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Personal profile

I am passionate about software engineering and it has formed a part of my life ever since I received my first computer as a teenager.

My entire career has been in the IT industry covering everything from developer to team lead, and this has given me a strong technical background as well as solid experience working both in teams, and leading teams.

I am a strong proponent of agile methodologies and I like to bring agile to as many minds as possible, I believe in its effectiveness in both delivering value and empowering people, the key to success of any project.

As a leader I enjoy being in the trenches with the team, leading, coaching and mentoring where needed, stepping back when necessary and allowing the team to succeed. I’m best described as a “Servant Leader”, believing that, as a leader, it is my responsibility to enable the team to succeed.

As a team member I enjoy working with experienced, collaborative, multi-skilled, “passionate about their trade” people. I enjoy responsibility and challenges and live to solve problems.

Key skills and qualities

Agile Evangelist
Agile Evangelist9 / 10

As a Scrum Master my job is living, breathing and spreading agile. I believe in agile approaches as an effective way to respond to the challenges of our ever changing environment and to develop quality software in an iterative fashion, continually delivering value to stakeholders. My approach to agile is to focus on the people aspect, firmly believing that if you create an awesome environment and have happy people, great things can only happen.

Team Leader
Team Leader8 / 10

Coaching and mentoring people is something I enjoy doing, and will continue to do wherever I am. The teams I’ve led / coached have varied in size from 4 to just under 20. I am a hands on leader and enjoy being ‘in the trenches’ with the team, I believe in leading by example and that the role of a leader is to enable their teams, to trust that they know what they’re doing, and to mentor and guide where needed. I am very effective at identifying areas of improvement in teams and processes, and enjoy working with and guiding teams to resolve these possible shortcomings.

Software Engineer
Software Engineer8 / 10

The majority of my career has been about creating software for customers of, and in, large firms across many business sectors including financial, insurance, government and entertainment. I work in various software languages, but my core skills lie in Java, JavaScript and PHP. In addition to employment based development, I work on several different projects in my spare time including web and mobile development.

Effective Communicator
Effective Communicator8 / 10

My experience over the years dealing with all levels of the organization, whether it be formal meetings or informal discussions, has given me the ability to communicate in a way that targets the specific needs of the audience. I am as comfortable and effective at communicating with senior management and executives as I am communicating with team members and peers.

Java Developer
Java Developer8 / 10

I have many years experience developing in Java following the core Object Orientated principles. I’ve worked mostly in companies requiring J2EE development but also some J2ME. I also develop and maintain Android applications (in Java) in my spare time.

Web Developer
Web Developer6 / 10

I’ve developed web sites of varying complexity, mostly in PHP, JavaScript and MySQL. Most of these have been for small clients in a private capacity, while a few have been done as part of my formal employment.

Android Developer
Android Developer7 / 10

Android is a personal hobby and interest of mine and I’ve develop android applications in Java, mostly phone based but some tablet based. I’ve released a few applications to the Google Android Marketplace with varying degrees of success.

Database Developer
Database Developer9 / 10

Most of my career has involved working against some form of SQL database. I have exposure to MSSQL, MySQL, Oracle and DB2 but can pretty much figure out any SQL based relational database. I am well versed in query writing, database design and database maintenance having played the role of DBA on many occasions.

Linux Administrator
Linux Administrator7 / 10

I enjoy the open source nature and complexity of Linux and own server hosted overseas where I not only experiment and play (with the aim of learning new things), but also run various websites for paying customers. I enjoy the challenge of fully administering the server taking care of all aspects from security to backups.

One Man Team
One Man Team9 / 10

I am able to work effectively across multiple skills and multiple disciplines, I have a strong problem solving ability and enjoy challenges. My diverse career enables me to do everything from building and assembling servers to developing and deploying software. I believe this enables me to not only work effectively in a team but also as a “One Man Team”.

Awards and Achievements

Won award as “Best Individual Performer”

Won the award as “Best Individual Performer” for my contribution (as a ScrumMaster at Multichoice) towards improving the development teams overall effectiveness. I not only introduced and mentored the agile process, but also built and assembled various tools to assist the team in adopting and using these processes.

