managers on how to deliver clarity and improve communication. Gives thoughtful, direct, and actionable feedback to the people they manage, their own manager, other managers, as well as people in other disciplines. When faced with a difficult situation, has a track record of  improving communication in order to remove friction or uncertainty. Additionally, actively assists designers they manage with improving their communication skills by providing regular feedback on the substance and strategy of their communications in Basecamp, Design Critiques, Product Reviews, etc.

Fluency

Proven track record of effectively communicating with other managers and leadership across the company. Builds relationships with key stakeholders across the company. Balances the needs and concerns of their team and the wider Product Design team with those of other teams and departments. Promotes a healthy understanding of, trust in and appreciation for design processes and outcomes across disciplines, and provides strategies to their designers so they can do the same. Advocates for and aids in the creation of necessary cross-discipline initiatives, engaging the right people to lead and participate in those initiatives.

Product Leadership

Collaborates closely with Product, Engineering and Data Science leadership to define and communicate a strategic vision and high-level objectives for the product areas they manage. Possesses a deep understanding of BuzzFeed's various business lines and goals, as it relates to their teams' products, customers and key health metrics. Uses that knowledge to provide strong, informed vision, as well as to give informed and useful feedback to project proposals and ongoing product work. Ensures team roadmaps are user-centered, data-informed and consider the entire product ecosystem. Works with designers across the team to build their product thinking skills. Proactively identifies which initiatives and teams will need more direct support and tactically engages with those teams and designers to guide the design and product development process.

Culture

Establishes and maintains a healthy, collaborative culture across the entire Product Design team. Regularly reminds their team to celebrate accomplishments together, and to identify opportunities together in a blameless, direct, improvement-centered way. Identifies and executes on design-specific initiatives, evolutions of current cultural artifacts and practices, and other potential improvements. Highly comfortable discussing, shaping, and advocating for DI&B principles across the Product Design team. Additionally, identifies and organizes opportunities for themselves and others on the Product Design team (such as internal or external speaking engagements, local meetups, participating in open source projects, writing blog posts, etc.) to spread design thinking and enthusiasm throughout BuzzFeed and the wider design community. Actively builds a culture that reflects our Tech Values and serves as an example to the Tech organization, following the framework for how we want to work. Mentors others from across the organization in how to embody our values.

Recruiting

Takes ownership of Product Design recruiting by regularly reviewing, shaping and evolving the entire recruiting process. Proactively engages designers in a variety of venues (social media, events, one-on-one), identifying and activating potential candidates. Interviews and evaluates candidates consistently, using this document to justify decision-making. Additionally, supports interview loops and coaches design managers and participants across disciplines to interview effectively. Runs both pre-huddles and post-huddles, assigning areas of focus to each interviewer and holding them accountable for the quality of their feedback. Participates fully in the cross-department hiring process, providing thoughtful feedback and recommendations.

Design Operations

Assumes ownership across various operational aspects of Product Design, including but not limited to: Product Design Critique structures, role documentation, recruiting, intern programs, conference budgets, outing budgets, design-owned events and swag. Uses historical data to make informed proposals for future funding and process improvements. Provides helpful input when discussing operational aspects they do not own. Identifies new areas of design operations that are needed to support the team, and when appropriate leads those operations.

Design Direction

With Senior, Staff, and Principal Designers, as well as adjacent Product Design Managers, assumes responsibility for design quality across the entire Product Design team. Can evaluate design work and give strong UX and Visual Design direction based on the entire design ecosystem. Coaches design managers on how to provide strong direction, and develop good judgment in when to give direction. Additionally, works with designers on the team to establish a holistic vision for how our products should look, feel and interact with each other, as well as an effective strategy for executing on that vision. Continuously reminds designers on the team of our Design Principles and vision through critique, project kick-offs, etc.


Senior Product Design Director

Senior Product Design Directors are leaders within the Design organization and Tech overall, leading projects and teams across product areas. They assume responsibility for design quality of all of our products, our processes on the team, and mentor and coach both individual contributors and managers from all disciplines. They are responsible for the health and effectiveness of the design team.

Senior Product Design Directors manage multiple designers and at times, design managers. They actively manage the careers and performance of their team, understanding their goals and identifying growth opportunities for each person.

Senior Product Design Directors provide strategic input to teams they manage and adjacent product teams. They influence our overall Tech product strategy over time.

Mentorship

Demonstrates consistent, effective, growth-centered mentorship to the people they manage, as measured by the growth and success of people on their team. Through regular 1:1s and informal interactions, identifies and coaches Product Designers through complex design problems, product ideation, collaboration or communication issues that arise. Demonstrates strong intuition for when to involve themselves directly and when to coach Product Designers to solve problems on their own. Takes on opportunities to coach and mentor individual contributors and managers in design as well as individuals from other disciplines, as measured by the growth and success of their mentees, building strong relationships across the entire team over time.

