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Software Development Manager

Job ID 3781M Location Paddington Category Technology Salary Competitive Hours Closing date April 25th 2021, 11:55 PM

Job Description:

You’ll be joining the team that manages the relationship between M&S and its customers. The mission is to build a deep understanding of our customers that translates into delightfully meaningful experiences. It is the most strategic initiative in the company to drive growth. Our ambition is to put the full power of our brand behind the best technological ecosystem to deliver a new business platform that will allow the implementation of various business strategies efficiently and at scale.

The Technology strategy lined up to support that has already identified a series of platforms that aim at empowering mission-based teams to support customer goals end-to-end. We are talking for instance of a Customer Data Platform. There is also a Personalisation Platform that facilitates decisioning orchestration and the full industrialisation of data science activities. To supplement that we are to make experimentation a pervasive concept with low barrier to entry everywhere. If some elements of this strategy are already materialised, it’s still early days. It is expected the profiles retained for this role will influence the vision. They will be the main drivers of its execution.

Key accountabilities and measures

  • The Software Development Manager (SDM) is accountable for the engineering excellence of their teams, from behaviors to operations, from technical direction to solution in production and from skills and growth to reputation.

  • The SDM fosters self-management and accountability at the team level through servant leadership, clear sense of purpose and thoughtful talent management to ensure the team has “what it takes”. That is to say the SDM is fully accountable for any failure and takes no credit in case of success. When done well, their only tool is influence (communication, mentorship, leading by example, having the team speak to the right people or analyse the right data, etc.).

  • The SDM is in charge of the alignment with the overarching technical strategy that they influence where necessary working the wider Technology organisation to shape it. For instance, the SDM is fully committed to our GitOps strategy and continuously reports on valuable contributions to it.

  • The SDM acts as a platform owner. That is to say they apply proper product thinking to what is being built with a view to enable and empower as much as possible the digital product(s) that it supports through data and customer centricity. They also drive the related stakeholder management. Product owners are among their closest colleagues and from this collaboration is to emerge a balanced set of priorities that maximises time to market without compromising on the long-term strategy. The SDM commits to outcomes through their OKRs and then makes it happen. And then communicates to drive awareness and recognition. Marketing is indeed integral part of product thinking.

  • The SDM collaborates with the entire engineering leadership, to make us think strategically, to ensure maximum synergy and to maintain a healthy ability to “think big” within their teams.

  • The SDM applies their leadership with a “people first” mindset. Their line management duty extends into supporting Software Development Engineers who have direct reports. Frequent 121s, performance, personal development… all the usual good things with the added support of the fellowships.

  • The SDM is custodian of the OKR process in their area.

  • The SDM supports our engineering communities: fellowships where bar raising happens and orchestras where strategic alignment is facilitated. This support is mainly achieved by creating the space and time within teams for the agenda of these communities to be progressed efficiently.

  • The SDM is hands on and continuously seeks opportunities to lead by example in that way.

  • The SDM supports the fellowships when it comes to recruiting and is accountable for the onboarding of new engineers into the team. Talent retention is a key measure of their success.

  • When vendors are involved, the SDM is positioned as the key technical stakeholder. They own it as integral part of their platform with the same level of reliability and satisfaction as the in-house capabilities they build and run.


Key skills


  • Solid background in Software Engineering. Strong candidates will have years of experience implanting systems in many different technologies and will have some level of experience across the stack, from front-end to backend system.

  • Proven track record in delivering, operating, leading, hiring, pivoting.

  • Evidence of effective communication both through speech and in writing.

  • Experience with product recommendations, personalisation or more generally data science solutions in an context.

  • Similarly having experience with data transformation of any kind (data warehousing, customer data platform, reactive paradigm) is highly desirable.

  • Demonstrable experience of building and leading a team of highly skilled software engineers, to deliver a best of class software under non-trivial NFRs.

  • Strong understanding of system design, software architecture, cloud, and software engineering best practices, especially well versed on CI/CD.

  • Strong understanding of what the DevOps mindset is about and how it informs ways of working and technical ownership.

  • Strong understanding of testing strategies and reliability engineering.

  • Proven ability in influencing the organisation at all levels.

  • Proven ability in dealing with several stakeholders and appropriately managing expectations.

  • Excellent interpersonal, analytical and problem-solving skills.

  • Strong people management skill, able to get the best out of colleagues you manage.

  • Strong organisational skills.

  • Able to balance large workloads and prioritise effectively.

  • A strong self-starter with high attention to details.

  • Willing to travel occasionally.

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