TolaData Product Owner

Closing date:

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

Program / Department Summary / Team

To ensure that we can anticipate and adapt to changes in the toughest challenges around the world, Mercy Corps must continue to seek ways to enhance our organization’s culture and functionality. This requires ensuring we have the right people, capacities and systems to not only implement programs but to ensure learning is used and leveraged to enable influence and impact throughout implementation. As part of the Program Performance mission, Mercy Corps has a web-based software solution, called TolaData, that is used by Mercy Corps team members to support learning and adaptive program management by improving the quality of program data and ensuring we retain the evidence necessary to support the results we report on our programs.

The global TolaData team helps a program or country team analyze their current portfolio and provide custom solutions based on our well-defined and tested templates and standards in Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). These solutions create a holistic M&E and learning system flexible enough to meet the ever-changing team demands while providing new opportunities to share and aggregate data. We are continuously gathering feedback, testing and making changes to ensure the product is of value to the users.

The Position

The TolaData Product Owner will translate business requirements into actionable user stories, ensure development has met those requirements, and serve as a bridge between TolaData development and business owners, facilitating communication and coordinating of development activities. They will collaboratively define the product roadmap, balancing business priorities with development team resource constraints and long term risk mitigation. The TolaData Product Owner will take ownership of the product backlog, ensuring that functional requirements are captured in the form of development-ready tickets in addition to functional, acceptance, and QA testing to ensure delivery of high quality features and enhancements.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Product Ownership & Management

  • Serve as Product Owner on the development team, gathering and translating business requirements into actionable user stories and managing the product backlog.
  • Actively seek and encourage feedback from the business owners to inform the prioritization of new product features and enhancements for development.
  • Lead the product-release plans and set expectations for delivery of new functionalities
  • Serve as a product ambassador internally and externally, sharing knowledge and answering questions related to the product
  • Work with team leadership to define why we build specific features by creating and maintaining a product backlog according to business value or ROI
  • Collaborate with project stakeholders to develop and manage the product roadmap
  • Coordinate and perform functional, quality assurance, and acceptance testing to ensure that new features and enhancements are built as designed; identify and support developers in resolving bugs and usability issues.
  • Contribute to the development of TolaData user support documentation and other user support tools, including providing content for periodic release updates to ensure users are aware of any changes or enhancements to the TolaData platform.
  • Remove blockers, ensuring developers have the information they need to complete work.

Software User Discovery & Design

  • Perform or collaborate closely with others who perform visual design and user interface development to deliver a high quality, polished look and feel.
  • Lead or collaborate with others on the planning and execution of user experience research including heuristic evaluation, interviews, on-site observation, and usability testing.
  • Engage project stakeholders, subject matter experts, and end users in discussions and participatory design activities that drive towards a clear articulation of the problem space, and ensure that system requirements align with Mercy Corps standards and best practices.
  • Identify usability improvements, feature enhancements, and new features that will drive adoption to meet TolaData’s global objectives.
  • Synthesize user experience research into clear explanations and recommendations, and into incisive conceptual models (personas, task analysis maps, etc.) that drive interaction design.
  • Brainstorm, visualize, and communicate design solutions via well-crafted user stories, workflow diagrams, wireframes, mockups, and low-fidelity prototypes.


Reports Directly To: Director of Data Services and Enterprise Architecture

Works Directly With: TolaData software development team, business owners on the program performance team, regional subject matter leaders, and Tola end users.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

​Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or substantial demonstrated equivalent experience.
  • A minimum of 3 years experience as a lead Product Owner for a large scale software application.
  • Exceptional ability to break down complex problems, develop strategies to address them and communicate succinctly with a range of stakeholders.
  • Experience in the application of product management principles.
  • Proven experience gathering business requirements and communicating to a non-technical audience.
  • Exceptional organizational and communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively across different teams.
  • The ability to work with remote teams across multiple time zones (experience working in the developing country context preferred).
  • Interest in human centered design in a software development environment preferred.

Success Factors

The successful candidate is a problem solver, who is adept in successfully dealing with issues of complexity. They are a skilled communicator, able to develop and utilize strong relationships with team members. They will coordinate with their supervisor and others across the agency and be effective at building working relationships with stakeholders. The TolaData Product Owner will gather business requirements, translate those requirements into user stories, and lead the design process to ensure a user-friendly software interface and an intuitive user experience. They have a strong understanding of applying technology solutions and strong interpersonal skills to assist others in learning and utilization of software tools. They are comfortable presenting product design concepts to a variety of audiences and incorporating others’ ideas and feedback. The successful candidate will have proven experience working with a cross-cultural team and make effective communication a priority in all situations. The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong commitment to delivering quality products and building great teams.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position can be based in Portland, Oregon or remote from anywhere in the US. If remote, this role may include occasional travel to Portland for team meetings and occasionally to country offices across the agency. Travel may be to insecure areas with limited access to medical facilities and amenities.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC’s policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

How to apply

Apply here

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