Unspecified: Contract Technical Lead

February 20, 2009

Is it just me, or does this role not sound like something you could do as a two-month contract?  I’d say at the very least they should be doing a much better job of describing it like a contract, rather than describing it like a full-time ongoing position.

This week’s been pretty slow for me — there was a statutory holiday, two days of vacation and a new laptop occupying my time.  I’m trying to get back on track.


Unspecified: Project Development Team Lead

February 12, 2009

An unspecified company is looking for a project development team lead:

Reporting to the Development Manager of Customer Solutions (DMCS), the Project Development Team Lead will own and ensure on time delivery of the development portion of the projects. Project Development Team Lead will own and ensure tight working relationship with the business owner, QA team lead and project manager (PM) of the project towards the full successful completion. Project Development Team Lead will act as a business partner in all aspects of the project delivery. Project Development Team Lead will work very closely with Customer Solutions Architects, other Project Development Team Leads and QA Team Leads to leverage the technology platform to produce the right technical solution in order to support our business initiatives. 

  • Comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the online system internals along with the key interfaces 
  • Responsible for communication with online business regarding project and deliverables 
  • Responsible for development tasks assignment to the development team 
  • Responsible for tracking and providing weekly status updates to PM and DMCS 
  • Ownership of the development deliverables of the project 
  • Collaborate with architects and other project team leads on the features design and implementation 
  • Responsible for reviewing code standards adherence and level of in-line documentation 
  • Responsible for code reviews and providing written sign off to DMCS 
  • Responsible for unit testing execution validation and providing written sign off to DMCS 
  • Share responsibility with QA team for performance testing execution validation and providing written sign off to DMCS 
  • Responsible for profiler execution validation and providing written sign off to DMCS 
  • Responsible for maximizing the maintainability and extensibility of the solution 
  • Responsible for project solution production performance 
  • Responsible for the continued strengthening of the technical skills of the development team – coaching and mentoring, including reporting progress to DMCS 

This sounds like what is commonly called a ‘Technical Lead’ in the toronto market.  And, although the customer isn’t specified, some of the unique terms in the posting seems to point directly to Diebold.

The Good
It looks to be a moderately senior position with a fair amount of responsibilities.  It also sounds like they take some of those responsibilities fairly seriously, which is probably a good thing.  There’s also a mention of kiosks, which is a relatively rare area these days, and possibly interesting in its own right.

Well, Diebold, if it is Diebold, is a well-known company with their hands in a lot of relatively unique areas, from ATMs to Voting machines.  With a 1.6B market cap, and a stock price that could be doing worse, they seem like they’re at least moderately stable, although it looks like Diebold believes they may be in for some rough results in quarters to come.

The Bad
There’s no explicit mention of process, but there’s a lot of written sign-off.  Perhaps given the industries that Diebold is in, there may be a need for a very formal process compared to what some of you are used to.  This has a tendency to slow things down quite a bit, although there are industries where it seems to be a necessary evil.

What’s Missing
Is this Diebold or someone else?  What’s the project they need a team lead for?  What would you be working on, and what are the size and composition of the team(s) you’d be leading?  What are the technologies in use in this project?  Is it a new project or an existing one?  What’s the compensation like?  Where would you be working?  What’s the process they follow to develop software?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to working in this kind of a process environment.  Based on the the wording of some of the responsibiltiies, I suspect the process might drive me a little ’round the bend.  Then again, some people really like a very structured process, and sometimes that comes hand in hand with an organization that is ready and willing to allocate the kind of time required to do, for instance, good performance testing. 

The Location
We don’t even know the company, and certainly not the location.  That said, if it really is Diebold, their Canadian head office seems to be in Mississauga.

In Summary
If you’re a technical lead, or want to be, might be worth digging a little to find outo what’s up.  Unfortunately, without a list of technologies, a company or a location, it seems hard to get a real fix on this.

Fiver Media: Technical Team Lead

June 10, 2008

So far, no WWDC announcements of new mac-book pros, so I may have to choose between the great high-res screen of the large 17″ MBP and the less-great, but less-expensive screen on the reasonably-sized 15″ MBP.  Once that happens, posting rates should uptick again.

