Ryan McNamara, Project Manager in Sandy, UT, United States
Ryan is available for hire
Hire Ryan

Ryan McNamara

Verified Expert  in Project Management

Project Manager

Sandy, UT, United States
Toptal Member Since
September 4, 2020

Ryan is a senior technical program manager with experience as an Air Force officer in the Department of Defense, the space industry, and the autonomous vehicle industry. He is a cybersecurity and project management expert, holding an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and many industry standard certifications, including PMP and CISSP. Ryan excels at leading diverse, distributed teams on technically challenging projects, ensuring deliverables meet high standards and all requirements are met.

Project Highlights

Bug Resolution for Autonomous Vehicle Operations
I established troubleshooting processes and built Jira automation and dashboards to resolve bugs found in daily autonomous vehicle operations that improved visibility and slashed total bugs by 80%, cutting mission startup time by 50%.
Top-tier Software Developer Platform
Led three development teams that built and maintained a software development platform for 100,000+ space system software developers.
Cyber Mission Defense Team for Military Aircraft
Led the establishment of one of the Air Force's first mission defense teams, which are tasked with active cyber defense of military aircraft.


Work Experience

Senior Director of Operations

2023 - PRESENT
Dandelion Science Corp
  • Revamped the processes, procedures, and tooling for a neurotechnology company, migrating the company from Notion to Jira and instituting Agile development processes.
  • Managed research, development, and experiments for the startup. Ryan led the development of their laboratory, automated the recruiting processes, and guided their experimental roadmap.
  • Led the development of an AI Deep Learning system to treat visual and brain disorders. The system generates visual dynamics, optimized based on EEG signals, to deliver therapeutic effects for sufferers of visual and brain disorders.

Technical Program Manager

2020 - PRESENT
Toptal Clients
  • Served as a technical program manager, leading software development projects and advising technology companies on project management, Agile development, and process improvement.
  • Led projects from inception through discovery, planning, and implementation. Collected customer requirements, facilitated planning workshops, and led software development teams through successful implementation.
  • Led a Toptal development team to build a fully-automated cloud-to-cloud backup solution for Office 365 products.
  • Directed a software development team to build a mobile application for conducting mutual background checks before meeting in person.
  • Revamped a healthcare technology company's implementation of Jira, improving planning, tracking, and reporting. Improved cross-team coordination and standardized data for improved metrics and reporting.

Senior Technical Program Manager

2020 - 2022
Uber Advanced Technologies Group (now Aurora Innovation)
  • Spearheaded data analysis, triage, and resolution of 10,000s of incidents logged in daily on-road operations. Improved triage efficiency and visibility, slashing the backlog of issues by 80% and decreasing mission startup time by 50%.
  • Managed new builds and upgrades of computers, sensors, firmware, and software for the company's autonomous vehicle fleet.
  • Developed information security training and secure coding training for new hires, revamping previous training and implementing it company-wide after a merger.
  • Served as resident Jira expert, revamping the project management tooling and processes for the software organization of 500+ engineers. Streamlined the quarterly planning process, reducing it from weeks to days.

Software Development Manager

2018 - 2020
  • Managed three software development teams with 24 engineers, software testers, and developers for NetServices, an IT services firm with a reputation for high-quality, cost-effective solutions for the US DoD and intelligence community.
  • Implemented industry-leading DevOps, Agile, and Scrum methodologies that adapt to government contracting requirements.
  • Expanded and maintained a software development platform for space mission system software developers.
  • Managed a software program configuring ServiceNow Software Asset Management that provided the customer with cost-saving information and ensured compliance for 10,000s users. Grew program scope and revenue from $600,000 to $2.5 million.

Software Engineering Team Manager

2017 - 2018
Perspecta, Inc.
  • Led a software engineering team that managed a dev platform for DoD space system software developers for Perspecta, Inc., which provides enterprise IT services to government customers in the US federal, state, and local markets.
  • Utilized DevOps, Scrum, and Agile methodologies, which were used as a model for future government software development contracts.
  • Developed the first end-to-end mapping of IT projects to DoD space mission milestones.
  • Served as the cloud computing domain expert, architecting solutions to meet space system software developer needs.

