1 May 2013 -
I lead multiple teams building enterprise software for top law firms around the world. As the Team Lead my focus is on supporting the teams in delivering to agreed goals, a role similar in nature to my previous work as a Scrum Master, making visible the progress being made to various levels of management, dealing with training and personal growth, and generally just “being there” for my teams enabling them to be the best they can be.
The teams I lead cover various areas of the business, including mobile, framework and test automation, span various disciplines from software development to quality assurance, and include a full range of junior through senior engineers.
We follow an agile process (scrum/kanban), adapting as and when needed to meet the ever changing demands of vendor software development and the law software industry.
Some of the achievements I’m particularly proud of include the introduction of estimation techniques (effort estimation as per scrum), spearheading the test automation drive, pushing for better collaboration through the use of real time communication tools, leveraging my 25 years experience to act as a mentor and sounding board, and reinforcing and protecting the already great culture.
February 2011 – 31 January 2013
Worked with a team of software engineers, testers and business analysts developing the next generation user interface for the company’s set top decoder device. My role as a Scrum Master was to bring about improvements in the overall development process and to facilitate the successful completion of the project by assisting the team in removing obstacles and identifying ways to improve. The role also involved regular feedback to stakeholders at the executive level on progress of the project.
- Improved the teams agile implementation leading to regular 2 weekly delivery of value (with demo’s to stakeholders), a measurable improvement in quality, an overall improvement in morale and collaboration.
- Helped define and clarify the teams SDLC.
- Improved the visibility of progress of the project clearly defining potential end dates, allowing for strategic decisions to be made regarding the project.
- Became the “go to” guy for agile thinking.
- Created and maintained a Continuous Build environment for the team to use, this was challenging in that it involved external hardware (set top boxes) and some rather unique build challenges. The end product was a continuous build process that would go from code check in to set top box deployment with high visibility and continuous feedback.
- Built several web based tools to allow the team, and management, to better visualize and track the progress of the project.
- Won award for Best Individual Performer as…
” Scrum Master for the Next Gen UI software development (more specifically Olive Tree Project). Not only has he improved the scrum teams effectiveness, but has been integral in rolling out automated regression testing. Rick brought a solid understanding of agile to the table. Being an evangelist of scrum and agile he has taken the team an order of magnitude closer to working effectively together. He has also improved the software quality through automated testing. That automation will sanity test the software every time a developer submits code to the central repository. This means immediate feedback to developers on the quality of the submission and ensures a more stable baseline.“
June 2010 – January 2011
Senior Java Developer
Brought on as a Senior Java Developer with enterprise development expertise, I worked with a team of developers building an in house commission payment and intermediary management system. My responsibilities included turning user specifications into working code. More specifically I worked on several web service (SOAP) interfaces to allow the automation of printing and sending of customer related documents.
- One of the key challenges I had to overcome was the need to quickly understand the business domain and the need to pick up development of a project that was already on a late delivery path.
October 2009 – May 2010
As a Scrum Master at DStv Online I was responsible for a team of senior developers researching and building ground breaking software (predominantly Microsoft technologies) for the company. I was responsible for the agile development process (Scrum) definition and guidance, assisting the Product Owner with defining what needed to be built and team members in understanding the intricacies of agile software development. Additionally I took on the responsibility for the technical/hardware aspects of the development environment (continuous integration, source control, hardware) allowing the team to focus on the software aspects.
- Successfully got a team of senior developers, with different ways of thinking, to respect each other and get along. Mentored the team in “the agile way” and managed to release several successful projects.
- Our most successful project was the development of the DStv On Demand Player, a video streaming client for customers of DStv (http://ondemand.dstv.com/), project came in on time.
- Managed the peripheral development environment around the team by creating a continuous integration environment (using Hudson CI) with high visibility and continuous feedback, managing the hardware infrastructure for the development servers, dealing with political/organizational red tape and generally removing anything that was preventing them from achieving their chosen goals. This resulted in a more efficient team able to regularly deliver on their chosen goals.
