Tuesday, 14 February 2012

My Professional Software Engineering Background...Part 2

Latest update 2020 - CLICK HERE to read my reflections on the 20 years of working, then read below for details of achievements.

Okay, as promised in an earlier part one post, I will attempt to describe my work experience:
    Products & Projects first 20 Years building Video Platforms

    Bio from 2015 - Outdated - Since then became a CTO / IT Executive


    Where in the world am I? (Wrote this in 2012)

    If you've read my other posts you know the reasons why I left UK for South Africa. I spent the bulk of my career in Europe (10 years) learning Software/Systems Engineering. I climbed the ranks from Engineer to Manager, working with great companies (S3, NDS/Cisco/Synamedia), where I've come to love and appreciate first-class software engineering principles. I'm started as electronic engineering graduate with a major in Software Engineering, switched to Computer Science by completing my Masters at University College Dublin, Ireland where I specialised in Distributed Web Search Engines research that employed knowledge-intelligence-based-algorithms for improving Ads Revenue. However the main industry I've spent ~20 years covers the full breadth of Digital TV systems: Broadcast & Internet, consumer devices, frontend applications & backend distributed systems, less so on the transmission engineering side, purely software development (and some STB hardware as well).

    I now work with a really interesting and exciting company - a PayTV Operator, far from being a pukka Software-house that I was used to, Multichoice, Africa's own crown jewels of the PayTV industry. Enjoying the majority of the market-share, Multichoice offers a variety of products, some quite innovative and unlike any other (even when compared to UK), for example: MCA was the second PayTV operator in the world, before BSkyB, SD PVRs world first DualView, DStv Walka, DStv Drifta, and more recently OTT services DStv Now and Showmax.

    I joined Multichoice as a permanent employee to help deliver their latest offering Set Top Box, the DStv Explora. Starting off as a Project-Manager-cum-Scrum-Master primarily facilitating the development of a Java Application with a team of 25+ people;  I was promoted to a senior position just after five months where I set strategy & streamlined Architecture, Development, Integration & Project Management processes across the department, taking over End-to-End Programme Management for the entire system delivery.

    In the Project Manager role it quickly became evident that, I add more value to the high level management of various programmes as well as drive through organisational changes - I work closely with senior management including the CTO/CEO, interfacing with Group CEOs on the progress of key projects. I'm also not one that keeps quiet, sticking with the status-quo, so I had succeeded in influencing key management folks and gained both the trust and respect of the CTO. DStv Explora launched successfully throughout Africa in 2013.

    Having launched Explora, I decided it was time to venture out on my own - leaving the comfort of permanent employment and thus seek new challenges in being an all-round Software/Systems Management Consultant. I worked through a consulting house TPI-Africa consulting engaging with Multichoice as the primary client, as well as tried to set up my own consulting company, AS3 Africa Systems & Software Services. I offered a variety of general management services, T-shaped skills, around Software & Systems Development Management, Systems Integration Management, Programme Management & Change Management as well as Operational Process Improvements including Lean/Agile Operational & Business transformation. I did this gig for four years before joining Multichoice again in 2018 as a permanent employee, as CTO/Head of Technology for OTT product engineering.

    Public mentions of projects I helped deliver:
    DStv launches 4K Decoder and OTT Streama Device

    Job #12: Leave TV Technology and find a job in Cloud Computing 2021-Beyond

    In 2020 I decided that I can't spend my whole professional life just working in Video/TV products. I plan to jump on to a new domain to see the rest of my career through. I have identified Cloud Computing as the place to be to stop me from becoming a dinosaur, remain relevant. Personally I think the Video Entertainment space has become overcrowded and a commodity technology. I want to go back to innovation and work in a pure engineering organisation.

    Job #11: CTO/Head of Technology at Multichoice Connected Video (April 2017 - Present)
    Key Competencies: Technology Leadership & Transformation, People management, OTT Video Services

    Details of Note
    DStv Now breaks new streaming record in 2019 Rugby World Cup Finals
    DStv Now wins best media app for second time in Ghana
    Multichoice demonstrates Africa-first 4K streaming OTT for FIFA2018 world cup
    DStv Now launch on Smart TVs & XBox (Samsung, LG, Hisense. XBox)
    DStv Now released on Apple TV

    Hired primarily to help turnaround a distressed engineering team that lacked: technical leadership, structure, process, discipline, dysfunctional teams, unstable platform, visionary leadership and a clear technology roadmap, objectives and clear KPIs/OKRs.

