A day in the life of... CTO at Resident Advisor
Published: 03 October 2016 By Ben Davis
What's it like being a CTO?
We asked David Miranda, Chief Technical Officer at Resident Advisor, in the latest in our 'Day in the Life' series.
Here's what he had to say...
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I'm CTO for Resident Advisor - a global online electronic music magazine and ticketing platform.
I manage and work in the development team who are responsible for web and app development of our entire platform.
Generally I ensure that we are using the correct processes, methodology, architecture and infrastructure to deliver high quality software with a focus on value and iterative delivery.
I also facilitate roadmap sessions to ensure that we are delivering items of the highest value for our end users and liaise with other departments to ensure that we are developing smart solutions to their problems to help make their jobs easier.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I report directly into one of the co-founders but have a close relationship with both of them. I also work closely with the head of product to manage the roadmap.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role? Tell us about a typical working day…
I try very actively to stay as technical as I can.
Of course, I can't spend my whole day coding anymore but I do try to make sure I am at least pairing with a developer or planning out architectural improvements around 50% of the time - I see this as vital in being as effective as I can for the tech teams.
Other bits of my time are taken up by requests for development time, process management, DevOps, roadmap management and stakeholder engagement.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I love that I can be part of an organisation made up of such talented people that is so open to change. No one is selfish with their ideas and there is a real feeling that we are all in it together.
I also have a great team that I can bounce ideas off and who come up with some great solutions.
Of course my first love has always been coding and not always being able to do that can be frustrating but being able to mix that with higher level business challenges means that there is never a dull moment and always a lot to learn.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
A fair few of my goals involve delivery management and comms.
Quality is something that I heavily strive for and helping the team deliver software that is both bug free and easy to maintain is a constant battle in our world.
It's actually fairly difficult and risky to apply KPIs or success metrics to development. However, by always retrospecting and striving for continuous improvement I think our effectiveness becomes obvious.
Happiness and engagement of the development team is also a good measure of success. And obviously improvement of our offering to our end users!
The Resident Advisor website
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
I use both Trello and Jira. We started using Trello when I first started at Resident Advisor as I had been using it to manage my own workflow for a long time.
The team eventually and naturally outgrew Trello as we needed more advanced features that Jira offers. Jira isn't perfect but it does have the majority of features that you can ask for from an electronic board and is good value.
I now use Trello for our high level roadmap which is working really well for us.
Personally, I prefer physical boards for tracking work as there is something real (and thus more satisfying) about moving tasks through your workflow.
But physical boards have obvious drawbacks like not being viable for distributed teams.
How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?
I graduated with a degree in computer engineering. My course was a sandwich degree and my placement - Avco Systems - sponsored me through my final year and offered me a job on graduation.
After that I worked for a larger internal development team at Totaljobs where I learned a lot about agile delivery and grew to become a dev manager in charge of around 16 teams.
Eventually, I wanted to take what I had learnt and do it in a setup where I could have more say and control on a product that I really care about, now here I am at Resident Advisor!
It's early days and I'm loving every minute of it so it's hard to see further ahead from here.
Which brands do you think are doing digital well?
The Guardian are great. Being traditionally print I feel like they've have had to come from behind thus making their achievement even more impressive.
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?
I tend to find that the best people in the industry have a genuine interest in what they do.
The best developers eat, live and breathe development and I think the same can be true of all digital disciplines.
For example, marketing and sales people are so much more effective when they truly believe in the product. Follow your interests and work hard.