Engineering Director - Product

Remote-first

Fully flexible hours

Dog friendly

Employment type
Full time

Who we are

Element is the startup which employs the core team behind Matrix— the leading project for secure, open decentralised communication.

Matrix’s mission is to make messaging as open as email— allowing everyone to choose where their data is hosted, enjoy private conversations and ultimately be in control of their own communication.

Practically speaking this means building open, self-sovereign alternatives to WhatsApp/Slack/Teams for governments, civic institutions and communities. At one end of the scale, the French government has adopted Matrix for all of its instant messaging needs and more recently we delivered the world’s largest-ever single contract for a collaborative software service helping schools in Germany support remote learning. On the other end of the scale, open-source communities such as Mozilla have adopted Element for all of its community chat replacing IRC

The Role

Reporting to the Head of Engineering Management you will lead the cross-functional Delight team in its mission to improve the core usability of Element.

More concretely you will:-

  • Take responsibility for the overall effectiveness of engineering delivery for your team
  • Line management of backend, web and mobile engineers
  • Work closely with the Product Manager to lead a product-focused, cross-functional team to success
  • Facilitate a culture of technical excellence
  • Connect company strategic technical and product goals with team goals
  • Continuously improve the team’s ways of working via setting effective processes
  • Ensure effective delivery of the team’s projects
  • Shape and communicate the technical strategy for your area.
  • Partner with your peers in the Product and Design organisations to ensure strong alignment between your team’s goals and the broader company strategy.
  • Ensure that your engineers are well supported to deliver on their goals, course-correcting where necessary.
  • Facilitate technical design sessions, retrospectives, 1:1s etc.
  • In order to understand the challenges the team faces you will be expected to contribute code. At the current team size, this would mean maybe 10-20% of your time acting as an individual contributor.
  • Take responsibility for the ongoing professional development of your engineers.
  • Contribute to the hiring strategy and participate in interviews and hiring decisions.
  • Act as a point of contact for other areas of the business.
  • Relentlessly remove impediments blocking your team

Your first few months will align with these specific points of impact and influence:

1 month

  • You will have taken over line management responsibility of the team’s engineers
  • You will have a good understanding of the teams goals and projects

3 months

  • You are leading on improving the team’s processes based on input from the team and indicative metrics
  • You now have a good understanding of the key technical issues the team is working on and contribute to technical discussions
  • You are working effectively with the Product Manager, ensuring the team is effectively translating business and product goals into implementation

6 months

  • You have a solid understanding of your team’s strengths and weaknesses and are mentoring, coaching and setting personal objectives to guide people’s development
  • Thanks to you, the team is making solid technical decisions, weighing time and value effectively
  • You know the architecture of the systems the team works on well
  • The team runs an effective, highly productive process that delivers results and also makes room for technical creativity

The team operates remotely in predominantly European locations. We have aggressive hiring plans in 2021/22 and the role has a lot of potential for growth. Previous remote management experience is not a hard requirement but those new to it may benefit from being able to regularly spend some time in the London office.

Since (almost) everything we do is open source [1] [2] you can get a great feel for exactly what it would be like to work on Element - joining dev-centric channels such as #element-dev:matrix.org provides a window into the core team and the community. Come and say hi!

Requirements

  • You have experience leading a high-performing team of engineers, including managing and shipping cross-functional or multi-team projects.
  • You enjoy collaborating with Product Management, Technical Account Management and UX Design on the product discovery & delivery lifecycle.
  • You are endlessly curious about the technologies your team works with and strive to keep your technical knowledge sharp. While there is a hands-on component to the role, you must feel comfortable knowing your greatest impact won't be as a technical contributor.
  • Earlier in your career, you have previously worked as a developer on a complex end user-facing application. We don’t need you to have worked on a chat application, but familiarity with common real-time patterns and idioms would be a plus.
  • You place a tremendous value on good communication and appreciate async and remote-friendly working practices.
  • You understand methodologies like Agile, XP, and Lean, and see their value, but do not believe that there is ’one true way’ to get work done.
  • You are comfortable with the pace and trade-offs of an early-stage startup (meaning: know how to take care of yourself and your team, get your work done without working around the clock, prioritise ruthlessly, be able to tolerate a little uncertainty and sometimes wear different hats).

Nice to haves

It would nice if any of the following were true.

  • Some previous history working in an open-source environment, either professionally or as a community member.
  • You have worked as a developer on a complex react based web application in the past. We don’t need you to have worked on a chat application, but familiarity with common real-time patterns and idioms would be a plus.
  • An interest/experience in the world of decentralised technology and/or messaging technology.
  • You have managed remote staff or have worked remotely yourself. Element is a highly distributed organisation and we continually strive to improve our remote experience.

If you have any questions before making an application reach out on Element to Mischa @mischawalmsley:matrix.org via https://app.element.io

Benefits

Our general approach is to treat people like adults and acknowledge that by being flexible we create an environment for people to do their best work. For more details here is our manifesto.

That said specific points that differentiate us.

  • Yearly bonus and meaningful equity options.
  • Work (almost) full time on FOSS projects with high visibility and a large enthusiastic community
  • The chance to work with large scale governmental installations through to high profile FOSS projects such as Mozilla or KDE.
  • Option to work partially or fully remote (our head office is in London), we offer flexibility and consider ourselves to be a family friendly environment.
  • People tend to stay with the company for a long time, we take this as a sign that we have a cohesive supportive culture, that we have engaging challenging work and that people can develop their skills and careers here for the long term.

Element does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, colour, religion, age, national origin, marital status, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other reason prohibited by law in provision of employment opportunities and benefits.

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Element
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Remote-first

Fully flexible hours

Dog friendly