    Ended up restructuring the unit, focused on simple incremental improvements to people and process and in a short space of time built enough credibility back into the engineering team: platform stability improved, delivery projects completed on time, people alignment, business stakeholder confidence renewed (scaled platform ~3X and still growing).

    Decided to leave consulting and join as permanent employee because of the CTO challenges that lay ahead, the journey was only just starting (and I needed to see it through)
    Focused on transforming and building future technology platform in the world of digital connected video for Africa.

    Currently reporting to CEO, leading team of 100+ permanent and outsourced people building online video platform serving Web, iOS, Android, tvOS, Android TV, Smart TVs (LG, Samsung, HiSense), XBox, Connected STBs.

    Managing Multiple lines of Technology, transforming to DevOps: Enterprise Architecture, Full Stack Software Delivery, BigData AI/ML Specialists Personalisation / Recommendations & Intelligence/Telemetry, Agile PMO, Infrastructure & Networking (Multi Datacentre hosting, Cloud AWS & Azure+ Multi-CDN) and Technical Operations/Monitoring & 3rd Party Integrations

    Helping lead, transform, build and grow awesome world-class engineering teams (100+ people).
    Responsible for a big budget, leading multi-faceted teams: Managing Multiple lines of Technology, transforming to DevOps: Enterprise Architecture, Full Stack Software Delivery, BigData AI/ML Specialists Personalisation / Recommendations & Intelligence/Telemetry, Agile PMO, Infrastructure & Networking (Multi Datacentre hosting, Cloud AWS & Azure+ Multi-CDN) and Technical Operations/Monitoring & 3rd Party Integrations.

    Here's a list of achievements for the CV:
    • Inherited technology stack with weak foundational architecture, massive technical debt causing instability
    • Successfully turned around a previously distressed, dysfunctional group, bringing clarity of focus & team cohesion
    • Redesigned the organisational structure & technical platform strategy aligned to future business growth
    • Introduced new leadership roles, set the vision, mission & objectives for the division thus bringing order to chaos
    • Improved relationships and working agreements with core customers by agreeing SLAs & metrics for performance
    • Improved platform availability from 97-98% (7-10 days yearly outage) to 99.8-99.9% (8.76-17 hours)
    • Scaled the platform to 10X+ on monthly active users, total active users
    • Increased engagement at least 2X year-on-year
    • Increased network throughput 10X breaking internet streaming records for Africa, up to 800Gbps on one event
    • Expanded application device footprint 4X (introduced smart tvs, game consoles, new set top boxes, IP-only STB)
    • Enhanced project and release management processes, ways-of-working improved resulting in on-time completion of projects
    • Transitioned teams from textbook agile scrum methods to more fluid, generalised project execution tracks improving flexibility
    • Introduced Google’s Software Engineer in Testing capability, driving automation & completely removed manual testing
    • Instilled a sense-of-ownership and accountability for monitoring operations by upskilling & training programs
    • Celebrated people by winning group-worldwide recognition awards: Innovation in AI/ML, Test automation & App development
    • Improved overall people engagement of division scoring highest management metric as measured by OfficeVibe tool
    • Created architectural platform vision for the new technology stack thus managing expectations of journey timelines
    • Delivered on key project & product roadmap items meeting business objectives for all fiscal years to date
    • Introduced new operational behaviours & mindset changes, dress rehearsals, large event preparation management processes
    • Introduced new SOPs albeit manual, that resulted in improving platform stability & uptime, reduction in incidents raised
    • Transformed software engineering processes to full stack, paving the way for DevSecOps, removing silos across teams
    • Enabled development of in-house platform monitoring and intelligent dashboard tools improving NOC, 24/7 & command centre
    • Enhanced testing coverage driving load, performance & scalability testing, automated on production during off-peak times
    • Closed security gaps in architecture/implementation that reduced risk of revenue leakage & subscription management
    • Catalysed change in thinking in managing total cost of ownership: buy versus build, partner more, improving focus
    • Steered group's transformation to cloud services, improving stability & uptime e.g. AWS S3/CloudFront, Lambda
    • Reduced costs by up to 70% on core infrastructure, saving group in the order of R100m over three years
    • Resolved legacy technology components and services by offloading, de-supporting and transferring to other divisions
    • Demonstrated cloud innovation in streaming by enabling Africa’s first 4K/UHD streams over Azure media services for FIFA’18
    • Scaled platform capability doubling YoY to 10X+ MAUs with 50%+ increased engagement meeting KPIs
    • Introduced cloud transformation journey roadmap of at least 3 years: multi-DC app hosting, microservices, containers to AWS 
    • Managed a large budget excess of $30m, operating largely within budget as well as delivering cost savings KPIs
    • Created technical & financial model for forecasting platform costs, introducing cost per user economics never seen before
    • Introduced multi-CDN partnering capabilities for redundancy, cost & improving risk management for disaster recovery scenarios
    • Reduced total cost of ownership by moving away from in-house built purpose systems to partnerships & leveraging cloud
    • Instigated enterprise technology transformation by optimising and transferring people/skills to other departments
    • Made difficult technology decisions that negatively impacted team morale but nevertheless maintained best business interests
    • Deftly & tactfully negotiated contracts resulting in better relationships, support plans & drove additional cost savings
    • Grew & improved relationships with vendors to be partner focused, thus enjoying symbiotic relationships than before
    • Turned around governance for both internal and external audits, resulting in Green report within 12 months of a red report
    • Improved monitoring & execution of antipiracy initiatives by developing tools that enabled quick takedowns of pirate streams
    • Shaped the strategic direction of technical platform consolidation, at the risk of disrupting the status quo
    • Key contributor to enterprise-wide governance & steering councils: Risk, Governance, Architecture, Procurement & Cloud
    • Drove cross-group consolidation of competencies, tools & technologies promoting reuse and improving synergies
    • Drove modern application development methods like feature flagging, A/B testing & application logging as well as common cross-platform application development framework on React.JS