Nominated as “Best Positive Stirrer”

Nominated as “Best Positive Stirrer” while working as a ScrumMaster at Multichoice. I was nominated for “doing things the right way” and “bringing a positive energy to the team”

Work Experience

Multichoice

February 2011 – 31 January 2013

Scrum Master

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.

Achievements

  • 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.

Discovery

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.

Achievements

  • 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.

DStv Online

October 2009 – May 2010

Scrum Master

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.

Achievements

  • 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

QA Manager

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.

Achievements

  • 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.

Kaizania

January 2009 – February 2009

Scrum Master

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.

PruProtect

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.

Achievements

  • 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.

Diners Club

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.

Achievements

  • 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.

Osiris Trading

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.

Achievements

  • 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.

Paracon SA

Application Developer (August 1999 – June 2001)

South African Reserve Bank

Analyst Programmer (Jan 1999 – Jul 1999)

Hollandia Reinsurance

Application Developer (Jun 1998 – Dec 1998)

Automobile Association of South Africa

Application Developer (Nov 1996 – May 1998)

Denel Informatics

Application Developer (May 1996 – November 1996)

Junior Programmer (Jan 1994 – Apr 1996)

Computer Mainframe Operator (Apr 1991 – Dec 1993)

 

Education and Training

Scrum Alliance

2008 – Certified ScrumMaster

This certifies that I attended and met the requirements to call myself an official Certified ScrumMaster as defined by the Scrum Alliance (http://scrumalliance.org).

My profile can be viewed here: http://www.scrumalliance.org/profiles/43183-rick-tonoli

Solms Training

2002 – Java Programming

Workgroups Institute

1998 – MS Visual Basic 5.0 (Advanced)

Microsoft South Africa

1994 – Crystal Reporting Certification

1997 – Microsoft Solutions Framework Certification

SAP South Africa

1994 – SAP R/3 Training

Denel Informatics

1991 – Junior Operator Certification

1992 – Operator Certification

1992 – Automation Course

 

Interests and Hobbies

My hobbies mostly revolve around technology and gadgets in some form or another:

  • I enjoy blogging, particularly about agile processes and thinking, coaching, mentoring and team collaboration. I try to do this as often as possible, time permitting. You can find my blog here: http://refactor.co.za
  • I attend several meetups and local get togethers that involve agile development and/or something technological. It gives me a chance to mingle and network with like minded people.
  • I develop android applications to keep myself coding. Most of the apps I develop fill a specific need I’ve had and I’ve released a few to the Android market, with varying degrees of success. This is a link to them: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=rick+tonoli&c=apps
  • Together with android applications I enjoy web based development, most of which I do in PHP and JavaScript (JQuery). Part of this also includes an interest in Location Based Services (LBS). I’ve created a website to allow me to explore this interest (http://lctn.me)
  • I run my own Linux (Ubuntu) server hosted overseas and use it to experiment and further my interest in Linux, and to host many of my projects and those I’ve done for paying customers.
  • I’ve always had an interest in electronics and, with the guys at House4Hack (see below), I’ve rekindled this interest. My main focus is around Home Automation and the Internet of Things and have created (and been involved in creating) my own hardware and end to end software for measuring, monitoring and (not yet but soon) manipulating the home.
  • I enjoy listening to technology based podcasts, it’s how I try and keep up with what’s happening in tech. My current list includes The Java Posse, TWIT (This Week In Technology), TWIG (This Week In Google), SE Radio (Software Engineering Radio), Illegal Argument, EEVBlog (The Electronics Engineering Video Blog )

Several of my projects are available on Github, in various states of completeness: https://github.com/ricktonoli

I also actively participate in the following groups:

Ferndale Java User Group

The Jozi Java User Group is a Java User Group which plans to meet monthly in and around the Randburg area. The Jozi Java User Group is for those who are interested in physically meeting to discuss Java and related technologies.

Anyone is welcome, no matter where you live, age and skill level!

Our goal is to:

  • help grow the Java community,
  • learn from the vast array of knowledge and experience that there is in our community,
  • help build skills that our country so badly needs,
  • make friends with other Java developers and
  • have fun

House4Hack

House 4 Hack is an initiative to bring together technology specialists and entrepreneurs in an informal setting. We are trying to combine concepts from hackerspaces and innovation incubators in a way that hobbyists can take a break from their regular job and experiment with start-ups in a safe friendly environment.