Technical Product Manager
What We Do
Overleaf is a startup and social enterprise that builds modern collaborative authoring tools for scientists — like Google Docs for Science. We have over three million registered users from around the world. Our primary product is an online, real time collaborative editor for papers, theses, technical reports and other documents written in the LaTeX markup language.
Who We Are
Overleaf was founded by two mathematicians who were inspired by their own experiences in academia to create a better solution for scientific collaboration and communication. Now we are a team of thirty based mainly in and around the UK and in the US. We were recognised as one of the UK's top 100 fastest growing businesses in 2018.
In September 2018, we officially launched 'Overleaf v2', the latest version of our platform, which we've been working on since our acquisition of ShareLaTeX, the other major online LaTeX editor, in 2017. We've now integrated the two products and teams.
How We Work
Overleaf is remote-first — all founders and staff work remotely. We also have an office by King's Cross station for those in the London area, and we get the whole team together in London several times a year for face-to-face time.
We encourage flexible working. Our core hours are 2pm–5pm UK time, during which we have a 10–15 minute daily standup call for the whole development team. We have few standing meetings for the development team, but we do many smaller video or voice calls for pairing or within project groups.
We don't yet have standing teams, but we form and dissolve smaller teams on a per-project basis; we try to give everyone the opportunity to serve as a team lead if they want to.
We always collect user feedback to inform our work. We have UX professionals on our team, and we run many surveys and user interviews.
We organise our work with Kanban. We use GitHub pull requests for each feature with code review to share knowledge and best practices (and catch bugs). We test thoroughly with automated unit and acceptance tests, supported by continuous integration (CI). We're also fans of linting to minimise bikeshedding (and to catch bugs).
About This Role
This is a broad role, which you will be able to shape as the business grows, but in the short term we will ask you to:
- Work closely with the development team as a product owner throughout the development process:
- Take the lead in product and feature design, representing the needs of the user and other stakeholders to the engineering team,
- Work with the engineering team to make sure that we are taking an approach which maximises the value to the user, while minimising technical complexity,
- Prioritise tickets in bi-weekly sprint planning sessions to make sure we are regularly delivering small improvements, rather than only focusing on big feature releases,
- Monitor the impact of new features and releases, to determine if they achieved the goals set out for them at the start.
- Work closely with internal teams (sales & marketing, support, business) to:
- Understand the users they engage with and the problems, pain points and requests they are seeing,
- Clearly communicate our roadmap and product changes in advance of their launch,
- Run early rounds of internal feedback gathering, before we launch to users,
- Understand how our internal tooling can be improved for internal users
- Work closely with our UX team to:
- Develop strategies for regularly monitoring and collecting user feedback,
- Formulate hypotheses which we can answer with user feedback and testing.
- Work closely with our CTO and CEO to:
- Plan out the longer term product roadmap
- Understand the high level company vision and goals, and make sure these are reflected in ongoing product development
As a recent example of a project which required many of these roles was the development of the Overleaf v2 git bridge:
- We designed and ran a survey to assess which workflows were important to users in Overleaf v2, and then a follow on survey and user interviews after an initial beta launch. One of the outcomes of this was a reversal of a decision to remove git bridge, once we understood how crucial it was to many users' workflows.
- Implementing the git bridge in Overleaf was a complex technical challenge, where different engineering choices would have different impacts to the user's workflow, and vice-versa. Effectively bringing together the engineering team, user feedback, and product vision was important in finding the best solution.
- We rolled out the git bridge slowly to a beta cohort of users, to assess feedback and catch any usability problems early.
- Keeping the support team up to date so they could communicate the situation to users, and let interested users into the beta program was important.
- Giving the sales and marketing team reasonable estimates that they could communicate back to clients was important.
- We are conducting another large scale survey and round of follow up feedback on the launch of Overleaf v2, and part of the focus of this will be on learning how the git bridge is now perceived and used.
As a product manager, you would have been involved in leadership, product decisions and coordination between teams that went into the above process.
Here are some examples of other projects we've recently completed:
This year, we have many projects planned including Single Sign On for our many university clients, improvements to our rich text mode, Dropbox sync, B2C conversion funnel, and much more.
- A strong intuition for what makes products a joy to use,
- Empathy for how different users will need different things out of a product at different stages, and how to effectively serve these different needs in one product,
- Strong communication and mediation skills,
- A technical enough background to understand how the user facing product will tie into backend and architectural decisions.
How We Hire
The stages in our hiring process are typically:
- We will aim to update you on the status of your application within one week from when we receive it.
- We'll follow up by email (or sometimes schedule a phone call) with any questions we have about your application, usually around logistics, your ambitions and your expectations about the role.
- We'll schedule a more in-depth interview, which is typically two hours long. The first hour is discussion, and the second hour is practical. For the practical, you'll have the option of either completing a homework assignment, which requires about one hour of your time before the interview, or doing an exercise during the interview, if you prefer. The exercises are practical in nature, and you can use Google, etc., and ask us questions.
- We'll make an offer. We usually interview in batches, so there may be a short delay while we interview other candidates, but we will try to keep you informed throughout the process.
If you have a deadline, please let us know in your application, and we will try to be accommodating.
We require that you:
- have a minimum of 2–3 years of relevant experience (we aren't taking on more new graduates at the moment).
- will work for us full time (or nearly full time).
- will usually be available in our core hours, 2pm–5pm UK time.
- Remote and flexible working.
- Salary £40k–£75k per year depending on experience.
- You would join a small, dedicated and growing team.
- We're substantially (around 80%) open source, so your work will often be on open source.
- We're backed by Bethnal Green Ventures (https://bethnalgreenventures.com/) and Digital Science (https://www.digital-science.com/), through which we're part of a wider community of startups in science, health and ed-tech.
- Our London office is shared with several other Digital Science companies, so there's lots of interesting people to meet, and clubs and sports activities outside of work.
- You can pick your own equipment. MacBook Pro? Lenovo ThinkPad? Notebook and pen? However you like to work, we'll provide what you need.
- We provide a training budget; many of our staff choose to attend relevant industry conferences or buy training materials.
- We run a biweekly internal seminar series (show and tell) with short talks from staff about their work or personal projects, new technologies and techniques.
We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.