Senior Manager, Lead Developer
March 2020 - Present
NewDay represented the challenge of an entirely different sector for me, one far more heavily regulated, with an awesome focus on how we can help our customers be better with credit. At its heart a caring organisation.
Joined and helped form a stable UI team, ensuring that the correct mix of abilities is present to deliver, learn and explore. Created an environment of product excellence which enables our team to sell back ideas to the business over responding to changing business requirements.
Delivering an implementation of a micro front end codebase, using modular test driven development that takes into account accessibility, customer value, ease of delivery and developer experience.
Shifted mindset away from server based components to statically delivered JS, looking forward to a mixture of server side rendering ahead of time and server components.
Implemented a headless CMS to completely remove all notion of content editing from development teams and give ownership to those writing and delivering the content.
Worked closely with the department head to align multiple teams to engineering initiatives.
Built a guild focused around working groups which will deliver and drive standards adoption across UI teams, with the working groups semi-organically contributing to areas such as testing, performance, monitoring and more.
Became a lead developer/manager responsible for a team of developers (currently 6), a mixture of permanent and contracted colleagues, caring passionately about their opportunities for development and career progression through appropriate training both on the job and from third parties.
Defined interview patterns and exercises to enable a smooth running pipeline of candidates assessed appropriately for their suitability within NewDay. Integrating several ideas and ways of working to enable the leads to hire effective candidates.
July 2016 - February 2020
I am a key team member of the maturing Digital Group function at Whitbread, looking after search and helping teams work together through collaborative libraries and initiatives.
The main project I have been involved with is Premier Inn, ensuring that this robust muli-million pound sales platform continues to generate and increase revenue. I have been involved to some degree with Whitbread’s other online properties Costa Coffee and our restaurant sites.
I have am leading the business team to understand how we integrate our business and leisure code bases.
Recently I have created a cypress pipeline in jenkins to fails builds that don’t pass end to end tests, this is being rolled out to all teams.
I am part of generating a new raft of React applications to handle the business side of Premier Inn, slowly removing dependencies on an old Angular/Tomcat stack.
Since January 2019 I have been running an Accessibility community of practice which includes workshops, role play and more. This focus enabled our UX researcher to get Adi Latif in to speak for us, I am in the process of captioning the video we made of the talk!
I continually guide and structure key decisions in user journeys, enabling designers, product owners, architects and developers to work together and understand each other.
I ably deal with production crises (none of which were ever our code) in a calm and professional manner.
I strive to enable developers at all levels to take on tasks that stretch them, from concept to implementation.
Our team took the brave step of re-engineering our search application in Vanilla JS, it is arguably the leanest, most efficient list of hotels ever created.
The lightweight approach to this application has cut deployment times dramatically, its separation from the main application gave it a freer development pipeline.
Supporting i18n configurations in anticipation of a German rollout in 2019.
The team I have worked in the most has been responsible for search and content. This included understanding stakeholder interests, lobbying for re-development and re-factoring and an unhealthy amount of bug fixing.
I regularly help assess candidates for a selection of front end developer roles with a consistently high quality of hire. Most of whom have progressed to pastures greener.
I am a patient teacher, helping guide graduates and developers through learning the pitfalls of front end development and helping the wider team with unfamiliar coding problems.
I push and encourage other teams through example and experimentation to explore new opportunities in how they look at their projects.
I represented Whitbread at a Graduate hackathon and now work with one of the winners of the hackathon.
I help architects, leads and seniors with decision making and encouragement, reinforcing the idea that we are an engine of change.
I continue to champion accessibility, although ensuring AA compliancy across five teams is challenging.
My team led the charge for TDD, leading to the creation of a 100% test coverage project.
Recognising, assessing and managing technical debt has been a key part of my role, attaining buy in to sort out deep seated problems and asking questions which aim to find out what problems we are solving with a given codebase.
I support any initiative that fosters cross team and cross discipline sharing, encouraging individuals to have a say in all parts of a given process.
I am now a trained first aider and fire marshal.
December 2015 - July 2016
Whilst not my favourite job ever, it gave me an important insight into how businesses are run by mad dogs and englishmen.
I moved to Clash to overhaul their current web properties, transition their current platform to a cloud based service and develop future opportunities.
I was deeply involved in the design, development and day to day technology of Clash Music as it grows with it’s relaunch in February 2016.
I moved the current site to a cost effective cloud infrastructure which reduced monthly running costs by over half.
Designed a new look and feel for the Clash brand, reducing the clutter around the core content of music news. Reviewing the information hierarchy and assessing with analytics the most important content and where to focus and refine user journeys.
Designed and created assets for advertising and web briefs, alongside documentation for implementation and detailed plans of work involved.
Using Drupal to manage and define content and layouts for the new site.
Deploying and refining the Google based Vice Ad Network to allow effective sales of advertising through Clash and the AdX marketplace.
Managed a team of external developers who carried out theme development work for Drupal.
Using PHP, CSS and JS to meet internal needs and demands above that agreed and developed by our external team.
Designing and implementing workflows and workflow templates in Google Docs for team use throughout Clash.
General admin with anything technology related, including migrating the email service to google.
April 2014 - December 2015
Creating bespoke solutions within the Engage Sciences platform to enhance client and customer engagement.
Taking client briefs and tailoring them to the platform or writing custom app logic to work with the platform.
