Manager, Application Development at Direct Energy

February 6, 2009

Direct Energy is looking for a Manager, Application Development:

This position is responsible for managing the performance of a team of technical staff in an assigned function(s) of application support and development. The incumbent works to ensure that resources are in place to identify and provide business application systems in support of assigned function(s).

  • Sets a framework for the provision and support of solutions covering areas such as resourcing, program and project management, development standards, etc.
  • Responsible for overseeing the effective use of strategic processes as they pertain to this group
  • Negotiates IT project requirements (i.e. deadlines, budgets, resources, etc.)
  • Manages a team of IT professionals responsible for system analysis, application software, and programming
  • Establishes performance plans for staff, reviews individual results on a regular basis.
  • Identifies individual and organizational developmental needs/career goals and ensures developmental efforts are put in place to support them

The Good
It’s a senior role at a big company, and the energy sector is likely to do well, with ups and downs, for years and years to come, given the fact that there are only so many fossil fuels, and we’ve got a strong desire to use ’em.  Direct Energy seems to be owned by Centrica PLC, with a $14B market cap.  There’s a reference to Agile, but it’s just a reference.

The Bad
The role is described in a very matter-of-fact “these are the skills we want” sort of way, without any attempt to convince you of the value of working at Direct Energy.  That’s not always a bad thing, but it’s lacking in points of interest.

What’s Missing?
Where’s this located?  What’s the compensation like for a manager at direct energy?  What applications does Direct Energy develop, other than the billing application?  How many teams are there, what size and composition?  What are the details of their technology choices, and what’s the Java / .NET Platform mix like for them?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to the Java / .NET mix — some people know the one and not the other, and would like to stay that way.  It may also vary when it comes to working for Direct Energy.  Personally, I’d have a hard time taking a role at Direct Energy, because the sales tactics at the street level in my neighbourhood by lots of individual employees have been, what I would call … misleading at best, if not close to fraudulent, and very, very aggressive.  I don’t know that they’re employed directly by Direct Energy, and I don’t know whether or not that culture goes deeper than the sales organization, but I am personally very wary of them as an organization at this point.  That said, many of you may have no history with Direct Energy or positive experiences, so don’t let my bias ruin your chance at getting a job.

The Location
Their main office seems to be up at Yonge and Sheppard, so I’m guessing that’s where the job will be.

In Summary
There’s not a lot to latch onto, but if you like the idea of managing a development team for Direct Energy at Yonge and Sheppard, you could inquire to learn more.


Follow-Up: Oracle/OnDemand CRM: Software Development Manager

January 30, 2009

It looks like Oracle is still looking (or looking again) for a Software Development Manager for their OnDemand CRM product line.  I posted this last April, almost a year ago, and I haven’t seen it very often in the interim.  So if you do end up inquiring, I might want to find out if someone took the job and left quickly, or if, in fact, they stopped looking for a while.  Either way, there may be a story there that you want to hear.

In any case, the posting isn’t so bad, although the location’s pretty far north for  many of you.  There’s mention of Agile.  The posting has changed somewhat, the the fundamentals are still pretty similar.

Telmetrics: Scrum Master

October 26, 2008

Telmetrics is looking for a Scrum Master to provide them with maternity leave coverage:

We are currently seeking a Scrum Master to join our team for a one year contract to cover a maternity leave.

Ideally the incumbent would have a technical background, preferably in software development, with recent experience working as a Scrum Master or project manager in a team following agile methodologies. As a Scrum Master at Telmetrics, you will be responsible for ensuring the development team follows the values and practices of the adopted Scrum processes along with the following:

• Plan, coordinate, and facilitate all agile iteration meetings including daily Scrum meetings and retrospective and planning meetings;
• Track all work within the iteration including task status; providing updates and reporting on the team’s progress to maintain visibility;
• Remove any obstacles brought up by the team and clarify issues to ensure team progress is not hindered;
• Manage iteration scope;
• Plan, coordinate, and facilitate all projects for minor and major product releases;
• Coordinate and manage support with Operations for all development and QA environments.

