Head of Research Craft, Remote (EU or NA)

  • Salary: Annual
  • Format: Full-time/permanent; remote within compatible timezones
  • Location: Remotely supporting research teams in the UK and Eastern Canada
  • Reports to: Managing Director
  • Applications close: Sunday 27th February 2022

 

At Player Research we want the world to experience brilliant games; ones full of adventure, surprise and intrigue – the ones you can’t put down, and those you talk about for days.

Across the world we partner with game development teams to realise their creative visions by providing meaningful insight into how real players experience play.

We are the premier partner for games user research.  From our Brighton and Montreal studios we design and conduct award-winning UX research for video games: usability testing, expert reviews, engagement diaries, training courses… and so much more.

We work with game developers, publishers, platform owners, incubators, universities… As an external research studio we collaborate far and wide. Around one third of our projects are commissioned by games user research teams inside studios or publishers.

Hundreds of game development studios rely on our insights into usability, UX, appeal and play.

Our projects come in all shapes and sizes, from testing user interfaces to interviewing super-fans; game console UI, to toys-to-life; AAA full-playthroughs, to rapid expert evaluations for indies. Our consultant researchers are brought to the heart of design decision-making in projects of all types, be that spanning years of development or as one-off strategic research engagements.

We are exceptionally proud of our decade-long reputation for authenticity, transparency and rigour. And we’d love to make you a part of it.

About the role

The Head of Research Craft role owns technical skill growth of our games user research staff globally, ensuring we continually delivery high-quality insights across our influential business.

This is an established position within our business, developing under your guidance.

The Head of Research Craft works to continually improve the rigour, impact and efficiency of our user research projects. They function as both an individual contributor and as a mentor to our talented Researchers.

You’ll be on-the-job coaching, soliciting feedback, organising internal and external training activities, and implementing your own vision for continual improvement. The Head of Research Craft defines and implements the strategic initiatives that drive growth in our staff and practice. All-the-while being unafraid to push methodological boundaries and experiment.

You’ll be instrumental in balancing consistency with creativity and innovation in our approaches: delivering to the fullest potential of the method, the project team, and our client’s research opportunity.

By involving yourself in key research projects — either actively as a project manager or passively as a mentor — your influence will accelerate the professional skills growth of staff, and shape the future of our consultancy.

You’ll design and execute training, solicit feedback, and lead by example to promote a culture of learning and improvement

You will naturally develop relationships with key devstudio partners through your involvement in co-designing research strategies alongside our Client Relations team, and supporting the delivery of excellent research to plan alongside our Research teams. You’ll become an ambassador for our business, both project-to-project and in business development events and conferences, and share in the pride of this fantastic workplace we’ve collectively built.

The Head of Research Craft is a ‘dotted line’ manager for all Games User Researchers in the business. Full-time people management (‘solid line’) is owned by a People Manager in each regional studio. Our Head of Research Craft is the central manager responsible for providing guidance, mentorship, and performance evaluation on topics of research and technical skills for researchers cross both studios.

 

What is a ‘dotted line manager’? Click for more.

The ‘Solid line’ and ‘Dotted line’ reporting structure is a tried-and-tested approach to dividing up management responsibilities between multiple individuals in a scalable and transparent way.

A dotted line manager— our Head of Research Craft — has oversight for our Researcher’s performance and growth in technical, research-domain-related areas. Solid line managers are more conventional managers, supporting the staff with professional skill growth, day-to-day support and regional administration.

Together, these two managers are empowered to deliver high-quality development in both professional skills and technical skills, and a high-quality employee experience, without compromise.

Learn more about ‘dotted line’ managers.

 

Remote Working

Player Research own state-of-the-art research premises in Brighton UK (GMT) and Montreal Canada (GMT-5), however the pandemic continues to prevent research sessions involving the general public, and Player Research is moving to remote and hybrid working across the business.

The Head of Research Craft supports Researchers in both our regions, and we therefore seek remote applicants located in a compatible time zone. For individuals considering relocation to an area within a compatible time zone, including seeking relocation to Brighton/Montreal, we offer conditional support packages for relocation and visas. Please discuss your circumstances and goals with us.

Our staff are a healthy mix of expert practitioners and ex-academics, of ambitious career-starters and seasoned professionals. We’re constantly seeking experienced games user researchers—like you— to bring unique perspectives and learnings to help us grow, and to offer even richer insight to our client studios. In return, Player Research provides a stable and vibrant workplace to conduct the most fulfilling work of your career.

Who do we work with?

Game developers, publishers, platform owners, incubators, universities… As an external research studio we collaborate far and wide. You’ll benefit from the long-term relationships we’ve forged with our key partners, while also having opportunities to develop fresh relationships with studios taking their first steps in player-centric development.

