Decisioning Solutions: Development Manager

October 22, 2008

Decisioning Solutions is looking for a Java / J2EE Development Manager:

As a key team member, the Java / J2EE Development Manager is responsible for managing and facilitating day-to-day operations within the Development team as well as the interactions of the Development team with other areas.  The individual must exhibit extremely broad knowledge of relevant software, hardware, and processes and demonstrate outstanding problem-solving abilities.  The candidate must also have proven experience in an equivalent position with lauded organizational and managerial abilities. Exceptional communication and interpersonal relation skills are a must.


  • Managing the Java Developer team
  • Overlooking the System Administration team
  • Assistance in IT Hiring and Resource Review / Development
  • Reviewing and approving major designs of the Solution Architect
  • Monitoring IT resource allocation to the projects and PMO
  • Representing the technology within the Sales process
  • Providing technical advice and answers to the senior management
  • Managing the Research (SRED) tax claims
  • Escalation point for all things technical (design, systems, support, etc)
  • Continuously improving and policing processes (intra and inter team)
  • Managing and monitoring security policies and practices
  • Managing and monitoring SLA adherence

The Good
The location’s a good one; the 21st and 22nd floors of the HBC tower at Yonge and Bloor is both central and appealing, with good shops and restaurants nearby.  An ‘industry-leading compensation package’ sounds good, although you’d have to talk to them to find out if you agree with their characterization.  It sounds like the work itself could be challenging.

The Bad
Some companies are good at distilling what they do in a very accessible way.  Decisioning Solutions’ site reminds me a little of Exchange Solutions’, in that while they provide a lot of detail about what they do, it doesn’t seem very accessible to the uninitiated. 

What’s Missing
What’s the industry-leading nature of the compensation package.  What process do they employ?  What’s the size and composition of the team(s) you’d be managing.  What goals would you have?  What’s the organizational structure look like, and where do you fit?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to spending your days ‘maximizing customer value’, ‘maximizing customer acquisition efficiency’ or the other things that Decisioning Solutions does.  Some people are looking for something more like a consumer web 2.0 product or a health-care solution that could help save lives.  Then again, Decisioning Solutions seems to be a growing company in a market that might do well even in a downturn, so for some, this may be just what you’re looking for.

In Summary
If you’ve got experience as a development manager and you’d like to maximize customer value at Yonge and Bloor for industry-leading compensation, you might consider talking to Decisioning Solutions to see if it’s a good fit.


“International Investment Firm”: Development Manager / Architect

May 8, 2008

Pencom is helping a ‘Major International Investment Firm’ look for someone that they can call a ‘senior software development manager / architect‘:

  • Build, maintain, retain and grow a strong development team
  • Set technical architecture direction and vision for the development team
  • Partner with IT Mgmt and Business to deliver eCommerce projects on-scope, on-time and on-budget and contributes to evolve an effective strategy
  • Lead development of technology solutions to automate and support critical business processes and strategic plans

The title’s quite a mouthful, but the posting is reasonable, although I’ve seen this one before in other forms. In addition to the technical skills, they’re clearly looking for someone with a background in fixed-income securities (aka bonds) and messaging:

  • Experience with electronic trading aspects of the Global Fixed Income business, such as current and emerging new markets, connectivity, auto-quoting, distribution, etc.
  • Experience with full trade lifecycle events, and it’s technical and operational support

The Good
The salary is listed as ‘open’, which might be good. Investment banking is supposed to be an industry where there’s money to be made, although I’m not sure if that’s true for the development manager / architect types.

Certainly, there’s something appealing about the firm logic of financial markets and software development. They seem well-suited for each other, and because investment banks are a rarer bird than retail banking, the work might be more exciting.

The Bad
They don’t seem especially familiar with the adage, “on time, on budget, on quality: pick two.” That may simply be using industry boiler-plate for “looking for someone who won’t screw up our plans”, or they may be have-their-cake-and-eat-it types who refuse to acknowledge that software development is difficult to predict.