    Job #10: Software & Systems Management Consultant (July 2013 - April 2018)
    Key Competencies: Enterprise Programme management, Software Product Development & Lifecycle Management, Systems Integration Management, Software & Project Quality Assurance, FOSS Policy Management, Risk Management, Continuous Delivery, Agile/Scrum Consulting, Rescuing failing Projects, Organisational Re-structuring, Career Path Planning, Kicking-off new Projects

    Details of Note
    DStv Explora wins Best Product Category Satellite Television Award in Africa
    DStv Explora wins Product of the Year in Zambia
    DStv Explora in South Africa's top twelve list as most beautiful design object
    Multichoice launches first ever connected services (Remote Recordings, Cloud VOD)

    Expert end-to-end project leadership, full responsibility for project execution, managing cross
    functional teams of large-scale programs (multiple teams, vendors, agents, 250+ people), across the 
    Complete transformation & overhaul Video-on-Demand Strategy, Product Engineering & Operations (Jan ’16 – Sep’17)
    Digital Self Service 2.0 – Deliver a step change in customer digital & operations, reduce call centre costs (Mar ’16 – Dec’16)
    Launch DStv Explora from product inception, launch & release updates & Africa expansion (June’11 – Sep’15)
    Build a Start-up Business & Launch Showmax Netflix Competitor (Aug ’15) (Start-Up to Product Launch – BizTech streams)
    Deliver Agile coaching sessions, Mentor managers, coach PMO members, provide general advisory to PMO & Strategy

    Job #9: Manager: Decoder Strategic Planning - Multichoice  (Dec 2011 - July 2013)
    Key Competencies: People/Programme management, Software Product Development & Lifecycle Management, Systems Integration Management, Software & Project Quality Assurance, FOSS Policy Management, Risk Management, Continuous Delivery

    DStv Explora Team Video 

    I was essentially End-to-End/Enterprise Programme Manager, focused on Organisational and Project roles:
    • Organisational - Manager: Decoder Strategic Planning:
      • Manage through to completion Primary Project Delivery
      • Plan follow-on Project phases
      • Influence strategic direction of the business (from POCs to new technology provider relationships)
      • Consult on business/department process improvement initiatives (Development, SI, Test, Delivery, Product)
        • Implement software development best practices
        • Implement project & product management best practices
        • Influence and steer the group's FOSS (Free & Open Source Software) Policy
          • Member of Executive committee for FOSS decision making
          • Member of Process Improvement Steering Group
      • Change Agent – Department is far from being recognized as Software / Technology / Engineering house - I can help get the company to industry best practices
      • Coach/Mentor Team Leads & Other Managers
      • Personal Aims (Leverage Industry Best Practice):
        • NOT repeat same mistakes of previous projects in future projects!
        • Maintain a sense of realism in all initiatives
        • Help MultiChoice become an industry leader in DTV
        • Reduce the number of platforms to manage
    • Project - Overall SI Programme Manager (150+ people):
      • Own the High Level Planning (Collaborative)
        • Working through Technical Owners and Project Managers
        • Aligning all work-streams to ensure plans optimized for delivery timetable
      • Deliver (Basically Deliver or Die!)
      • Enterprise Programme Manager’s 2IC
      • Actively manage, monitor and track progress of all work-streams
      • Engaged in making decisions that affect the delivery
      • Ensuring all teams are focused, understand the priorities
      • Will get involved in the detail if work-streams are under performing
      • Interfacing with vendors on resolving Programme Issues
      • Promote close collaboration with all vendors internal & external
      • Provide truthful, honest feedback/updates to Senior Management
      • General Senior Programme Management tasks
        • Risk Management
        • Communications Management
        • Delivery Planning
        • Issues Escalation
        • Decision Making
      • Work-streams being managed:
        • Product Specifications (Parallel Stream)
        • Product / System / Component Architecture
          • Architecture & SI cannot separated, they go hand-in-hand
        • STB EPG Development
        • Interactive Applications Development
        • Middleware Development
        • STB System Integration
        • Headend System Integration
        • VOD Development/Operations/Integration
        • End-to-End SI Integration
        • Audience Measurement Development/Integration
        • Backend Services Integration