Cyber Defense Project Manager

2013 - 2017
US Air Force
  • Established the first cyber defense team for the JSTARS aircraft as an Air Force pilot unit.
  • Built three new deployable communications packages for the Air Force, including development, testing, and accreditation. The communications package is now used by 50+ units and has been deployed worldwide.
  • Managed deployment, training, and maintenance of 112 personnel and $26.7 million in communications equipment.
  • Deployed twice as a flight commander managing seven personnel and $2 million in software and cryptographic equipment, supporting daily combat flight operations.

Bug Resolution for Autonomous Vehicle Operations

I established troubleshooting processes and built Jira automation and dashboards to resolve bugs found in daily autonomous vehicle operations that improved visibility and slashed total bugs by 80%, cutting mission startup time by 50%.

As a technical program manager, I managed troubleshooting support for autonomous vehicle mission startup and resolved bugs found in startup and on-road. Tens of thousands of bugs were found in daily operations, which required extensive automation, data analytics, and cross-team coordination to triage and resolve the bugs.

I analyzed millions of bugs, analyzed the data for key improvement points, and developed a plan to drive down the bug backlog. I established a new triage process, built Jira automation and dashboards, and coordinated bug resolution across the 600-engineer group. The process improvements and improved visibility decreased the bug backlog by 80%, and the mission startup time was reduced by 50%.

Jira and Planning | Healthcare Technology Company

Revamped a healthcare technology for the company's implementation of Jira, improving planning, tracking, and reporting. Improved cross-team coordination and standardized data for improved metrics and reporting.

I worked with the technology group of a healthcare technology company to improve their project planning processes and Jira implementation. The project focused on four main areas:

• Standardization and cleanup
• Planning, coordination, and visibility
• Security review
• Long-term resilience

I worked with engineers and managers to understand their current Jira configuration and processes, and built a backlog of proposed improvements and implemented them while completing service requests as needed. During this three-month project, I completed about 200 service tickets, built dozens of filters, dashboards, and structures, improved planning processes, enabled advanced metrics and reporting, and improved visibility around the company. I also greatly simplified their configuration by standardizing all projects to common templates and removing total configuration items by about 50%. I reviewed their security settings, improving the governance and data security. Finally, I implemented processes and technical controls to ensure that the improvements would last long after my project ended.

Top-tier Software Developer Platform

Led three development teams that built and maintained a software development platform for 100,000+ space system software developers.

Led three teams with 19 software developers and engineers supporting the United States Department of Defense space system developers. They developed and maintained a platform of commercial and custom applications supporting space system software developers. I implemented industry-leading practices from Agile, Scrum, and DevOps to provide a highly resilient and secure platform.

The platform contained leading industry commercial software tools for planning, developing, testing, hosting, and automating software, and supported 100,000+ users.

Cyber Mission Defense Team for Military Aircraft

Led the establishment of one of the Air Force's first mission defense teams, which are tasked with active cyber defense of military aircraft.

The US Air Force created mission defense teams to provide an active cyber defense of aircraft cyber systems during combat and non-combat missions. Ten pilot units were started in 2016 to analyze the cyber systems, develop defense strategies and methods, and provide lessons learned for the rest of the Air Force.

Selected to lead one of the Air Force's ten pilot units, I led the development of the JSTARS aircraft's first cyber defense team. I led a team that analyzed the aircraft's critical systems, set up system monitoring, and developed training for the personnel assigned to man this cyber defense system.

I led the project successfully through the discovery, design, and initial testing phases, paving the way for live use on combat missions.

Background Check Application

Directed a software development team to build a mobile application for conducting mutual background checks before meeting in person.