Those I’ve met who do work for retail banking are either very bored or very well paid, sometimes both. If investment banking isn’t more exciting, then you could be in for a dull ride.

Ultimately, the biggest problem here is the usual: lack of information. Who’s the investment firm, and are they on the verge of topping over in the sub-prime mess? What exactly is the work? Where is (or will be) the office? What are the details fo the technology? What’s the compensation, other than ‘open’? Are you building a team and a product from scratch, or working with an existing team and product? And so on.

Your mileage may vary with respect to the aforementioned ‘open’ salary. Does that mean it’s well-paid, or simply that they’re not sure how much they’re willing to pay you until they meet you?

In Summary
If you’re looking to make a move and a development manager / architect role in investment banking sounds like fun to you, this might be an interesting opportunity, but the only way to find out is to respond.

Little Bites: Autodesk Maya Threading, Telecom Dev Mgr, Cobol/Assembly, Adult

April 15, 2008

It’s been too long since I’ve done C, so I can’t say whether or not Autodesk’s job to look into Threading and Performance for Maya is interesting to someone who’s well-versed in C, but it’s a well-known company, a well-known product, and a technical challenge, so I’m thinking it’s not all bad.

VTrac is helping a telecom firm look for a Development Manager to work in the new product division, on something related to billing.  The compensation is apparently ‘very competitive’, but there’s just not enough detail to really tell if this is interesting.  If you think this might be you, talk to VTrac and get more details (and then come back and tell us).

Ten people to recode an application … into Cobol?  And it wouldn’t hurt if they know assembly?  I’m not even sure what to say.  Good luck, guys.  Charge a lot of money for that job.  And is that better or worse than Senior IT for the adult industry?

FreshBooks: Agile Web Development Manager

April 13, 2008

FreshBooks, a local web startup for invoicing, is looking for an Agile Web Development Manager:

The Good
It’s a local startup. Their product (a slick, yet simple invoicing system) is easy to use, seems to have built up a community, and has a lot of potential to expand. There’s a lot of promise in all of that. They seem to use agile methods to aim for high-quality, frequently-shipped software in Ruby on Rails. By aiming to do more with less, it feels like the kind of company that will pay attention to principles like YAGNI, and ‘the simplest solution that will work’ rather than building up a large and unwieldy team to develop features that nobody really wants.

The role seems to be a rolled-up combination of agile coach, product manager and development manager. In a large organization, I’m not sure I’d agree that this is a perfect combination, as there may be some conflicts of interest, but for a startup, it’s probably a necessary kind of role-compression. As long as they find the right candidate, it should be doable. It is, at least, senior, and a chance to shape a startup development team.

The Bad
Many people would probably consider their location out-of-the-way. It’s basically at Glencairn and Dufferin. While this isn’t horrifically far off the subway line, it’s pretty far Northwest for people in downtown or midtown, and even those in uptown locations that aren’t easily on the University/Spadina subway line might be less than enthused. I don’t know the area, so I can’t speak to it. If you’re near the University/Spadina line, particularly north of Bloor, or north of Glencairn, even, it might even be a good location.

They don’t talk about the work much — so unless you’ve used FreshBooks before, you may have no idea what the work actually is. Even having used their software, the posting doesn’t make it clear that you’re going to be working on their invoicing product.

There’s no talk of compensation, and although they’re four years old, they still seem to feel as if they’re in startup mode, so it’s not clear that compensation will be a strong point. Worth probing further.

Your mileage may vary on the location; if you’re northwest yourself, this might appeal. Some people aren’t looking for a startup atmosphere, although I prefer that atmosphere myself.

In Summary
Frankly, if you can stomach the location and you’d like to be managing an agile team in Ruby, this sounds pretty good. This is tempting to me, and I really don’t like their location. I’m assuming someone in the Northwest will be all over this. Do find out about compensation before you get too deep, and feel free to report back for the rest of us. 😉