    Job #8: Project Manager - Multichoice (South Africa) (June 2011 - Dec 2011)
    Key Competencies: People/Project management, Agile/Scrum Master, Software Product Lifecycle Development, Accessibility

    I wrote this back in July 2011 when I first started:
    • STB EPG Product development: Scrum Master - acting as a Scrum master, together with a peer Scrum Master in managing a development team of 30 engineers in bringing a next-generation UI to market. Under aggressive timescales aiming to be a leader in Africa, the role involves improving the current development / planning / management / control processes to the next level; introducing metrics and goal-driven development, better estimation and improving the overall development methodology including full stack system integration. The project has its own unique challenges which I'll blog as appropriate, but my past experience with not only developing EPGs but also managing the development of Middleware & EPGs in NDS will put me in good stead in this role...
    • Proof-of-concept (POCs) Projects: MCA has an interesting and exciting roadmap ahead. Much of the innovation is driven from within MCA itself, and then request for tendors are sent to suppliers for formally rolling into the product line. With quite a generous budget, I will aid the development of POCs. A multifaceted role not limited to project management, but also customer and relationship management, as well as reporting senior management of MCA (CTO level). I was really excited about this role initially, but I find myself challenging much of the existing processes, which isn't necessarily the best thing to do when new to the role, I can't help if it's my nature to comment...
    • Steering Process Improvements: With my strong development experience from NDS and S3, I am expected to leverage some of this experience and improve the existing development processes, including improving process quality across the departments. One such activity in progress is the role of Systems Integration, Open Source Code management, improving Software security...
    • Managing the automation programme - Like other major broadcasters in the world, MCA has licenced the StormTest product from S3. 
    • Accessibility projects: This should come as no surprise, I am still pursuing my interest in Accessibility projects, which I think is particularly relevant for Africa...

    This is what I actually accomplished by November 2011:
    • Improved the UI project management / Scrum processes. Identified holes in processes and have converted the team to working differently (Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Whiteboard)
    • Refocused UI team and created strategic partitioning to focus on SI, Application SI, E2E testing
    • Influenced the SW development processes: Unit Testing,  Release notes, Version numbering, Branch/Release process, Parallel streams of Development
    • Refocused software estimation techniques.
    • Challenged project processes & SI processes - to the point the business accepted most, if not all my recommendations.
    • Catalyst for instigating change in Vendor support/management.
    • Steered the Programme structure and help re-shaped the project structures - and influenced how the vendors improve their own internal development/integration processes.
    • Communicated clearly at all levels and can handled technical & organisational conversational topics with the likes of CTOs & CEOs with ease.
    • Demonstrated professionalism at breadth and depth of experience
    • Influenced and got approved an architectural structure for the department, including technical owners, a first for the company
    • Delivered successfully on the automation programme. There was a lack of focus and leadership that I couldn't bear to see left unmanaged and voluntarily led the effort - cutting our losses previous loss leading investments.
    • Managed third party consultants with ease and professionalism 
    • Mentored SI-QA Validation Manager introducing new concepts for test reports, metrics and communicating information
    • Advised the same process improvements on SI Project Manager
    • Mentored and coached Indian contractors, re-shaping roles and promoting opportunity for growth 
    • Gained the trust and approval of  Global Senior Programme Manager, well respected in the company as a brilliant Programme Manager
    • Innovated on few topics - introduced department Blog, small enablers: Umbrellas, Fruit Bowl for meeting rooms, Video Conferencing to work, Whiteboards for desks, Taught people to use Excel Pivot tables
    • People sought my for advice/consultancy: 
      • Scrum Master - hadn't ran projects of this depth before - typical agile projects are 3-4 month duration, STB projects are 3-4 years on average.  He also hasn't worked with Indian teams before, so we spent a good few conversations about how to improve things, what to look out for when managing an off-shore / Indian teams
      • Product Owner - on Scrum principles and Product Owners / Backlog, UX and UX documentation.
      • Field Trial Manager - on field trial strategy and department structures
      • QA Manager - on how to improve QA reporting and managing priorities
      • QA Test Lead - on how to react to changes in software projects and how best to test, plan and analysis
      • Aspiring Engineers - on architecture, business priorities and the role of automation
      • Senior Management Dept Head - on how things are done in BSkyB & elsewhere, including acting as a soundboard for ideas and organisational changes
      • Consultants - coaching on automation strategy, framework expectations, etc.
      • Architects - on 3D TV and other high level architecture stuff, like Recommendations