Career Growth

Understands the personal and professional objectives for the designers across the entire Product Design team. Flags successes and opportunities to other managers. Actively helps designers across the team achieve their goals. Helps set clear, realistic, action-oriented goals with each designer they manage based on the Product Design Roles and Tech Leadership Principles. Regularly checks in on those goals, providing feedback, support and guidance, while simultaneously holding each designer accountable for what they've committed to accomplishing. Performs midyear and annual leveling calibrations with Product Designers, exposing and resolving any misalignments, identifying growth opportunities, and ensuring each designer's goals are focused and reasonably achievable between review cycles.

Communication

Displays consistent excellence in written and verbal communication. Consistently delivers clarity for others: whether describing a complex project with many dependencies, delivering design critique, writing documentation for the Product Design team, giving feedback in a 1:1, or working with leadership. Coaches managers on how to deliver clarity and improve communication. Gives thoughtful, direct, and actionable feedback to the people they manage, their own manager, other managers, as well as people in other disciplines. When faced with a difficult situation, has a track record of  improving communication in order to remove friction or uncertainty. Additionally, actively assists designers they manage with improving their communication skills by providing regular feedback on the substance and strategy of their communications in Basecamp, Design Critiques, Product Reviews, etc.

Fluency

Proven track record of effectively communicating with other managers, leadership and stakeholders across the company. Balances the needs and concerns of their team and the wider Product Design team with those of other teams and departments. Promotes a healthy understanding of, trust in and appreciation for design processes and outcomes across the company, and provides strategies to their designers so they can do the same. Advocates for and aids in the creation of necessary cross-discipline initiatives, engaging the right people to lead and participate in those initiatives.

Product Leadership

Collaborates closely with Product, Engineering and Data Science leadership to define and communicate a strategic vision and high-level objectives for the product areas they manage. Possesses a deep understanding of BuzzFeed's various business lines and goals, as it relates to their teams' products, customers and key health metrics. Proven track record of influencing strategy across Tech by giving informed and useful feedback to project proposals and ongoing product work. Ensures team roadmaps are user-centered, data-informed and consider the entire product ecosystem. Works with designers across the team to build their product thinking skills. Proactively identifies which initiatives and teams will need more direct support and tactically engages with those teams and designers to guide the design and product development process.

Culture

Establishes and maintains a healthy, collaborative culture across the entire Tech organization. Regularly reminds their team to celebrate accomplishments together, and to identify opportunities together in a blameless, direct, improvement-centered way. Identifies and executes on design-specific initiatives, evolutions of current cultural artifacts and practices, and other potential improvements. Highly comfortable discussing, shaping, and advocating for DI&B principles across the Tech organization. Additionally, identifies and organizes opportunities for themselves and others on the Product Design team (such as internal or external speaking engagements, local meetups, participating in open source projects, writing blog posts, etc.) to spread design thinking and enthusiasm throughout BuzzFeed and the wider design community. Actively builds a culture that reflects our Tech Values and serves as an example to the Tech organization, following the framework for how we want to work. Mentors others from across the organization in how to embody our values.

Recruiting

Takes ownership of Product Design recruiting by regularly reviewing, shaping and evolving the entire recruiting process. Proactively engages designers in a variety of venues (social media, events, one-on-one), identifying and activating potential candidates. Interviews and evaluates candidates consistently, using this document to justify decision-making. Additionally, supports interview loops and coaches design managers and participants across disciplines to interview effectively. Runs both pre-huddles and post-huddles, assigning areas of focus to each interviewer and holding them accountable for the quality of their feedback. Provides feedback and input to recruiting processes across the entire Tech organization. Participates fully in the cross-department hiring process, providing thoughtful feedback and recommendations.

Design Operations

Assumes ownership across various operational aspects of Product Design, including but not limited to: Product Design Critique structures, role documentation, recruiting, intern programs, conference budgets, outing budgets, design-owned events and swag. Uses historical data to make informed proposals for future funding and process improvements. Additionally, delegates various operational aspects of Product Design to other managers and directors, holding them accountable for success. Provides helpful input when discussing operational aspects they do not own. Identifies new areas of design operations that are needed to support the team, and when appropriate leads those operations.

Design Direction

Defines and sets the standard for design quality on the Product Design team. Communicates that standard to managers and designers so there is a clear understanding across the team. Can evaluate design work and give strong UX and Visual Design direction based on the entire design ecosystem. Coaches design managers on how to provide strong direction, and develop good judgment in when to give direction. Additionally, works with designers on the team to establish a holistic vision for how our products should look, feel and interact with each other, as well as an effective strategy for executing on that vision. Continuously reminds designers on the team of our Design Principles and vision through critique, project kick-offs, etc.