Here are a list of various questions that I have responded to as to my conformance to criteria for roles, most especially around technical team lead or project management positions. (I have elided the company names for confidentiality, but they are/were global financial blue-chip organisations.)

  • Proven experience in project and programme management, managing multi-disciplinary multi-location teams to quality, time and cost targets
    I have managed numerous projects at team level and programmes of work across teams to deliver, for example, a conversion from Token Ring to Ethernet in [COMPANY A] and the introduction of Java/J2EE as a development platform in [COMPANY B]. I have also been a major participant in large-scale (50+ person) multi-site development projects (incl. offshore elements).
  • Strong development background with proven experience managing software delivery and development. Knowledge of the full software delivery lifecycle. Specifically experience working as a Developer, Designer, Software Engineer or Architect, not just management of others performing these roles
    I have worked as a Developer, Software Engineer and Architect in both mainframe and decentralised services, both as a hands-on programmer and in a team-lead/management role. The SDLC was my remit in [COMPANY B] and I developed a revised SDLC, from inception, through design & development and into production, including suitable preparation for maintenance, to cater for outsourced, offshore projects.
  • Experience managing 3rd party or off-shore development and testing activities
    In [COMPANY B], starting from around 2003 onwards, most of our larger projects were either partially or wholly outsourced along with much of the day-to-day support functions. Part of my role was to manage the coordination of onshore/offshore activities within particular projects and to ensure that new applications that went into production were successfully handed over to the support teams. I also created a software development lifecycle that was appropriate for our needs when wholly offshoring projects.
  • Experience of managing combined development and test teams of over 20 people
    I haven’t directly managed a development team of over 20 people. I have managed 20+ people but in an operational, rather than development, context. Also, in my role as Integration Architect in [COMPANY B] I would regularly have to assemble a project team that might comprise of upwards of 20 people but this would be a matrix management, rather than direct management, responsibility. When working as a Technical Architect in [COMPANY B] I had a regular team of around 7 people and had a matrixed responsibility to the development silos which constituted 30+ onsite developers along with a similar, but flexible, number of outsourced/offshore staff.
  • A track record of successful project delivery
    Significant projects I have delivered successfully include: Conversion of portfolio valuation printing to an Electronic Publishing platform, integration of automated email/telex interface, replacement of SNA WAN with TCP/IP DLSw over Frame Relay, conversion of Token Ring to Ethernet for [COMPANY A] LAN, the technical provisioning of 2 buildings, Electronic Order Router application suite, introduction of Java/J2EE into [COMPANY B], a suite of database upgrades and conversions, application server & development team technical merger of [COMPANY B] into [COMPANY C].
  • A track record of delivering correct and functioning code and other deliverables
    All of my development roles have required the timely delivery of functionally correct code or design plans, etc. I have, for the most part, been able to do this.
  • Strong project planning and co-ordination skills in a complex and rapidly changing technical environment
    Having worked in [COMPANY B] and [COMPANY C] I have had exposure to complex environments in which the technical platforms are in a state of permanent, but carefully controlled, flux as programmes of work ripple through the environment creating changes that other projects have to take into account as they progress. Therefore I am used to creating flexible plans and collaborating with other PMs operating within the same domain. This requires a mature programme planning and change control environment in which project managers can anticipate impacts. Individual ability can make some difference but, ideally, such change control needs to be endemic in the enterprise for best chance of success.
  • Demonstrated experience of managing permanent staff carrying-out appraisals, performance monitoring and personal development
    All of my team-lead roles over the years have included a significant element of this, including preparation of 360-degree reviews, SMART objective setting and agreement of suitable training plans.
  • Demonstrated experience managing third party staff (contractors and managed service providers and offshore suppliers)
    All of my roles have involved some degree of vendor management. In the operational roles mostly 3rdparty engineering & service provision companies. My in-house technical teams have regularly been composed of a significant number of contract staff. In [COMPANY B], much of our support and larger development projects were staffed by outsourced/offshore resources and I had to closely collaborate in order to achieve objectives.
  • Project Management certification (Prince II, APMP or PMI) is essential.
    I have Practitioner-level certifications in PRINCE2 and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP). The project processes at [COMPANY B], whilst not strictly a PRINCE2/MSP environment, used many concepts from these best-practice frameworks (though with somewhat different terminology) so I am used to working within such.