    Job #7: Principal Engineer/Technical Project Manager - NDS New Initiatives (April 2011 - May 2011)
    Key Competencies: C coding, Flash/ActionScript, CMake build scripts, Skype/GStreamer/PulseAudio integration, Text-to-Speech, UI Usability, Application Development, System Integration, Presenting Demos
    The New Initiatives department of NDS focuses on new technologies, possibly disruptive, and not always limited to the broadcasting industry. Managed in a start-up style environment, offering autonomy and trust to its senior engineers, NI was a long sought desire of mine.  Although there were parallel developments in my personal life in SA, I could not miss out on the opportunity to work in NI, where I could explore technologies and manage projects at the same time getting my hands dirty coding, as well as engaging in new relationships with technology companies - it was almost a dream come true.  Alas it was a dream short-lived, but I did get my part in NI, a small team of 50 people across a company of 5000 employees.  If ever I find myself in UK or even Silicon Valley one day, then I'll take the job again without the blink of an eye!

    In the short time at NI, I'd taken my Speaking EPG project and integrated it with another major accessibility project, bringing the latest version of Flite's Text-to-Speech (TTS) system. This culminated in a demo at the department road-show, where I compared our system against the deployed Amazon Kindle, showing that STBs not only have the capability of doing TTS, but using an open source engine like Flite, could provide an even better experience than what's currently released on the Kindle!

    Job #6: Senior Project Manager - NDS - Fusion STB Product Development (January 2008 - April 2011)
    Key Competencies: Multi-site, Distributed Large-scale Project Management, Agile/Incremental Development, Software Development Processes, Process Automation, People/Project Management

    Fusion™ Product Operations Manager, May 2010 – May 2011
    NDS MediaHighway Fusion™ Middleware Product is a consumer device set-top-box operating system supporting a variety of feature profiles from low-end Zappers to high-end personalised, networked DVRs. With a worldwide deployment to 80+ million user’s homes, the Fusion Product Operations group is responsible for managing the strategy and roadmap for Advanced Feature development, whilst maintaining customer project deliveries ensuring a consistent product is maintained on a single code tree, supporting multiple customers, 700 people work on this product world-wide.

    Role & Responsibilities included:

    • Working with Senior Account Managers in defining the shape, framework & strategy for new development programs, managing multiple projects focussed on advanced features.
    • Owning the program for complete user experience offering a fully integrated STB application suite comprised of NDS products, working with project managers from other functional groups distributed globally (India, Israel, France & UK).
    • Managing Product Quality Assurance: Ensure project management, development processes and testing teams adopt Fusion best practices. This requires clear communication, building effective relationships & maintaining diplomacy between the regions.
    Details of Note: 

    • Kicked-off strategic projects with a view of dominating the Middleware market share, offering enhanced features, bleeding edge application development using Flash
    • Supported creation and development of off-site application team in India, managing and coaching individuals where required
    • Owned the Product Backlog for Strategic projects, working with core product development on feature deliveries & merging
    • Influenced architecture design and decision making processes due to complex nature of some strategic projects
    • Managed the development, test & integration streams of strategic projects with the aim of merging back to mainline product development
    • Instigated work breakdown of significant work packages for planning feature upgrades, some enterprise wide planning, e.g. roll-out of IPv6

    Fusion™ BSkyB Development Owner Middleware, Jan 2008 – May 2010
    This team was centred around completing the development of NDS MediaHighway Fusion™ in the context of a customer, BSkyB, to roll-out their advanced HD PVR Anytime+ service in 2010. A high profile, very visible and complex project, with 300+ people across NDS worldwide, a further 200+ people from the customer as well as third party vendors. Reporting directly to the VP and Account Owner, I was responsible for the management, planning and tracking of the middleware program, 80+ software components distributed globally to a development team of 200 people (2 sites in UK, France, Israel, India) as well as interfacing with the client (UK) and third party vendors (UK, Poland, Denmark, India) for integration management.  