The Mobile Services Company
March 2009 – September 2009
I worked with a team of mobile (J2ME technology) testers and developers responsible for testing, development and maintenance of an in house mobile product in partnership with Microsoft. I defined and maintained quality processes, tools (issue tracking, build tools) and managed the team from a resource and people perspective. I was also responsible for gathering and reporting of project metrics as it pertained to quality.
- One of the key challenges I had to overcome was cleaning up the SDLC to ensure a good quality product. Testing and development was chaotic and haphazard and needed to be more controlled to guarantee a good quality product but still maintain the agility to adapt to change. Achieved this by introducing Scrum and some good XP practices.
January 2009 – February 2009
Consulted to Standard Bank as a Scrum Master working with 3 teams implementing Scrum in their International Banking division. Contract was cancelled and worked remaining time at Kaizania’s offices as a Scrum Master on smaller in-house projects.
April 2007 – December 2008
Team Lead / Scrum Master
Hired as a Senior Java Developer responsible for development of user defined specifications into J2EE applications, later spearheaded introduction of agile methodologies and took on role of Scrum Master and hands on Team Lead, guiding a team of Java developers creating J2EE applications for UK based insurance provider. Responsible for technical specification, solution design, solution development and mentoring of team doing both new applications and enhancements to existing applications.
- Became a self taught Scrum Master, solidifying my knowledge by doing the Certified Scrum Master certification.
- Assisted organization in adoption of Scrum. Became a mentor to the rest of team for understanding and implementation of the Scrum development process.
- Successful implementation of “Franchise Zone” website using Scrum. The project ran over 3 sprints with 4-5 resources per sprint (different each sprint). The major features were delivered and the website is now in full production. This projects success spearheaded the roll out of Scrum into the organization.
- Creation of the company’s client facing website. This involved both creating a new website for the company as well as migrating and seamlessly integrating existing legacy back end applications into the website.
- Understanding and implementation of two-way SSL certification for secure website access using personal certificates.
May 2006 – March 2007
Senior Java Developer
Hired for my expertise in enterprise Java development I was brought in to complete an important client facing web application being built by external consultants for Diners Club.
- Rapid understanding of not only the business domain but the existing J2EE code and product implementation, in it’s undocumented and non-working state.
- I was the only Java capable person and had to overcome the challenge of handling the full SDLC (which I had to redefine and clean up), from requirements gathering and interpretation, through to development, release and testing.
- Created custom content management system (CMS) from scratch to allow changes to website content without requiring code rebuilds.
July 2001 – April 2006
Team Lead / Senior Developer
Started work at Osiris Trading as a Visual Basic developer working on marketing and mass mailing applications. Developed several MSSQL database query driven reports. Spearheaded move to Java technologies (J2EE), acted as mentor and lead to other developers. Did full life cycle development (specifications, coding, deployment) of various in house J2EE applications. Promoted to Team Lead leading a team of 8 developers, continued J2EE development with additional managerial responsibilities.
- Made some key architectural changes to successfully optimize existing mail sending infrastructure.
- Instrumental in changing company’s focus from a procedural based language to an object orientated approach (VB to Java) and moving away from multiple 2 tier thick clients to a single application stack service based architecture running on application servers.
- Establishment of Development Standards and Methodology.
- Made our work more visible and general improvements in quality of what we did through introduction of wiki’s, continuous build / feedback environments, monitoring and feedback tools.
Application Developer (August 1999 – June 2001)
South African Reserve Bank
Analyst Programmer (Jan 1999 – Jul 1999)
Application Developer (Jun 1998 – Dec 1998)
Automobile Association of South Africa
Application Developer (Nov 1996 – May 1998)
Application Developer (May 1996 – November 1996)
Junior Programmer (Jan 1994 – Apr 1996)
Computer Mainframe Operator (Apr 1991 – Dec 1993)