Scoping client briefs in relation to existing platform functionality.
Educating clients on how to use the custom aspects of the platform to control their own themes and individual campaigns.
Educating clients and developers on complex uses of the platform and how to customise campaigns to suit a range of creatives.
Creating extremely varied themes using LESS/CSS3 to fit a given clients branding and design.
Working to tight deadlines and effectively delivering a re-branded platform and enhanced functionality on a weekly basis.
On-boarding US developers and working with a global team including being aware of localisation and customisations for specific markets.
Identifying areas for platform improvement and inclusion in future core releases.
Playing with new ways of integrating canvas and filereader technologies into customised campaigns.
Senior Interface Developer
October 2013 - April 2014
Working within an ideation group to provide a technical overview for conceptual projects.
Identifying areas within conceptual projects were web technologies could be applied and leveraged to improve a given user experience.
Estimating time and effort involved in implementing conceptual projects for three weekly presentations to client.
Working with the Virgin Atlantic Team formed of JAVA devs using the Adobe CQ platform.
Refining the Virgin Atlantic Airways website, updating it with new HTML, CSS and JS within an agile framework to improve the quality of experience for Virgin’s customers.
Driving the adoption of TDD and AMD within the Virgin Atlantic Airways team to improve developers skills and knowledge of new techniques and technologies.
Identifying areas for improvement and implementing them. Through the correct use of require within the project reducing the number of http request per page load by over 100. Modularising the existing JS code base to take advantage of view based loading.
Encouraging the use of the Adobe CQ platform as a sole development environment for both interface developers and java devs leading to highly collaborative efforts between developers and testers.
Implementing Grunt into the Bamboo build process, and taking steps to fail the build on Jasmine test failures.
Helping with the planning of weekly meetings to bring news and skills to Interface Developers within LBi.
Using AngularJS for site modules and form validation, giving an introduction to AngularJS to the wider LBi community of Interface Developers.
Front End Web Developer
January 2012 - October 2013
I decided to have a go at being a freelancer and working for Potato was an opportunity I did not want to pass up.
The first large project I worked on was the Google Art Project where I helped develop and iterate through improving versions of the interface arriving at the final polished product.
The Google Art Project allowed me to expand my knowledge of the JS framework Backbone and learn about the challenges posed by introducing multiple JS libraries in to a project.
After the Art Project I moved to Getting Business Online, the American version of which has a presence in nearly every state and the international version having launched recently in Mexico and Indonesia, while already being present in many other countries.
In the Getting Business Online sites I am working toward moving the different markets to Less CSS the goal of which is to compile one CSS file per market, with local parameters changing the style in each market.
I am enjoying the complex use of Less that this affords me in creating a base stylesheet which can modified by the inclusion and compilation of the local stylesheet, this has brought back some of the joy of cascading stylesheets for me.
The Getting Business Online project is enjoyable due to it’s enormous scope and the complexity of internationalisation and localisation.
January 2011 - January 2012
I work daily towards improving standards and enjoying the development community that thrives within the BBC.
I have pioneered the introduction and widespread use of requirejs and less which have improved the speed and portability of our product.
The development paradigms in current use are a mixture of BDD and TDD.
We constantly strive to adopt new technologies and innovations through hack and research days.
I am learning daily and hope to be able to pass this knowledge on to new starters in our team and within the BBC as a whole. I am still actively engaged in developing PHP for hack day projects, and when the need arises within the team.
The current discussion is how we as developers can best write and execute acceptance criteria based tests.
Alongside discussion with developers is the full embracing of UX and its implementation and improvement throughout our product.
I work with a team of talented and dedicated people who are always willing to share problems, discuss and challenge new ideas and help drive each other to perfect the product we are creating.
I am currently working on an internal tool that allows BBC staff to publish editorial content throughout the various online platforms that the BBC provides.
November 2008 – January 2011
Whilst at Yahoo! I worked with a highly creative team developing and selling client advertising briefs.
I created a PHP backbone that tied Yahoo! services together for our team into competitions, blogs and information driven advertising.
Within our department we always strived to provide a site that was both valuable and interesting for our users, which in turn generated engaged and lasting relationships between our clients and their customers.
Working with a highly engaged team was an energising experience that inspired me to find a balance between new technologies, established user experience patterns and innovative design.
I also involved myself in the developer community while at Yahoo! attending many lightning talks and showcasing our work to drive inspiration within the company.
March 2008 – August 2009
The design and implementation of a Joomla sales platform for a successful graphic artist.
The project pushed my skill set to the limit, and gave me valuable knowledge around managing time, budgets and clients.
The challenge to deliver designs and a an e-commerce platform to client expectations was exciting and the site was a success.
The client is now part of the successful Graffik team working in West London.
October 2006 – November 2008
Start Creative is where I cut my teeth and dived head first into the world of online development.
Of the many tasks I did while at Start some of my favourites were monthly newsletters for the Scrawl Collective.
Working through the night to finish the html versions of ‘flash only? Where’s the accessible version’ websites!
Turning an old rack server into a ubuntu server so that Start had its first development platform.
Working side by with designers from the conception of an idea through to the polished finished product.
Being engaged with big brands such as Adidas, Virgin and Royal Mail in order to deliver a plethora of internet advertising from emails to a complete re-skin of figleaves.com.
The work was hard but the great people I worked with loved sharing their experience and working together to create great products.