Geosoft: Software Development Manager

May 18, 2012

Geosoft is looking for a Software Development Manager:

  • Day to day management of the Software Development and Project Management teams (both in Canada and the US.)  This includes accountability for team performance, goals, metrics and best practices.
  • Anticipate, change, implement, and continually evolve industry leading software development processes to meet future business, technology and customer needs.  The successful candidate will be responsible for Geosoft’s transformation into agile (including change management).
  • Contribute as a senior R&D team member to define and achieve on group goals, metrics and plans to support business priorities.
  • Accountable for the planning and successful completion of all software development projects to ensure timely and successful product releases, working closely with the Product Management team and customer facing personnel to ensure that standards and processes are continuously aligned with customer requirements.

It looks like Geosoft has been around for a while. They seem to be privately held, so I don’t know much about the company’s financial situation.

The Good
It’s a relatively clear and posting. It’s not vague, there are lots of honest details there that some companies would have obscured because they think job postings shouldn’t have those kinds of details. Those people are wrong. That’s what makes this job posting interesting.

It’s also a reasonably senior position.  There’s some travel opportunity, but not so much as to be irritating.  You can get a look at their software products from their website.  They were apparently “recognized in 2009 as one of the 10 Best Workplaces in Canada by the Great Place to Work® Institute”.

They’re interested in moving towards agile development.

The Bad
They may not already be doing any agile development. This isn’t the nineties anymore, or the aughts for that matter. What’s their current process like?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to the team size. Some people looking for a managerial position are going to feel like they’ll be under-utilized managing eight direct reports. Others will probably prefer the sound of a small team, as long as the team members are sharp. I probably lean towards the latter, but the devil’s in the details.

I get the sense that their business is more in the desktop software side than the web side, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Then again, I could just as easily write the reverse.

What Should You Ask?
You’re going to want to get a good read on the team. After all, you’re supposed to manage them, and the difference between managing a small crack team and a small team of code monkeys is vast.

What’s their process like? Are the team members pushing for agile or being pushed into it? What’s their knowledge of agile and what’s the executive support for it? They’re saying they want to move, but what’s the drive here, and how important is it to them?

Where are the two remote team members? Why do they have remote team members, and is it working well?

How’s the company doing? Why do they need to hire a software development manager now? What’s the compensation like?

What’s their mix of software and technology like? Is it mostly desktop, is there a lot of web / integration work? It’s hard to get a sense of that from their website and posting.  Is it all C/C++, or .NET, or something else entirely?

The Location
GeoSoft seems to be located in Queen’s Quay Terminal. It’s a nice place, picturesque, not tremendously far from Union station, so reasonably accessible by TTC, not hard to drive to (although parking options aren’t great). There’s a few nice restaurants and shops in the area, although it’s not overflowing with either. If you live on the waterfront or near the gardiner/lakeshore, this is probably an appealing location. For the rest of you, it’s probably neither fantastic nor terrible.  If you do take the job, I recommend visiting the Harbourfront Pearl for dim sum regularly to get both a decent view and a decent meal. And while you’re at it, invite me, because I like that restaurant.

In Summary
It’s a reasonably senior position with a moderate team size, so it’s probably a good fit for someone who’s got just enough experience for the role, or for someone who really likes the smaller teams rather than a veteran used to and expecting something larger.


Sun Life: Practice Manager, Development

April 19, 2010

Sun Life is looking for a Practice Manager, Development:

The Practice Manager, Development reports to the VP, eBusiness and Call Centre and provides leadership in people development and talent management along with technical excellence and innovation to Java, Microsoft and Vignette practice. This manager has a demonstrated track record of working effectively within a shared services environment (matrix model) and is a strong people manager.  The successful candidate will work closely with Delivery Managers & Director PMO & BSA to allocate developers across projects.

The Good
It’s a senior role for a well-known, large company with an $18B market capitalization.  They seem to be doing well enough financially.

The Bad
I’m personally slightly biased against Vignette, having had some awkward experiences in the past.  I’m vaguely surprised they’re still around, although perhaps they’ve made progress since I last used their technology.  That said, it’s not like they’re hiring you to be a vignette programmer.

What’s Missing?
How big are the team(s) you’ll be managing?  What’s the corporate structure — who are you reporting to, working with, and who’s reporting to you?  How exactly are you working with the PMO, Delivery Managers and BSA?  What’s the technology mix really like?  Is it mostly Vignette, heavy on the Microsoft, or a 25% mix of each plus a smattering of others?  What are the challenges facing sun-life and the role you’d be filling?  What’s the compensation for a practice manager at sunlife?  Where’s the office located?