Every month we welcome new clients; each places their trust in Player Research to guide their creative vision to deliver commercial success.

Although we collaborate with studios big and small, it’s noted that we choose not to contribute research to certain genres, such as real money gambling, nor adult entertainment games.

Core Responsibilities

  • Overseeing performance and continual professional growth for our ~13 games user researchers as their ‘dotted line’ manager and mentor
  • Strategic involvement in research projects of all shapes and sizes; deliberately involving yourself as either a client-facing consultant, an on-project researcher, or as a mentor to project teams
  • Collaboratively drive the recruitment and onboarding of new Games User Researchers
  • Become a trusted consultant for key clients: collaboratively designing campaigns of innovative research, writing research proposals, and sharing your expertise on topics of player research
  • Construct learning and development initiatives on topics of research craft: communicating with stakeholders, methodological excellence, project management, and so on
  • Schedule and oversee project retrospectives to ensure systematic reflection and adoption of learnings
  • Change-manage improvements to research protocols by capturing and documenting our learnings and innovations
  • Explore opportunities to design novel or adapted research approaches to drive evermore insight into the game development process
  • ‘Spotlight’ and reward the excellent work of your colleagues to show appreciation, promote wellbeing, and increase eminence both internally to Player Research and on the world stage
  • Be constantly ‘on the pulse’ of our company culture, working closely with our People Managers, Strategy and Support teams, including international travel and on-sites (post-pandemic)

Skills/Experience Required

  • Significant hands-on experience of leading user research projects, ideally in game development
  • Passion and knowledge of video game user experience and game development
  • Knowledge of applied research methods and best practices in user research: behavioural and attitudinal, quant and qual, tactical and iterative
  • Demonstrable experience supporting the growth of others, e.g. through coaching, mentorship, management, and/or formal training
  • Strong communication skills and an empathetic leadership style

Bonus Points

  • A PhD or Masters in a relevant field, e.g. psychology, HCI, ergonomics, gamedev
  • Deep/broad experience of games user research specifically as project manager, strategist or lead
  • Experience of formal people management (as sole manager or ‘dotted line’)
  • Experience of agency/consultancy, or working in a centralised team
  • Experience working ’embedded’ with senior production stakeholders on a project team
  • Specialist quantitative data analysis expertise and/or applied game telemetry knowledge

Location and Starting

  • For immediate start, but we’re flexible for the right candidate
  • Our offices and playtest labs in both regions are presently closed to in-person research and will remain so until our research team are comfortable to resume in person testing. This role is offered as permanently remote, with support for relocation if desired
  • When it’s appropriate to travel, we expect scheduled training visits to our teams in Brighton, Montreal, and/or other remote staff, fully funded by the business.
  • Player Research works in GMT+0 (London) and GMT-5 (Montreal) and anticipate candidates to currently be in, or relocate to, compatible timezones
  • We’re also open to proposals for flexible or part-time work for this role

Salary, Benefits and Perks

  • Great salaries, always in-step with games user research pay
  • Generous annual leave allowance
  • Life assurance plan
  • Pension plan
  • Income protection plan
  • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
  • Optional subsidised private medical cover
  • State-of-the-art research labs in Brighton and Montreal
  • Relocation support for yourself and family
  • Region-specific perks and benefits
  • Friendly, inclusive teams with a range of interests and activities to join

In addition to base salary we include a modest personal/company performance-based annual bonus, and a host of perks specific to each region.

Visas and Right To Work

In addition to offering this remote role, we are pleased to offer visa sponsorship to support international applicants for this role if they wish to relocate. Please identify on your application whether or not you have an existing right to work in the UK and/or Canada.

Requirements for those without an existing right to work in Canada: minimum three or more years of industry experience (further information on immigration to Canada).

For those without an existing right to work in the UK: minimum two or more years of industry experience, plus professional-level spoken and written English (further information on immigration to the UK).

Please discuss your circumstances and goals with us.

Apply

Please submit your CV and a cover letter sharing your career goals to [email protected]

The closing date for this role is Sunday 27th February 2022. We will confirm receipt of your application, but most applicant communication will occur after the closing date.

We are not accepting CVs from agencies at this time.

We really appreciate the time taken to complete each application. If you haven’t heard from us by mid March 2022, you should assume that on this occasion your application has not been successful. Due to the number of applications received, we are unfortunately unable to give detailed or specific feedback on applications.

We are an equal opportunity employer and strongly value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, parental status, or disability. Player Research doesn’t simply accept differences — we actively celebrate and support it for the benefit of our job applicants, our employees, our services, and our community.

Your Personal Data

Player Research is strongly committed to protecting your personal information. By sending your CV/Resume, you are agreeing to our terms and conditions and consent to your data being managed and retained in accordance with our data privacy and retention policy.

Stand out and be passionate. Good luck.


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