Head of New Product Development (NPD)

England, Bristol
01 Nov 2019
15 Nov 2019
Antony Curmi
Department Head
Contract Type

We are looking for a Head of NPD based in Bristol. You will be one of the first employees at this site, actively supporting the creation of our new R&D facility and supporting the recruitment of the initial team.

Client Details

Elvie develop smarter technology for women and are committed to building extraordinary products that improve women's lives. It's a fascinating and challenging area to be addressing as it requires all our employees to stretch themselves and solve problems that no-one's tackled before. That's why we're looking for skilled, curious individuals who want to grow by surrounding themselves with a diverse array of outstanding people.

As a business, Elvie has received more than 30 awards, was named one of 15 startups "To Watch" by The Sunday Times and Business Insider, and was ranked as the 13th fastest growing business in the UK by SyndicateRoom. Tania Boler has recently been rated as the 8th most influential person shaping british technology in 2019 by Business Insider .


What you will do:

  • Play an active and strategic role in managing the NPD vertical and support the design managers that report into you. While your Design Managers are in the detail you see the bigger picture
  • Your team will receive proven out but early stage projects from our innovation team and will be responsible for developing them through to transfer readiness to our manufacturing team.
  • You will be responsible for ensuring the standards required to pass those critical milestones have been met (or exceeded) by your team
  • You will enjoy a helicopter view as the projects progress and this distance will afford you a different perspective to your team, you will be responsible for forward planning, pre-empting and smoothing out (if not removing) road-blocks and obstacles that might slow your team down. These might include; IP, manufacturing, resourcing, out-sourcing, regulatory affairs, competitors
  • You work for the Design Managers that report in to you. It is your job to get them what they need to do their best work.
  • Act as a sounding board/second opinion/course corrector for their plans
  • You will ensure consistency and continuity within product development across multiple projects and multiple Design Managers
  • Help tune the product development process according to the specific characteristics of each project. You will refine and improve the product development process as a whole
  • Ultimately you will be accountable for your team delivering game changing best-in-class products on time, on spec and on cost against the changing needs of the business
  • Some travel will be expected between sites and to offices and suppliers in Asia.

Key responsibilities

  • Supporting a team of Design Managers, enabling them to do the very best work of their careers
  • Setting expectations for high standards of product development within your team, aligning those expectations with your counterpart in the NPI (innovation) vertical and helping your team to meet those expectations
  • Managing project budgets and (with the help of the finance team) developing creative ways of tracking and reporting this
  • Working with Project Managers to manage project risk without compromising product experience or spec
    Championing free flowing but well managed communication between project stakeholders across the product development team (Product Managers, Project Managers, Quality, Regulatory, Manufacturing, Operations)
    Facilitating design reviews for each project at a suitable cadence and with an appropriate invite list - managing these reviews to ensure they are structured and productive
  • Assisting Project Managers and Design Managers with planning and reporting on the progress of multiple projects
  • Coordinating project transfer activities with your counterpart in the NPR (manufacturing) vertical
  • Reviewing and approving formal design documentation prior to critical milestones


Who you are

  • You have held a Head of or similarly senior position within a related industry (physical product development) or have been a Design Manager for several years and are ready for a new challenge.
  • You have worked your way up to this position which has given you broad exposure to the entire product development process
  • You're ambitious when it comes to product development and set very high standards yet you're pragmatic and realistic about how these standards can be met by your team
  • lead by example and you wouldn't expect your team to do anything you wouldn't be willing to do yourself.
  • You have experienced both opportunity and risk during product development. The Project Manager in you sees projects as collections of risks and critical paths, the Product Designer in you sees projects as opportunities to deliver exceptional products to our customers
  • You've been through the wringer on difficult projects and learned from the detailed design and manufacturing phases. This has given you the experience to spot potential pitfalls and avoid them on future projects
  • You have a great breadth of knowledge across many product development disciplines - research, mechanical, electronics, digital, manufacturing, operations, reliability, approvals, project management and you have empathy for the challenges these teams face. You can switch contexts between these disciplines
  • Support Design Managers and Project Managers to build realistic project plans
  • You a able to simplify complex decisions and capable of helping others do the same clearly explaining your logic and thought process

Job Offer

Excellent package