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Engineering Manager/Director - Element Web

Closing date
23 Feb 2021

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Technology & New Media
Contract Type
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Job Details

Who We AreElement 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 RoleReporting to the Head of Engineering Management you will lead and provide engineering management support to the web engineering function at Element. Your engineers will operate across multiple cross functional teams, charged with the development and maintenance of the Element webapp and Electron build.

More concretely you will -
  • Take responsibility for the overall effectiveness of web engineering at Element.
  • Shape and communicate the technical strategy for the web function.
  • 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 20-30% 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.

The team operates remotely and is made up of six engineers. We have aggressive hiring plans in 2021 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 provides a window into the core team and the community. Come and say hi!

  • 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. It is likely that you have worked as engineer with web technologies in the past, though you must feel comfortable knowing your greatest impact won't be as a technical contributor.
  • 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 don't believe there's only one right way to get work done.
  • You have worked as a web developer in the past, experience with React and Typescript would be a plus but is not essential.
  • 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 havesIt 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 base 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 to Neil (@neilj via https //

BenefitsOur 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.
  • 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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