DIRECTOR OF PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

Company Details

We are Astra. Our mission is to launch a new generation of services to connect and improve life on earth. We are a small, highly ambitious team with deep technical expertise who love to build things and relish the idea of a grand challenge.

About the Company

We are Astra. Our mission is to launch a new generation of space services to improve life on Earth.

We are working to deliver daily access to earth orbit for a new generation of services powered by large constellations of small satellites. Come help us build the hardware and launch the services that will open the frontier of space to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Our campus where we design, manufacture and test nearly every component of our rocket launch system is located on the former Alameda Naval Air Station, just 15 minutes outside of San Francisco.

The Opportunity

Astra is developing the world’s highest production rate orbital launch system. We design nearly every component of this system, including rocket engines, stage structures, fluid systems, avionics, software, and portable launch infrastructure. We manufacture most of the components used to produce our rockets, and integrate, test, and launch rockets at our own facilities. And we take an agile approach to development, rapidly iterating the entire system so we can fly often and learn faster than our competition.

As Director of Program Management, you will be responsible for our plans and processes that ensure we ship new releases of our launch system on time, at a market-leading pace.  As a direct report to the VP of Engineering, you will own the development and tracking of our schedules, and drive company-wide processes to ensure coordinated and timely execution.  You will guide and draw on the work of our Technical Program Managers (TPMs), who each own a critical piece of the overall development program.  Together with these TPMs, you will work hand in hand with Product Managers, Engineering leads, Manufacturing leads and many other stakeholders to define schedules, dependencies, risks, and the critical path, and then manage priorities, trade-offs, integration points, and other cross-team coordination.  You will facilitate major program decisions, communicate program status and priorities to a range of stakeholders across the company, and also contribute to the development of longer-term roadmaps by the Product Management team.  As the leader supporting the VP of Engineering in ensuring timely program delivery, you will also be a key partner to the VP of Product, VP of Engineering, and CEO in setting strategy at the company level.

Overall, you will be a fearless organizer, excellent leader, and a versatile player/coach for Astra’s Technical Program Managers – serving as the glue holding together our complex, multi-disciplinary product development effort as we work towards our vision of daily space delivery.

Program Management Team

Astra leads the industry in applying agile iterative development to space launch systems. Astra’s Technical Program Managers (TPMs) are a central part of this process: working to deliver product releases to the market on time, efficiently, and at a competitive pace. Given product releases defined by the Product Management team, Astra’s TPMs define aggressive but achievable schedules based on bottom-up inputs from development teams. They leverage strong working relationships with development teams, as embedded members of those teams.  They then coordinate efforts across teams to drive execution of those plans: understanding the critical path, identifying and mitigating risks, surfacing and resolving blockers, and adapting plans as required.

TPMs are functionally led by the Director of Program Management, who reports to the VP of Engineering and is a key partner to the VP of Product. TPMs are day-to-day partners for their counterparts in the Engineering team, helping make technical decisions that trade schedule against performance, reliability, and other technical aspects.  TPMs also partner closely with Product Management, providing strategic input to inform near-term release plans, trade studies, and our long-term product roadmap.

How You’ll Fulfill Your Mission

  • Plan aggressive but achievable schedules for delivering upcoming releases of our launch system. Coordinate interfaces and integration points with all other development teams. Provide input to the Product Management team to inform the long-term roadmap for Astra’s launch system.
  • Build and develop a team of world-class Technical Program Managers (TPMs), establishing common standards and practices for Program Management that will be applied across the company. Guide and draw on the work of these TPMs in order to fulfil your mission.
  • Partner with a full spectrum of cross-functional stakeholders in your program, including Product, Engineering, Manufacturing, Test, and Launch – to help ensure that we are building the right thing, building it right, testing it right, managing interfaces and integration well, and operating it correctly on its path to orbit.
  • Provide insight on program status, critical path, risks, and opportunities to de-risk or accelerate our schedule, based on building and maintaining a detailed view of our program schedule with inputs from all teams. Use these insights to prioritize resource, make strategic decisions, and keep us on track to an aggressive but achievable timeline.
  • Align teams around complex multi-stakeholder decisions that need to be made along the way, based on understanding the technical and business issues involved.
  • Deliver on-time and on-budget product releases by planning, partnering, and driving execution effectively. Surface blockers and resolve them as soon as possible, pulling in stakeholders across the company as needed.  Identify important decisions that need to be made and apply a DACI process to convene stakeholders, get the right inputs, make the right decisions, and communicate them clearly to the right people at the right time.
  • Inspire our teams to pull together towards our common goals and successfully deliver the next generation of orbital launch vehicles, realizing Astra’s vision of daily space delivery one step at a time.

Can you do this job? 

  • 8+ years of experience in program/project management for complex product development programs
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and mentor other Technical Program Managers
  • Experience interfacing with senior executives, and the professional maturity to “push back” with tact when necessary
  • Ability to engage effectively with cross-functional stakeholders in order to drive program execution
  • Thorough understanding of agile project management techniques, including scrum and waterfall
  • Technical background, with demonstrated ability to engage on technical topics whenever needed to understand schedules and drive execution
  • Comfort with ambiguity, and ability to create structure where needed
  • Structured and top-down approach to problem solving
  • Outstanding leadership and organizational skills
  • Excellent communication skills, for audiences ranging from junior engineers to senior executives
  • Ability to work with common project management tools including Smartsheet and Jira
  • Must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in an Engineering discipline, or equivalent technical experience

Desired multipliers 

  • Advanced degree in an area of specialization, particularly in Engineering OR an MBA
  • Project Management Certification – PMP
  • Experience in Scrum or Scrum Certification

We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 

ITAR Requirements: To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. 

© Astra Space Inc. All rights reserved; Astra is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. We encourage people of different backgrounds, experiences, abilities, and perspectives to apply. 

San Francisco Applicants: Astra will consider applicants with arrest and conviction records (criminal histories) in a manner consistent with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance. 

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Tagged as: project management, program management, rocket launch, executive role

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