    Summary of Achievements:

    NDS Powers BSkyB VOD Anytime+

    • Transitioned into the role in a very short period of time, taking over from the two previous project managers; gaining the trust from Senior Management to effectively run (plan, track, manage issues) the Middleware programme with little intervention.
    • Built good relationships with development engineers and managers across the globe which became useful during crucial periods of the project that demanded UK support from various regions, often in stressful atmosphere i.e. customer site.
    • Developed a reputation of someone who gets the job done – reliable & dependable, having delivered on many activities that wouldn’t usually fit in with the remit of a PM, for e.g. staying up till 1AM to set-up STBs for field trials, manually setting up workstations for one-roof-integration-teams as well as getting technical & hands-on with engineers in resolving critical issues.
    • Proposed new ideas for process improvements with a view of increasing the success of project delivery; these ideas were accepted by Senior Management, e.g. Persuaded VP to establish collaborative on-site test team with customer; dedicated customer hit squad team focused on resolving urgent issues resulting in customer satisfaction
    • Mastered the technical details to the level of representing the principal architect in customer meetings: defect reviews, negotiating issue severities & ownership.
    • Successfully delivered my objectives (exceeding expectations) of realising feature development complete, ready for delivery; handed over the project in the final stages of delivery to take on the next challenge.

    Details of Note:
    • Project planning and tracking (NDS in-house methodology of Agile/Waterfall mix). Iterative development and delivery with 6 week iterations, delivery to customer every 3 weeks.
    • Owned backlog for feature development and new work package requests from customer. Ensured iteration plans created, and communicated to customer. Managed the iteration on a daily basis as task tracking was crucial to the success of the project, ensuring minimal slippages in tasks, catering very little for slack.
    • Responsible for ensuring the release met stringent quality standards before delivery to customer
    • Chaired a variety of project meetings:
      • 9AM Daily Top Issues call including the customer and suppliers (manufacturers and chip-set vendors). Ensured top issues were progressed in a timely manner and escalated to business as required, often making on-the-spot decisions as required.
      • Chaired Iteration Planning & Work status meetings in managing iteration plan
      • Twice weekly regressions meeting. All tests that failed due to recent component deliveries either need to be backed out or fixed. Assigned regressions to owners and ensured issues were fixed in a timely manner.
    • Took ownership of key hot issues often requiring collaboration on-site “One Roof Integration Team”
    • Reported progress of planning, tasks, key issues to NDS as well as primary customer
    • Defect Management – daily and weekly defect examination of internal as well as customer-raised defects. Hard defect targets of zero Showstopper & Major defects.
    • Generated weekly defect metrics and prediction tool to assess the trends of defects and quality of the product & predictions based against original target deadlines
    • Managed the delivery of all component documentation (Requirements, design, API docs, test mapping, etc.)
    • Managed a group of architects ensuring tasks were well understood in advance of the iteration, ensuring development teams were in position to start work on day one of iteration
    • Managed customer feature change requests reporting impact on original plan. Change requests (CRs) were sub-projects themselves which I owned and included in overall Middleware delivery project (Over 20, ranging from free to £300k were managed by me)
    • Set-up an end-to-end system for field trials
    • Customer-facing duties were:
      • Communicating project plan and reporting progress of our plans
      • Reporting progress on key issues, often providing actions back to customer
      • Reviewing incoming defects with customer ensuring correct severities and priorities are assigned
      • Collaborating with setting up business processes that ensured streamline operation between two parties
      • Chaired meetings with third parties when key issues demanded NDS act as facilitator
      • Represented NDS on planning meetings when required
      • Acted as customer PM when customer PM on holiday
    • Worked closely with customer PMs to understand overall end-to-end delivery plan, and escalated/reported issues as required
    • Created and Maintained project processes and documentation (e.g. Defect process)
    • Worked closely with System Integration ensuring that development teams were across the key system issues
    • Managed cross-development efforts with EPG teams

    Job #5: Headend Development Project Manager - NDS (June 2006 - January 2008)

    Key Competencies: C++, Unix, Server Side Programming, Broadcast Components, Project Management, Software Product Maintenance, Support, Commission, De-commissioning, Systems Integration & Delivery, Accessibility & Speech Synthesis

    HeadEnd Applications is a suite of systems products that implement the broadcast scheduling, content multiplexing and delivery and integration with third party billing, interactive and content management systems. These systems are highly available, and distributed across the network, sometimes geographically dispersed,  fault tolerant and reliable systems expected to work continuously. Key customers include BSkyB, DirecTV, Sky Italia, Sky NZ, Foxtel, TataSky, Premiere, KBW & CableVision. Managed projects supported by a team of 9+ senior engineers.