Lavngarde is a safety platform for verifying the identity of and conducting background checks on individuals before meeting in person. The application uses the latest scanning technology to review public records for criminal activity and to ensure users can have safe interactions. The platform is geared towards supporting online dating, realtors, online marketplace sales, and anyone who wants to ensure their interactions are safe when they move from the virtual to the real world.

Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Solution


Led a Toptal development team to build a fully-automated cloud-to-cloud backup solution for Office 365 products.

Led the project from inception through discovery, planning, and implementation of a highly robust software solution. Collected customer requirements, devised a technical implementation to meet the requirements, and successfully delivered an enterprise-ready solution.
The team developed a cloud-to-cloud backup solution for Office 365 services, including Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams. All data was retreived by automated API calls and stored in S3, MongoDB, and Elastic Beanstalk, providing a highly scallable architecture. The product was engineered for use in a multi-tenant environment with minimal configuration needed by customers.

Developed Three Tactical Communications Packages for the US Air Force

Successfully developed, tested, and accredited three new communications packages for the USAF. The equipment was valued at $26.7 million and has been deployed in combat and humanitarian missions around the world by over 50 Air Force units.

I was tasked to lead the development of a new tactical communications package for the US Air Force that was small enough to fit on a single C-130 cargo plane and provide communications support for up to 250 users. There was also the need for two supplemental packages to support 350 additional users and legacy RADAR communications.

I served as the project lead, in charge of all engineering, testing, and accreditation. I led the project from the design phase through Air Force headquarters approval. Since then, communications packages have been fielded by over 50 units during combat operations and humanitarian support missions.

$2.5 Million ServiceNow Software Asset Management Program

Led a program that implemented ServiceNow Software Asset Management for a DoD software developer platform. The program supported 100,000+ users and provided the program with compliance monitoring and cost savings.

A DoD software development platform supporting 100,000+ software developers and providing dozens of commercial software tools required software asset management to ensure compliance and analyze costs.

I led a proposal team to apply for the program and got selected. I then led the program from the discovery phase through implementation, meeting 100% of the requirements and deadlines. The team used ServiceNow's Discovery and Software Asset Management modules to discover the customer's assets, apply for purchased software licenses, and analyze the results for compliance and cost savings.

The successful implementation of the program led the customer to increase the scope of the project from $600,000 to $2.5 million. The program ensured software compliance for the customer and provided cost savings far exceeding the cost of the program.

Agile Pilot for a Government Program

Implemented agile management on a government contract as a methodology pilot test for the government agency. It was highly successful and led to further adoption by the agency.

As a software development manager, I led the implementation of Agile, Scrum, and DevOps methodologies on a government software development contract. The agency used waterfall management for decades and this cutting-edge software development contract was one of the first to use these new methodologies, intended as a pilot unit.

The contract was highly successful in its performance, as well as the use of the new methodologies, leading to the agency's further expansion of agile management to contract implementation and requirements management. The structure of the contract, planning and management tools (Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket), and adaptation of Agile to government acquisition and management were adopted by several other contracts within and without the agency.

Terravigil News Platform

Designed and managed the development of a software news application as the company founder. Known as Terravigil, the platform provides unbiased global news and weather in a single-page view that uses software to filter and rank the articles.

Terravigil was founded to provide unbiased world news and to show readers how they can make a difference in the stories they read. I founded Terravigil and performed all designs, marketing, and content optimization. I hired a Toptal developer to help create Terravigil, which inspired me to work for Toptal myself.

Terravigil was successfully launched in May 2020. The application was designed with the latest technology to maximize automation, scalability, and efficiency. It collects news from thousands of sources, filters out biased articles, and rates them with advanced software to show only the top stories.

The application is coded in React and utilizes a serverless front end. Lambda performs processing, and the data is accessed through Elasticsearch. The application is highly resilient and requires minimal overhead. It uses several API services for data processing and software integration.

Chappellet Winery in a Consulting Project

Modernized Chappellet Winery via recommendations on increasing direct-to-consumer sales and reaching a younger audience. Our team helped Chappellet successfully implement virtual wine tastings and an improved unboxing experience.