This role looks like it’s all management, no tech.  If you’ve got the technical background they’re looking for, this will either be interesting or horrifying on that basis alone.  Some of you might be looking for a less hands-on, more upper-management role, others of you really like to get your hands dirty and you’re not going to get the opportunity to do so in this role, I don’t imagine. Your mileage may vary when it comes to working in insurance.  On the other hand, if you want to be a manager in a big company, you’re somewhat less likely to be cuddling kittens, saving the world, or working on cool technology, so some of you are well-prepared for this already.

The Location

The only office that I know Sun Life does development work in is at Yonge and Front, which is a pretty solid location, easy to access by go train and subway, reasonable selection of food and shopping around, including the St. Lawrence Market and Esplanade.  That said, the position doesn’t specify a location.

In Summary
Seems like managerial role for someone with a background in tech but without the need to be very hands-on.

CPNI: Manager of Software Development

February 10, 2010

CPNI is looking for a Manager of Software Development:

We are seeking top candidates for the position of a hands-on Agile Software Manager to Lead and Mentor a Team of Java Software Developers. The position is of prime importance to the company; the selected candidate will be responsible for development of new products or extensions of existing products. The Manager of Software Development will receive specifications from the Product Management Team and translate them into software fully and thoroughly QA tested and delivered to the Operations Team.

This might be a replacement to this earlier role that CPNI posted.

The Good
A friend interviewed there once, suggested that the people he spoke to seemed intelligent, that the interview process at least was thorough and seemed solid.  They seem to be agile, which I find appealing.  Their technology stack sounds like it has some reasonable points, although there’s not a lot of detail there.  There also seems to be some mobile work, even though it’s J2ME.  Mobile payments is certainly a space that people continue to believe will grow, although it still hasn’t gathered a lot of traction in North America.

A source implied that he/she couldn’t come to terms on payment with CPNI, so their pay scale might not be the best in Toronto.  Then again, this is a pretty senior role, so it might be better-compensated.  A recent commenter suggested that he/she would rather have ebola than work for CPNI again.  There’s not a lot of information in that comment and I’m pretty sure it’s hyperbole, so it’s hard to read much into it, but it’s a pretty passionate statement.  In response to that comment, someone I know contacted me directly to suggest that that comment is ‘unfair’.  While he/she didn’t provide much additional detail, “definitely better than ebola” was made clear.

The Bad
As far as mobile work goes, J2ME is increasingly not seen as the area of expansion, with Android and iPhone capturing a lot of attention.   I’m personally not fond of using EJB, although if it’s EJB 3.x, I might consider it tolerable.

What’s Missing
What’s their approach to agile?  What are they using for web services?  What’s the compensation like at CPNI?  What’s the size and composition of the team?  How is CPNI doing in the mobile payment marketplace, and what are the challenges they and their products currently face?  Why are they looking for another dev manager already?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to Fitnesse; it was de rigeur in agile shops for a while, but it’s never really excited me.  Then again, a company that takes testing seriously is always a good thing.  And then, your mileage will vary if you need to drive out to …

The Location
CPNI’s out at 427 and Burnhamthorpe, which is not a particularly exciting neighbourhood.  If you’re already in the west end of the subway line, the transit route might not be that much worse than downtown, and if you’re west and used to driving, it might be fine, but for most of the rest of the city, it’s pretty far west.  I commuted from the east end to an office north of there for a few months for a contract, and I can’t say that I’d be anxious to do it again, all other things being equal.

In Summary
This is a fairly senior role for a company that claims to be operating in an agile way.  If you want to be in a management position at an agile shop, and the location doesn’t throw you, then this would probably be worth a look.  Try to coax additional information out of past employees who might give you a better sense for some of the rumors above.

Intelex: Manager of Product Design

May 4, 2009

Intelex is seeking a Manager of Product Design:

Intelex Technologies Inc.​ is a progressive Canadian software company providing innovative, web-based applications for Environment, Health & Safety and Quality management.​ Intelex currently has a need for a Manager of Product Design.​

The ideal candidate will: Have worked on numerous web-based software projects for Fortune 500 companies.​ Possess a good eye for system design and consistency.​ Be a good leader and have experience managing a team of Business Analysts.​ Have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to take charge of meetings and requirements gathering sessions.​

The Good
Intelex would have you believe they’re doing well, at least before the downturn. They’re in an unusual, and therefore potentially interesting field, “Environmental, Quality, Health and Safety.” They have a blog and an API, so they’re at least somewhat modern in terms of being a software company. They claim to take an agile approach. It’s a pretty senior role.

