DPM Archetypes | How to hire the right talent profile for your ops team

Candace Myers
3 min readJan 12, 2022

Archetypes are used across disciplines in the tech and creative industry to help make the most of top talent, help managers build benches and lean into the strengths of their team. Most recently in my time at Meta, archetypes were highly leveraged in the senior IC product design space.

The role of Design Program Manager or creative operations has always been a bit esoteric to our partners. We’re not project managers or EA’s but we often do some project management and there can be overlap with executive assistant work, in the sense that we are multipliers of execs.

Over the past few years I have considered DPM archetypes and how they can help define and grow the profession, not only on latent ops teams but on ops teams that are mature and have the will to grow senior talent. Not all DPM’s are archetypal, many creative ops professionals are generalists, who make connections across a variety of needs and hone in on their similarities, systematizing and streamlining seemingly disparate elements and creating a system to manage them for a particular outcome.

I find thinking through archetypes to be especially valuable in recruiting, hiring and growing a team. Of course, demonstrated design acumen and design thinking is a must for any and all creative operations professionals.

DPM ARCHETYPES: in no particular order

  1. Chief of Staff: I am the first person you go to with a problem spanning people, process and product spaces respectively. My super power is leveraging my operational knowledge, internal and external to the company or team to mobilize operational solutions at scale. I tend to have my finger on the pulse of team culture and highly leverage-able relationships. Hire me if you need to set big programs into motion. My work serves culture & leadership influence at scale.
  2. Visionary: I take a large opportunity or problem space and deliver a compelling, highly creative and strategic vision. My super power is that I am as creative and creatively generative as I am operationally strategic, so I am optimally suited to solve problems of form and function. Hire me if you have the need to align complex and disparate work streams or functions. My work serves 0 to 1.
  3. Craftsperson/Specialist: I greatly enjoy going deep into one or two things and learning everything about them in order to perfect their operational pipeline. My super power is my ability to bring bespoke processes and drive a team around a particularly domain specific initiative. Hire me if you have a niche team with niche needs. My work serves craft over scale.
  4. Tooling Expert: I am schooled in the cutting edge of industry tooling. I know how to maximize team impact via tooling, including SCRUM, design tools, project management tools and beyond. My super power is leveraging tools to scale and automate efficiencies and reduce human operational load. Hire me as a multiplier and technical innovator. My work serves to scale.
  5. Producer: I understand the creative process, and I can manage a high volume & variety of things at once. My super power is creating the track for shipping creative and keeping the trains running on time. Hire me if you have a chaotic creative pipeline that needs innovation and order. My work is systematic.

Do you think I missed anything? Sound off in the comments.

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Candace Myers

Pinterest, Facebook, & Netflix design & creative operations. Never backed down from a work challenge, & I’ve failed a lot. Rich in insights, typos & tattoos.