Fiver Media is looking for a Technical Team Lead:

  • Design, develop, and manage all technical aspects of the project, including:
    • Development and review of technical requirements
    • High-level design and architecture
    • Assignment of work to team
    • Coach and mentor other developers
    • Conduct performance reviews
    • Represent team in management meetings
    • Code reviews as well as doing some coding yourself
  • Fiver Media seems anxious to portray themselves as fun:

    There was a small team that tried “dress-up Thursdays” and that only lasted a few weeks!  The last thing we want is a working environment where eight bosses are asking for “TPS” reports, like yesterday. Fiver is professional, but never corporate. In fact we don’t even like saying that word. It’s evil. We laugh and play hard, but always work harder

    The Good
    Companies that work hard to be fun are often, in fact, fun places to work.  I’ve worked at a few, and I enjoyed many aspects of that environment.

    There’s not a lot of information on the technology, but this employee testimonial from their website implies they might be doing some interesting things:

    “I find myself working with things I had only read about and never expected to use, like massively virtual environments and extreme density blades.”

    Then again, the only hit on ‘extreme density blades’ is their website, so perhaps that testimonial doesn’t go as far as I’d like, even if blade density is something that vendors talk about.

    They’re located over by Wellington/Simcoe, which is both pretty central and yet still in a nice area for shopping, food, etc.  They’re on the 16th floor, so they may have nice views.

    The Bad
    The thing that stands out right away is that their website is directed to the potential employee.  They don’t talk about their clients, and they don’t talk about the work.  That’s often indicative of an industry that not everyone wants to work in (e.g. gambling, porn).  I don’t know what Fiver Media does, but I’m suspicious of anyone who isn’t busy trying to tell me what they do.  Looks like it’s a gaming shop, affiliated with bodog with all that entails.

    There’s not much information.  The role is reasonably well described, the work, the compensation are barely mentioned, and the process, while it does rate a mention, doesn’t get much more than that.

    Your mileage will definitely vary when it comes to working for a gaming company.  I know people who are dead-set against it, and others who don’t really know what they think.  I’ve heard my share of war stories from a colleague who used to work for a company that did online poker.

    Some companies work hard to be fun because they’ve elected to use that, rather than cash, as a motivating factor.  As a result, some of those companies don’t pay very well compared to their corporate brethren.  Other companies work so hard to be fun that they’re willing to continue to employ people who aren’t getting the job done, which can be frustrating.  I don’t know that Fiver Media is or isn’t like that, but those are some areas where your mileage may vary.

    Ultimately, as a gaming shop, my first instinct is that they pay reasonably well and are a reasonably fun place to work in an industry that’s a little sketchy and not to everyone’s taste.

    In Summary
    If working for a company involved in online gambling doesn’t bother you, Fiver Media might be your thing.  They’ve got a nice location, and they imply that they’re a fun place to work.  There’s not a lot of detail, but if that much sounds good, you could certainly inquire about the rest.

    N/S: Java Team Lead

    May 6, 2008

    Some unspecified “boutique consulting firm with blue-chip clients” is looking for a Java Team Lead:

    • Work with stakeholders to define, design, and implement software technology
    • Participate in the software development process from design to release
    • Investigate, review and integrate third party technologies
    • Provide assistance to other developers on and off-site
    • Provide assistance to customer support, documentation and quality assurance as needed

    The Good
    It’s a pretty simple description of a job, not overflowing with unnecessary technical skills, stuffed with process terminology.  And there are some key phrases in here that I’d consider green flags.  In particular, the desire to do what’s best for the customer (not a part of every consulting organization), simple technology lists that don’t overemphasize vendor solutions.  No reference to overblown processes.

    I guess the posting reads like it was written by someone who wants to hire someone to get some work done and get it done well, rather than someone who wants a buzzword-heavy, white-paper friendly person who can talk about total cost of ownership ’til the cows come home, but has trouble writing and deploying code.

    The Bad
    The description doesn’t say much about the company, the process, the technology, the compensation, the location or the work.  Mostly, it talks a little about the role.  What’s there sounds pretty decent, but what isn’t there is quite a bit, so you’d have to fill in the blanks by talking to them.

    The security and financial checks sound onerous to me.  While I imagine most of you would be able to pass these checks, some of you might not want to work for an employer where these kinds of restrictions are necessary.

    Travel – up to 25%.  The posting isn’t clear if that’s a theoretical maximum, where most weeks won’t involve any travel, or if that’s a regular expectation of travel.  Regardless, some people would find 25% travel (one week in four, or 2.5 days every two weeks, for instance) to be pretty taxing.

    In Summary
    I’m not sure how to conclude.  What’s there sounds pretty decent, but there’s so much missing that it’s hard to form much of an opinion.  I guess if this sounds interesting to you, you’ll want to talk to them, and beyond that, I can’t add much.