The Good
If the team is already a Scrum team that’s functional and productive, helping them to keep moving for a year could be relatively painless.  You already have an initial sense of the process, although you’ll probably want to talk to the team and the company, as it’s easy to say you’re an agile team even when you’re doing very non-agile things every day.  That said, the description of the role sounds like they want you to approach it in a classically agile way, so it’s a good start.

The Bad
If the team isn’t already in good shape, a year isn’t a lot of time to turn that around.  You’re basically going in blind, so if you’re interested, you’re going to want to get as good a sense as you can about the current state, and that’ll require more than just asking, you’ll want to talk to the team as well.

What’s Missing
What’s the size and composition of the team?  What are they working on?  What’s the state of the project?  Will you be able to do a good hand-off at both ends with the existing scrum-master?  What’s the compensation?  What happens if the scrum-master decides to stay at home with her child near the end of the term?  Would you have goals that aren’t obvious from this posting?  Who would you be reporting to?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to filling maternity leave coverage.  That’s either a relatively long contract or a very short job, depending on what you’re used to.  Depending on the contract rate, that could be a good thing.

Your mileage may also vary when it comes to the location, at 427/Eglinton, out in the little tech park with Skymark, Explorer, etc.  It’s accessible by transit, but it’s pretty painful if you’re not driving and/or in Mississauga/Brampton to begin with.  It’s also a bit of a dead zone for interesting things around, unless you’re driving — there aren’t many food options in short walking distance.  I worked a contract out there for six months, and didn’t regret its ending very much.

In Summary
It seems like a year-long contract as a straight-up scrum-master.  If that sounds good, and you can tolerate working out on Skymark, this might be your opportunity.

Domainer: Software/Web Developer(s)

September 21, 2008

Domainer is looking for more than one Software / Web Developer:

Domainer is currently looking for the best developers in Toronto. What do we mean by the best developers? Well, you should know know your stuff in a profound way. What stuff do you need to know? At a minimum you should know the *nix command line and a how to configure a secure web server. You should also possess a mighty knowledge of mysql and its various quirks. Next you need to know a server side web friendly programming language such as Java, Groovy, PHP, Python or Ruby. Front end language development expertise is also appreciated.

We are doing cool things with new technologies. You will be exposed to an array of technologies such as Groovy, Grails, Java, PHP, jQuery, python, Gradle, Gant, Ant, Subversion, Eclipse, NetBeans, Ubuntu, plus a few that are for you to discover.

The Good
They claim good compensation, but is that just good compensation for those commonly called “web developers” in this city, who are chronically underpaid compared to the rest of the development crowd, or is Domainer really serious about hiring the best, which, IMO, means paying a lot more – probably over $90k in salary alone.  (There may be great people in this city who get paid less, of course, but most of the better people I’ve worked with make significantly more than this).

If this work were done well, it could be an interesting combination of interesting technology (RSS, mashups, social media, rapid-development web techniques), internal productization and good profit margins.  A lot like agency work, but with much more control – your clients simply want to make money, they don’t care what you build their site in, or really, what it does, as long as the output in terms of cash is good.

The tech sounds reasonable for what they’re doing, the process, as much as they talk about it, sounds reasonably agile.  The video helps you get an initial feel for what your employers/bosses might be like.

The Bad
If this is done poorly, you’re going to be doing the same things over and over to deliver bad content and advertising to the unsuspecting, never get to do a build-out the way you want to, no productization, cheapest-solution-always-wins.  Again, a lot like agency work can be, come to think of it.

There’s some information gaps, although the video helps.  How big’s the team?  How serious is Domainer about actually delivering value in these sites?  What are some examples of sites they’re running?  How much is good compensation?  What’re the specifics of their location?

That said, the amount of information in the posting is higher than many. 

Your mileage may vary with respect to the ‘ethics’ of the kind of work that Domainer does.  There is often a kind of opportunistic/exploitative streak in this kind of “leverage a domain name” work, from what I’ve seen.  I can’t speak for Domainer in particular, but these sites often seek to get money through advertising with the minimal required effort — offering very little value, but profiting from search engine placement and so forth.   You’ll have to decide how you feel about that and learn a little more about Domainer’s approach.