Chappellet is Napa Valley's second-oldest winery and produces high-quality wines of world renown. Chappellet partnered with an innovation and design class at the University of Notre Dame to provide them with detailed analysis and plans to improve direct-to-consumer sales, engage with younger generations, and enhance their technology use.

I led one of the consulting teams and was selected to present our recommendations and a follow-on project to help them implement a pop-up winery in Chicago.

Our team conducted market analysis, customer interviews, and design thinking to provide Chappellet with actionable recommendations. Our proposals included a pop-up winery, virtual wine tastings, an improved website and mobile application interface, and an enhanced unboxing experience.

Chappellet has successfully implemented the above ideas, except for the pop-up winery. The onset of COVID-19 required us to cancel the pop-up winery plan in the middle of the project but also significantly increased the success of the virtual wine tastings.
2019 - 2020

Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA)

University of Notre Dame - South Bend, IN

2017 - 2018

Cyberspace Operator Certification in Cyber Attack, Cyber Defense, Communications, and Information Technology

US Air Force Undergraduate Cyber Training - Biloxi, MS

2009 - 2013

Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering

Worcester Polytechnic Institute - Worcester, MA


Applied AI Professional Certificate



Google Data Analytics



Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)

Scrum Alliance

AUGUST 2020 - MAY 2026

PMI ACP - Agile Certified Practitioner

PMI - Project Management Institute


CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional

ISC2 - International Information System Security Certification Consortium


AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate


MAY 2017 - MAY 2023

PMP - Project Management Professional

PMI - Project Management Institute


Professional Scrum Master



Agile Project Management Foundation

APMG International


ITIL Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management






Jira, Google Docs, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Slack, Excel 2016, Excel 365, Excel 2010, Excel 2007, Google Sheets, Spreadsheets, Office 2016, Office 2010, Project Management & Work Tracking Tools, G Suite, Atlassian Suite, Confluence, Canva, Visio, Tableau, Mailchimp, Wix, Miro, Office 365, GitHub, SQL, R, Microsoft Visio

Industry Expertise

Software, Government, Telecommunications, Professional Services, Banking & Finance, Venture Capital, Cyberlaw, Social Enterprise, Automotive, Healthcare, Asset Management, Electronics, Real Estate


Management, Agile Leadership, Agile, Agile Project Management, Agile Software Development, Scrum, DevOps, Requirements Analysis, Implementation Project Management, Agile Workflow, Agile Product Management, Kanban, Design Thinking, Lean, Lean Project Management, UX Design, B2B, Agile Delivery, Data Science


Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), WordPress, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Firebase, RStudio


