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Lead Program Manager, Design



Design, Operations
United States
Posted on Thursday, December 21, 2023

Airbnb was born in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, and has since grown to over 4 million Hosts who have welcomed more than 1 billion guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe. Every day, Hosts offer unique stays and experiences that make it possible for guests to connect with communities in a more authentic way.

Design Operations enables Airbnb’s Design group to run effectively to make products that are usable, lovable, and scalable for our users. Partnering closely with Design, Product Management, Engineering, and business leaders, we drive Airbnb’s priorities through seamless day-to-day operations and strong stakeholder alignment, with an eye towards scale and efficiency.

The Design Program Managers on this team lead the end-to-end planning, execution, and budgeting of programs to deliver success for our product, hosts, and guests. With a strong appreciation for the practice and process of design, you understand the multiple disciplines that go into a successful product. You bring creativity to the operational aspects of a design team and deal with solving the “how,” freeing up your design lead peers to focus on crafting the “what.”

You anticipate how decisions are made, persistently explore and uncover new ways of doing things, and work collaboratively with stakeholders. You have demonstrated strong performance in your prior roles; you thrive in ambiguity and demonstrate problem-solving leadership with limited oversight.


As a Lead Design Program Manager (DPM), you will partner with our Design Managers and/or Directors and cross-functional leaders to drive delivery of quarterly and annual roadmap objectives and ensure that what we promise in our roadmap is what we deliver in our product. You will drive tight alignment of activities across teams through cross-functional planning,strong communication, and rigorous program management.

In this role, you are responsible for the program management and operations of a design team focused on a critical product initiative (as part of a broader launch) as well as establishing an operating rhythm within your team. You will lead the end-to-end scoping, planning, execution, and launch of your program to deliver success for our product, hosts, and guests. You will also serve as the bridge between critical business functions, aligning stakeholders, providing visibility into the workstream's progress, elevating risks, and shepherding the team through the process of bringing our work to life. You will partner closely with the Head of Design Program Management to provide insight on program progress and raise any red flags that could affect delivery.

  • Drive consistency and harmony in design team operating rhythm, including communication structures, project templates, leadership cadence, and resource utilization..
  • Initiate and run internal initiatives that significantly improve the Design org’s operations and cross-functional ways of working.
  • Optimize interaction models between Product Marketing, Engineering, Design, Creative, and Marketing, influencing cross-functionally to identify opportunity, unlock productivity, and accelerate execution.
  • Drive continuous improvement leveraging lessons learned from teams to celebrate successes as well as identify ways to improve.
  • Identify and predict obstacles, collisions, and risk to projects across multiple teams and seek solutions to eliminate them.
  • Inspire, develop, and challenge Airbnb's Design Program Management team, modeling excellence.
  • Build a following: attract and nurture the best talent.


  • BA/BS with 12+ years Consulting, Program Management, Product Management, Project Management or relevant experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to work through ambiguity to detailed solutions. You can take a vague problem, crisply frame the challenge, identify a path forward, and drive an initiative over the finish-line.
  • Track record of managing and shipping impactful design initiatives in a large digital product org.
  • Long-term strategic thinking balanced with near-term execution skills. Distinctive problem solving skills.
  • Proven ability to build strong relationships and influence business leaders.
  • Demonstrable leadership skills and experience in mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution.
  • Demonstrated track record successfully managing ambitious and operationally complex projects with cross-functional teams.
  • Experience in structuring and implementing initiatives at scale with design and product teams.
  • Background in establishing systems: experience developing process where little exists, and demonstrated flexibility to get things done.
  • Passionate and enthusiastic about organizational excellence and attention to detail
  • Thrives in ambiguity in a fast-paced, hyper-growth organization

Preferred Qualifications

  • Deep knowledge of and appreciation for the Product Design process
  • Experience with or understanding of cross-functional (Design, Product Management, Product Marketing, Engineering) product-driven organizations or digital agency

How We'll Take Care of You:

Our job titles may span more than one career level. The actual base pay is dependent upon many factors, such as: training, transferable skills, work experience, business needs and market demands. The base pay range is subject to change and may be modified in the future. This role may also be eligible for bonus, equity, benefits, and Employee Travel Credits.

Pay Range
$150,000$186,000 USD