    NDS Replaces KBW Nagra CA
    NDS Researching Accessible TV Guides 

    Summary of Achievements:

    • Managed the planning, scheduling, including resource allocation & development of product releases for multiple simultaneous customer delivery projects. Consistently delivered on schedule with minimal issues.
    • Built good relationships with delivery organisation in India, UK and Israel who served as the customer.
    • Managed the product features roadmap (with support from Group Manager who owned the products) including product de-support from notification, upgrade and de-commission.
    • Achieved ESCROW compliance for components owned
    • Developed proof-of-concept Talking EPG in spare time using advanced Middleware

    Details of Note:
    • Managed the timely delivery of headend components, viz. XSG, SIG, IDG, iStreamer, PFG, PSG, PVG, SDP and SNMP subagent; often producing releases that satisfied more than one customer.
    • Managed a team of six development engineers including two principal engineers; and 3 QC engineers; including following up deliverables from architects.
    • Chaired project meetings: Weekly progress meetings on all projects; bi-weekly product status meetings to cover issues and future work across all products.
    • Reported progress at weekly meetings with customers to cover issues and commitments.  
    • Chaired review meetings for requirements and release definitions.
    • Created and maintained Project Plan (e.g. gather estimates and plan out the work); including specifying work packages/tasks.
    • Adopted development methodologies to suit deliveries at hand, e.g. Agile and Waterfall.
    • Assigned development and QC resources to projects, particularly the juggling of limited QC resource).
    • Maintained Tarantula release schedule (timetable for releases).
    • Owned all commitments out of the groups.
    • Authorised releases through Tarantula, reviewed release definitions, release notes, test plans and test summary reports.
    • Liaised with other DPMs (e.g. monthly PM Forum)
    • Drove the requirements process (e.g. bi-weekly development / architect meetings)
    • Took lead on customer issues, particularly with regards to communicating status and commitments to programme managers, I&T and delivery.
    • Managed product de-support.
    • Primary influencer in getting customers to use new products, in line with local roadmap.
    • Supported group manager in process improvements, in producing group strategy, resource allocation plans and in production and maintenance of roadmap.

    Example Project Delivery Milestones
    PFG 2.5
    Customer was upgrading the headend and needed a consistent version of the product, fast delivery, required merge and consolidation of two codebases.
    SDP 2.4
    Viasat, Metro, SkyLife, SES-Americom, MOR, NDS-Korea
    Primarily to support MH Core boxes to enable large software download image sizes. Impacted STB delivery as bootloader team in Korea and security team in Israel depend on the software download tools maintained by the headend.
    SDP 2.5
    KBW, NDS-Korea
    KBW important customer for CA swapout. Further support for NDS-Korea loader team request for compression support in software download.
    XSG 1.23
    Very important in getting headend ready to enable STB development team. High profile project in BSkyB known as Orchid project.
    iStreamer 6.0
    To support DTV's A3 project.
    IDG 4.13
    Important customer for headend and stb projects. For headend, first big customer to use the new ITVMS system.

    Job #4: Senior Engineer - NDS (August 2004 - June 2006)

    Key Competencies: Expert C/C++, MFC, DirectShow Programming, TCP / IP / UDP, Video Streaming, Encryption, VOD, Windows System Programming, Memory Management, Resiliency & Redundancy, System Installation, Configuration & Integration, Streaming Frameworks Design

    Stream Content group was the pioneer of NDS's broadband (IPTV) headend, Synamedia. Key products are VOD pre-encryption (XTV Encryptor) and IP-Streaming (Streamshaper) and Network PVR. Primary focus is on content protection and distribution. The systems are real-time, highly available and fault tolerant systems – making up the major for IP headend component for content distribution. Compared to Headend applications, the customer base for Synamedia is much smaller, due to IPTV being a new technology.

    Telecom Italia IPTV uses NDS VideoGuard
    NDS Synamedia Rollout to Softbank, Auna, etc.