In Summary
If you want the opportunity to flex your web skills at building sites quickly and cost-effectively in relatively new rapid-development technologies, this might be your thing.  I’d suggest coming to terms on compensation.

Follow-Up: Uptime

September 14, 2008

Uptime, still looking for a Java Developer with a little PHP thrown in.  I gather they could conceivably be hiring more than one.  Richmond/Bathurst location, agile, product shop — could be interesting.

Logitech: Senior Manager, Software Manager

September 9, 2008

Logitech is still looking for what they’ve redundantly labeled Senior Manager, Software Manager (also Higher Bracket, if you have a subscription):

Logitech Harmony is seeking the best and most passionate senior team members. He/She will be responsible for building a high performance, agile team of software engineers. This senior role is a member of the Customer and Platform Services group building leading edge internet-based customer services for the Logitech Harmony Remote product lines. He/She thrives in a high energy entrepreneurial environment, lead-edge technologies, and complex multi-disciplinary projects.

– Proven past history of building excellent, agile teams of software engineers.
– Excels at building cross disciplinary teams.
– Strong project management knowledge and experience.
– Experience building Agile/Scrum/XP teams.
– Experience leading Agile/Scrum/XP adoption into an organization.
– Strong thought leadership and technology experience building solutions using:
o .NET 3.0+ (including WCF, WF, WPF).
o Silverlight.
o Highly scalable, secure, and maintainable web applications, business services, and data services.
– Keen business acumen.
– Extreme about execution, teams, and the customer.

The Good
Agile methods.  Build your team.  Work on media-centric consumer devices, likely to be a strong growth area but with an established market leader.  Introduce Agile to a well-known organization.  The salary might go as high as $150k.  Wait, why haven’t I applied?

The Bad
Oh yeah, I remember.  It’s .NET.  It’s in mississauga at Eglinton/427.  The compensation details are not in all of the listings, and may be subject to interpretation.   It’d be nice to know a little more about the work and the genesis of this initiative.

If you’ve got .NET experience, your mileage may well vary from mine.  If you’re highway commuting, and/or living in Brampton or Mississauga, this location may not seem completely unfortunate.   If your mileage does vary, then … 

Questions to Ask
Is there already a team?  What process are they used to?  What processes is the company used to?  Is this greenfield development, or does it replace existing systems, built in what technology?  Why the new technologies, team and process?  What are the success metrics and timetables?  Can Logitech move downtown?

In Summary
The opportunity to be well-paid to build the agile team of your choosing to work on consumer devices in new technology seems pretty rare, as long as you can live with the location and the technology.  Still, seems like a sweet deal for the right person.

Uptime: Software Developer

July 26, 2008

Uptime Software is looking for a Software Developer (html intro and application form, detailed PDF):

As part of the development team, you will be responsible for the development
and maintenance of our software products, which are written in Java and PHP and
integrate with many operating systems and databases. The position involves
close interaction with other developers and the QA team. A strong development
background is required.

The Good
Uptime is an interesting local ISV that is looking for someone who knows agile methods well.  The manager there, Pete Bevin, seems to have a good reputation.  I know the CTO, Alex Bewley: he’s a good guy, although I haven’t worked with him in probably over fifteen years, so it’s hard to say how relevant that might be.  The process sounds pretty agile, which is nice.  The role, work, company and process seem to get reasonable levels of description.

The Bad
It doesn’t sound like an incredibly senior role, but as long as you get a fair amount of input and get paid well, I’m not sure that matters.  Sadly, there’s very little sense of the compensation.  It might not hurt to understand the technology mix a little more – percentage of time in Java vs. PHP, plus C#/C++.

The location (Richmond/Portland) may work really well if you’re downtown west of the University line already.  On the other hand, if you’re coming from out of town or from the east end, it may be less convenient.  It’s a nice area, lots of nice restaurants, shops and so forth about, but not crazy busy.  Ghandi makes a nice Butter Chicken roti.

In Summary
If you’ve got chops in all of Java, PHP and Agile, and “Queen & Bathurst” isn’t an inconvenient neighbourhood, this could be the job for you.