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The Guardian restructures IT department as digital director steps down

Jenny Williams

The Guardian is merging its technology development and product management functions to create a new digital development department.

As a result, digital development director - and former technology director - at The Guardian, Mike Bracken, has stepped down. Bracken was responsible for all consumer-facing technology services and applications across The Guardian, Observer and Guardian.co.uk.

The new department will now report to Sheila Fitzsimons, director of product development at The Guardian and Adam Freeman, director of consumer media.

In an internal message sent to Guardian News & Media Group (GNM) staff, GNM CEO, Andrew Miller, said, "Mike Bracken is stepping down as digital development director, with immediate effect. He goes with our best wishes and thanks for his contribution to the business, in particular the 'R2' rebuild of guardian.co.uk, the open platform and his work to attract digital talent to GNM."

Digital publishers have made lots of changes to in-house IT departments with greater use of external suppliers and a move towards product management rather than project-based roles.

A spokesman for GNM said, "We're bringing together the previously separate technology development and product management departments so that we have a completely joined-up approach to the development of new digital products."

The spokesman also said that the separate enterprise technology department, for IT support, infrastructure and networks, was unaffected by the changes.

While GNM has outsourced some IT roles, the company has brought in information architects, analytics and product development managers as a discipline.

GNM uses an agile environment for developing web applications and has scrapped project management and business analyst roles to replace them with product managers. Further details of the reorganisation and new leadership are expected in June 2011.

The Guardian will release its new Apple iPad app later this year.


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