The Bad
Although the field is unusual, it’s probably an area that some might describe as boring. It’s the sort of thing where people’s eyes glaze over before you finish telling them what your company does, unless you’re an excellent salesperson yourself.

What’s Missing?
What’s a role like this pay, at Intelex? What’s the Product Design team you’d be managing — size and composition? What’s the development organization look like, and what’s the organizational structure from management to product to development look like?

I imagine this is fairly hands-off on the actual writing of code. A good thing for this kind of role, but not everyone’s cup of tea. The field is both unusual and industrial — could be interesting for some, boring for others.

The Location
Intelex seems to be at Adelaide and Charlotte. It’s a little far afield if you’re taking GO, and it’s a bit of a walk from the Subway, but it’s certainly walkable, and it’s in a nice area, what with the Charlotte Room, Dark Horse, and a pile of other places to eat and shop.

In Summary
A relatively senior role in what I’d probably call product management at a centrally located company in an unusual industry. Could be interesting, particularly if you’re already in product management.

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.

Cineplex: Manager, Software Development & Integration

January 22, 2009

Cineplex is looking for a Manager, Software Development & Integration:

The Information Technology department has an immediate opening for the position of Manager, Software Development and Integration, reporting directly to the Vice President, Software Solutions.

Your mission is to manage a team of software developers to success, in designing and building software solutions for our company that exceed user expectations and ultimately improve the company’s bottom line.

Software Solutions is a group within Cineplex’s I.T. department.  We are a small and efficient group composed of a Business Analysis/Project Management team and a Development team.  In this position you would be heading up the later.  It’s a casual environment, with flexible work hours, a great sense of camaraderie and a passionate appreciation for the business.

Our ideal candidate is someone passionate about software development & integration, with a keen mind for details, architecture, standards and protocol. 

You are a great communicator.  You are clear, precise and friendly – both verbally and in writing.  You are an excellent negotiator, able to diffuse conflict situations and build consensus.

You are a leader.  You have a proven track record of managing a technical team to success.  You are a mature supportive manager with a strong capacity to inspire.

You understand business.  You have an excellent grasp of standard commercial processes and are enthusiastic to learn about the specifics of our business.  You use this to ensure the most efficient technical approach to any given solution.

And last, but not least, you are a technophile.  You vigorously follow a number of blogs/news groups. You’ve been on the net since Netscape 2.0.  You speak the XSLT computer language. You write code with ease and enjoy it. Furthermore, you are passionate about Microsoft technologies.  You beta tested .NET.  You have solid experience with much of their application stack and understand the power of leveraging the api’s and libraries that they provide.

The Good
First and foremost, this posting has a pretty decent tone, a good vibe.  It feels like it was written by someone who knows a little (or a lot) about technology and potential candidates, who knows how to explain some of the merits of the job, and is interested in explaining clearly why you might want to work there and what they’re looking for.  I don’t have .NET experience myself, but if I did, the tone of the posting might be enough to make me want to inquire further.

Now, that said, I don’t know who wrote the posting.  It could be written by an outsider who has nothing to do with the organization, so it’s not enough in and of itself, so you’ll want other reasons.  It sounds like it’s a fairly senior role in a fairly well-known organization, it sounds like they’re looking for a good business/technology/leadership mix.  From a quick glance, they’re doing reasonably well financially right now, although we’ll know more on 12-Feb.

The Bad
Some of the process language sounds pretty hierarchical, so if that’s important to you, you might want to probe a little more. 

What’s Missing?
What software would you / your team be developing and integrating with?  What are the business needs and challenges?  What’s the size and composition of your team(s)?  What’s the compensation?  Given the wide array of technologies they’re hoping for you to have experience with, what’s their technology mix like?  Are there a lot of old VB/COM systems, or is it mostly C#/.NET?  What’s the process like?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to processes that involve Effort Assessments and Technical Specifications, although, to be honest, you’d have to get some sense of what that means to Cinplex to really form an opinion.  If might also vary when it comes to off-hours operations support, although you’d have to know how often that’ll come up to decide how big a deal that is.

The Location
As far as I can tell, this just south of St. Clair on Yonge, between the St. Clair and Summerhill station.   If you’re commuting by GO train or car, or walking to work from your downtown condo, this might be a bit of a pain, but for most of the rest of us it’s not too bad.  Two stations North of Yonge, or not too far south from points north.  There’s some interesting shops and restaurants around, but it’s also not an incredibly busy area.

In Summary
A management position requiring a  Microsoft / VB / COM / .NET background working for Cineplex at Yonge and Summerhill / St. Clair.