  • Industry recognised qualification(s) in either Development, Architecture or Testing
    I have a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Computing from the Open University. Amongst other things this had modules covering; Software Engineering, Object Oriented Software Technology, User Interface Design & Development and Formal System Specification. I have also studied for TOGAF 9 certification which, whilst not actually being a qualification in Architecture per se, does provide for an understanding of a formal framework in which to operate.
  • Experience of working in a trading environment
    I have worked to deliver services to in-house traders & fund managers in [COMPANY A] and [COMPANY B]. Whilst not working directly on the trading floor, I have still had experience of the pressure that such groups are under and the importance of their time and the ability to quickly resolve issues without operational interruption.
  • Excellent oral, presentation and written communication
    I am used to writing reports for management, creating work orders for staff, given verbal feedback across the board and presenting to 50+ staff of my peers, colleagues and senior management. It can sometimes take a little while to understand what format senior staff prefer, from a complete dissertation on a topic for consideration to a short update that can appear on an SMS message, but I am happy to conform to what works best for a particular person & subject. The object being to make the communication appropriate and effective.
  • Maintains poise under pressure and weighs priorities with competing importance and urgency
    I always try to remain composed and objectively prioritise under pressure. When I am non-authoritative for scheduling work, I try to facilitate  discussions to determine importance & urgency of deliverables across projects as it is unusual that a unanimous answer is immediately agreed by all interested parties.
  • Excellent team player, used to achieving success through others
    Having worked in large organisations for some years, I recognize that it is absolutely necessary to work as a team player, as it is very difficult to achieve individual success without the assistance of a group of people. In that way, the whole team is successful, and the company as a whole benefits more.
  • Driven to realise results – not letting anything (within reason) stand in the way of progress and achieving committed goals
    I always try to achieve things that I commit to as a sense of personal pride.
  • A track record of identifying innovative, evolutionary and revolutionary opportunities for improvement
    In [COMPANY B] I was responsible for determining the middleware and development tools roadmap. This included identifying likely winners of competing technologies, and making sure that we were adopting those somewhat ahead of the pack, whilst avoiding the “bleeding edge”. However, earlier in my career I was a very early adopter of DLSw technology to tunnel legacy SNA and NetBIOS traffic over TCP/IP WANs. The Xerox XICS portfolio valuation system that I implemented was something that had never been done to such a scale before using that toolset. Risks can be worth taking if the rewards are commensurate, and the potential downsides can be mitigated against.
  • Formal (degree level) software development background
    As mentioned in the reply to the industry qualifications question, I have a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Computing that included formal analysis and development modules. I have also had a keen interest in Computer Science for many years and understand concepts of algorithmic complexity, etc.
  • Application support, or experience of some other operational area
    I have carried out hands-on support of various applications and systems over my career, most recently; the overnight build system for [COMPANY C]’s core platform and the 24/7 interface between an outsourced Help Desk and internal Service Desks. I also have experience in building & managing an operational network team supporting a 2000-seat London network across multiple sites along with provision of services to overseas offices. Earlier in my career I ran an internal electronic publishing bureau producing, amongst other things, client portfolio valuation reports so quality & timeliness was paramount.
  • A track record of seeking out opportunities to improve IT project delivery and services
    I have always tried to improve services and project delivery within the dictates of budgets and resources. Most recently, as a technical example, the interface between a third-party Help Desk provider and internal Service desks was improved to provide a more timely and more accurate passing of fault tickets and work requests and was also made much more robust in an attempt to eliminate any downtime. Prior to this, a revised SDLC I implemented greatly improved the reliable delivery of offshored development projects.
  • Business change experience
    I have been through several company mergers and associated business change, reflected in personnel & operational changes. I have also implemented systems and instituted processes that have meant that some significant changes, as fully intended by the programme of work, have been required.
  • Business case and benefit realisation development
    As a technical manager and team lead I regularly had to write business cases along with expected budgets and intended benefits so as to get projects approved. The realisation of those benefits subsequent to delivering the project would also be my responsibility. Most recently this was reflected in the Java/J2EE migration and the ability to use templated application solutions to reduce delivery time and lower maintenance overhead from the support teams. Prior to that the most significant example, for benefit realisation, was the conversion of Token Ring to Ethernet, when in my role as Network Manager.

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