Software Engineering Leadership Coach
Providing coaching and mentorship to engineering leaders – from senior software engineers looking to level-up their scope of impact, to startup CTOs facing the challenges of scaling their organizations.
An experienced engineering leader with over two decades of product engineering and leadership experience.
- Originally from Scotland, Rod now lives in San Francisco and is a Senior Engineering Manager at Discord, and an engineering leadership coach with BestPracticer.
- Before this, he spent four years as a Senior Engineering Manager at Dropbox. Past lives have been as Co-Founder & CTO of Sosh, VP of Software Engineering at Anova Culinary, and writing code at places like Slide, Bose, and – for 39 days – Google.
- His writing is featured on LeadDev.com and in O’Reilly’s 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts.
Here’s a summary of places I’ve worked and what I’ve worked on. For more details, check out my LinkedIn profile.
Senior Engineering Manager, Dropbox
- Led teams of web, desktop and mobile engineers building Dropbox Paper and Dropbox Spaces. Shipped tons of new functionality, hit company growth goals, and made processes like on-call manageable and less painful.
- Built strong partnerships with Product & Design peers to maximise impact engineering teams could deliver.
- Created and led IGNITE, Dropbox’s apprenticeship program for new engineers from non-traditional backgrounds. In first two years, 17 apprentices joined DBX for six month placements, with 13 receiving (and accepting) full-time offers.
- Worked on question set and designed & delivered interviewer training for Dropbox’s behavioural interviews.
VP Software Engineering, Anova Culinary
- Transitioned web & mobile software development for “smart” kitchen appliance produxts from teams of external contractors (in the U.S. and Ukraine) to being a core internal discipline.
- Defined, sourced, interviewed and closed two engineering roles in my first 30 days.
Co-Founder & CTO, Sosh
- Engineering co-founder. Worked closely with my two co-founders to define our company & product goals. Grew company to 55 people, with 16 engineers reporting in to me.
- Built first version of site from scratch, then recruited an awesome engineering team. Defined roles, wrote job postings, built interviewing process, had hundreds of initial coffees and phone screens, and sold to & closed incredible candidates.
- Worked closely with co-founders and heads of product & business development on business strategy. Translated those into engineering goals to set expectations of success for eng team.
- Defined and evolved our product development process as team and product-scale grew.
Engineering Manager, Slide
- Joined as a Python software engineer, building early, massively viral social games on Facebook platform.
- Transitioned to being an Engineering Manager for four engineers. Went through the standard experience of getting the title with no training, trying to figure things out like hiring, delivering feedback, retaining engineers, and setting direction. Made a ton of mistakes, but learned from them!
- Spent ten years writing code and building interesting things at companies like Bose, Current TV and Sapient.
- In retrospect, was incredibly hard work for my managers to manage — which means I’m pretty experienced with handling hard-to-manage people now!
What People are Saying About Me?
I’ve been meeting with Rod for a few months now and he’s had insightful guidance on our big-picture strategic initiatives as well as the smaller-scale, sometimes interpersonal, tactical issues that come up in a leadership role.
I’ve spent so much time just focusing on mastering product development I didn’t have a good system for thinking about engineering leadership or for considering my options. With Rod’s coaching I was able to level up my leadership skills and get better at showing coworkers those skills. Most importantly, Rod helped me develop a way to think about the different paths in engineering leadership and to work through my doubts about considering management as a viable path.
Rod has really helped me take my career to the next level. I always look forward to learning something new in our sessions.
I’ve been a Featured Contributor to LeadDev since 2020. Here are my recent articles for them.