Project Management, Leadership, Consulting, IT Project Management, Project Tracking, Program Management, IT Program Management, Technical Program Management, Agile Program Management, IT Security, Security, Cybersecurity, Agile Product Delivery, Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), Software Development Management, Scrum Master, IT Service Management (ITSM), ITSM, IT Management, Scrum Coaching, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Agile Practices, Software Development, Microsoft 365, Presentations, Public Speaking, Enterprise Startups, Agile DevOps, Waterfall Methodology, Agile Transformation, Software as a Service (SaaS), SaaS, Technical Project Management, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Planning, Project Planning, Sprint Planning, Requirements, Requirements & Specifications, Business Requirements, User Requirements, Risk Management, Communication, Team Leadership, Project Leadership, Stakeholder Management, IT Projects, Certified Scrum Professional, Complex Program Management, Projects, Client Presentations, Executive Presentations, Technical Leadership, IT, Product Ownership, Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO), PSM-1, WebApp, Web Applications, Jira Administrator, User Stories, Feature Backlog Prioritization, Project Timelines, Software Implementation, Backlog Grooming, Roadmaps, Feature Roadmaps, Project Scoping, Estimation & Planning, Backlog Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Workflow, Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Coordination, Large-scale Projects, Jira Administration, Best Practices, Software Project Management, Product Strategy, Development, Web Development, Full-stack Development, Google Apps, Reporting, Data Flows, Excel 2013, Excel Expert, Microsoft Office, Web Project Management, Resource Management, Project Reporting, Product Development, Mobile/Web Project Management, Process Mapping, Investments, Process Improvement Project Management, Critical Path Analysis, Risk Analysis, Web Platforms, App Development, Mobile App Development, Project Rescue, Process Documentation, Business Process Automation, Business Process Improvement (BPI), Automation Tools, Project Delivery, Developer Relations, Technical Product Management, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Digital Transformation, Business Process Re-engineering, Technical Consulting, Analytics, Accountability, Strategic Planning & Execution, Website Management, Certified Project Manager, Complex Problem Solving, Analysis, Automation, Data Privacy, Data Management, Agile Sprints, Progress Reporting, Scope of Work, Hybrid Project Management, Project Management Office (PMO), Coaching, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Cross-functional Collaboration, Project Management & Delivery, Statement of Work, Websites, Relationship Management, Objectives & Key Results (OKRs), Digital Project Management, Organization, API Integration, Release Management, Compliance, Process Improvement, Standard Operating Procedures Development, Digital Transformation Program Management, User Research, Team Mentoring, Engineering Management, Documentation, Process Optimization, Atlassian Plugins, Workshop Facilitation, Innovation, IT Consulting, Cost Management, Budgeting, Budget Management, Cloud Security, Information Assurance, Agile Coaching, Cloud, Solution Architecture, Cloud Services, ITIL, Lean Startups, Discovery, Project Discovery, APIs, ServiceNow, eCommerce, Dashboards, Dashboard Design, Product Discovery, Discovery Workshops, Discovery Management, Customer Discovery, Startups, Product Owner, Project Consultancy, Scrum Product Owner, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), DevSecOps, Technology Solutions, Estimations, Product Management, Telecom Equipment & Solutions, Business Analysis, Cost Estimation, Operations, Analytical Dashboards, User Experience (UX), Customer Experience, Data Migration, Migration, Marketplaces, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Legacy Software, Front-end, Back-end, Mobile Apps, IT Operations Management (ITOM), Firmware, Embedded Software, Data Analysis, Data Analytics, System Migration, Website Redesign, Website Migration, Push Notifications, Mentorship & Coaching, Integration, Small Business, Databases, System Integration, Machine Learning, Go-to-market Strategy, Systems Engineering, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Market Fit, Go-to-market Plans, Cost Accounting, Data Encryption, Information Security, Network Security, Data Protection, Serverless, Serverless Architecture, AWS Lambda, Elasticsearch, React, eCommerce UX, eCommerce Payments, Stripe, PayPal, Stripe API, eCommerce Platforms, IaaS, Containers, Philanthropy, Social Impact, Product Roadmaps, Progressive Web Applications (PWA), Stakeholder Interviews, System Requirements, Technical Requirements, Feature Prioritization, Project Estimation, Timelines, Staffing, AWS DevOps, Backup & Recovery, Design Sprints, Product Delivery, Product Requirements Documentation (PRD), Feature Planning, Government Contracting, Jira REST API, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Client Portals, Request for Information (RFI), Request for Proposal (RFP), Vendor Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), MySQL, Coordination, Healthcare IT, Python, Data, Big Data, Data Quality Analysis, Data Cleaning, Web Dashboards, Dashboard Development, Payment APIs, Social Media APIs, Business Development, Chatbots, Python 3, Experimental Research, Research, Research & Analysis, R&D, Background Checks, Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI), Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT)

Collaboration That Works

How to Work with Toptal

Toptal matches you directly with global industry experts from our network in hours—not weeks or months.


Share your needs

Discuss your requirements and refine your scope in a call with a Toptal domain expert.

Choose your talent

Get a short list of expertly matched talent within 24 hours to review, interview, and choose from.

Start your risk-free talent trial

Work with your chosen talent on a trial basis for up to two weeks. Pay only if you decide to hire them.

Top talent is in high demand.

Start hiring