    • Switched departments (STB to Headend), to further enhance work experience and professional profile – in Server-Side System Programming with C++.
    • Supported XTVE and Streamshaper by providing in-house test tools. These tools not only helped with on-site-troubleshooting, but also helped to improve integration turnaround.
    • Developed plug-ins that enhanced products demonstrated at R&D shows and exhibitions, in an effort to win new business.
    • Supported QC & system engineers  and customers with testing and on-site integration issues.
    • Catalyst in persuading team leader to allow code re-factoring and reshaping core base classes, including new designs; thus promoting software re-use and also to ease maintenance.
    • Presented new technologies (xSpace) at company exhibitions attended by Investment Analysts, thus promoting the image of the company.
    • Promoted to Senior Engineer after having taken ownership of XTV Encryptor, by extending the architecture and being the support-contact point.
    • Stimulated discussions on process improvements and code quality issues.
    • Assisted in streaming framework re-architecture of core base classes – providing a common core to support various applications.
    • Drafted requirements, influenced new streaming core design and instigated process improvement discussions.

    Job #3: XTV Embedded Engineer - NDS (United Kingdom) (January 2003 - August 2004)

    Key Competencies: Expert C embedded programming, NDS MediaHighway Core Middleware, API design, Recommendation Engines, Internet Search & Advertising, STP EPG Design & Implementation

    MMT was responsible for several STB projects for various customers, focussing on NDS Core (MediaHighway Core) EPG and Middleware development. Key customers included Sky LA (first NDS Core PVR) and DirecTV (Major win for first NDS Core).

    DirecTV replaces software with NDS Middleware
    • Hired to consolidate NDS Core XTV and Non-XTV - (Core 3 & Core 4) codebases. Presented plans and roadmap for development.
    • Supported development of the first NDS Core XTV EPG (LAJV XTV) launched in Latin America in 2004 (CQ fixes and enhancements).
    • DirecTV SUE1, SUE2 project – Involved from inception through to completion on the native SUE1 EPG, presently running in over 15 million STBs.
    • Defined APIs for the new DirecTV DSS Core, specified requirements and design - Member of API Design Authority.
    • Peer-reviewed code, steered development of common EPG components – active role on the DirecTV Middleware Core-EPG API Committee.
    • Implemented key DirecTV EPG components (e.g. Complex Guide Schedule Grid, GUI Manager, Favourites Manager, Service List Manager); EPG was successfully rolled out in May 2005, replacing over 4 million STBs of legacy software. This software was running in 20+ million STBs as of 2009.
    • Attended developer conferences; submitted papers: ideas for new products.

    Job #2: Software Engineer - Silicon & Software Systems (S3 - Ireland)  (May 2001 - October 2002)
    Key Competencies: Intermediate C embedded programming, OpenTV Middleware, S3 Test Harness, DVB/MPEG/DTT Specification, STB Software Architecture and Design

    S3, at the time was a PHILIPS COMPANY, is Europe’s leading design-services company specialising in Silicon, Software and Hardware design.

    Software Engineer, Digital Consumer Business Unit, Set-Top-Boxes
    S3 STBLite makes the news
    S3 STBLite Product Release
    S3 CoTestTV OpenTV Test Harness

    • Designed and Implemented a core component (MPEG PSI/DVB-SI Parser and Database Engine) adhering to stringent ISO/MPEG/DTV and UK D-Book specifications, for a light-weight Middleware “STBLite” aimed at Free-to-Air (Freeview) digital terrestrial set-top-boxes.
    • STBLite was successfully demonstrated at the IBC show held in September 2002. Product has now evolved to support MHEG, and Mobile-TV solutions.
    • Developed an OpenTV Test Harness for STB driver validation. Test suite proved useful in reducing integration time, consequently improving project estimation.
    • Managed purchase and maintenance of document database for international standards(ISO, DVB, ETSI).

    Job #1: Engineer-in-Training - UEC Technologies (South Africa) (March 2000 - May 2001)

    Key Competencies: C embedded programming, OpenTV Application Development, UI Graphics Design

    UEC, an ALTECH COMPANY, is an internationally recognised manufacturer, specialising in cutting-edge set-top-boxes. Visit http://www.uec.co.za

    Engineer-in-Training, R&D, Customer Development

    • Developed an advanced OpenTV-EN2 EPG with an international team based in USA, Netherlands and South Africa. Project was successful and is currently being used in Middle East, South Africa, Greece and China.
    • Consulted QC teams locally and internationally on integration issues.
    • Worked on-site at customer premises for support and integration.
    • Presented/designed advanced GUIs for next-generation EPGs to Marketing.

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