My first year as dev manager


Posted on August 31, 2016

It's been a year now since I moved from Tech Lead at Kitbag.com to Dev Manager at Really Good Domains / ContractHireAndLeasing.com so it seems an opportune time to look back and reflect.

The covetted position of dev manager was one I had sought for a while. With a sharp developer mind, skills/knowledge to pass on in abundance as well as a level of social intelligence and business acumen not often found in developers, dev manager suits my personality and skillset well.

I had the pleasure of joining RGD at a time of increased investment in their IT operations. When I started there were only three developers (myself and two others). Over the last 12 months we have grown to a team of 9 devs split into 3 teams and are still recruiting.

Of course recruiting isn't the only thing we've been doing. There's been lots and lots of development spanning numerous projects as well as the usual day-to-day dev work. We've also changed our agile practices. We've moved away from Scrum to Kanban. Mainly because of business priorities changing faster than 2 weekly sprint would allow.

One of the first things I have introduced is peer code reviews. This has seen an immediate increase in code quality and reduction in released bugs and siloing of information.

I also felt an overwhelming desire to increase our realtime telemetry. How may visitors are on our sites right now? How many errors have there been this minute, hour, day, week compared to previous? How long did the Sql Agent jobs take to run? Any fail? Did any of the last TFS CI builds failed? So I knocked up a little app to pull all this info together and display it via a UWP app deployed onto a Raspberry PI running Windows 10 IOT Core hooked up to a big screen. Text to speech / SpeechSynthesis announcement of who broke tbe build may have been a bit much.

I also found TFS to be a little bit restrictive so hooked up to its API to pull out and display the info I want in the way I want.

I have had great success in iterative prototypical approaches to solution development. Taking 'fake it till you make it' to heart by implementing fake concrete repositories of interfaced repositories, allowing the end used to see how the solution works before touching any real data.

Recently i've cherry picked parts of DDD that I like when redesigning the next version of our flagship websites codebase.

All in all it's been a busy and productive 12 months with a backlog of devwork and programme of projects to get through. So no hope of running out of work any time soon.

-- Lee