Director of Engineering

Basecamp

Remote - Anywhere
Description

We're hiring a director of engineering to manage our product, infrastructure, and testing teams at Basecamp. You will start the year with four team leads reporting to you, and probably end it with seven or eight, as we expand with new teams. We're accepting applications over the next two weeks, and seek to have our pick start before the end of March.


About the job
Basecamp's programming teams consist of 5-6 programmers, including the team lead. The leads split their time between working on their own projects, managing the members of their team, hiring new coworkers, and coordinating with other teams. It's a lot, and we'd like to lighten the burden by hiring a director who can take on some of the managing, some of the hiring, some of the coordination, and provide a single line reporting to the CTO.

After years of exclusive focus on developing Basecamp, we're now also working on our new email service HEY, and have lots of exciting future plans to pursue. Our programming staff is already bigger than it ever was, and we intend to double it again over the coming 12-18 months. This will surely require some new practices and revisiting some old ones. You'll help us do that.

Our development methodology is Shape Up, and all our products are built using Ruby on Rails. We're eager to share our software, our ideas, and our lessons with the world. You'll help us balance pushing the products forward, treating our long legacy of software services with care, and contributing to the state of the art in the industry. The Basecamp we're becoming should be more capable, but also endowed with the slack needed to run calm and collected.

Here are some of the things you might work on:

  • Review how we can minimize testing bottlenecks at the end of the Shape Up cycle together with the team lead. Should we run staggered cycles as we add more teams? Bring on more contractors for the spiky times? Something third?
  • Help a team trade concessions to ensure we hammer the scope of a new feature enough to fit within the six-week cycle. Develop the intellectual muscles and confidence for new programmers to propose scope changes that provide better bargains.
  • Oversee the hiring process as we seek to add another 12-15 programmers in 2022. Ensure we continue to attract a broad set of candidates, run a fair and transparent process, and involve team leads primarily to spend their time evaluating competence and fit, not the process.
  • Help prioritize a batch of bug fixes to fit a three-week slot in the upcoming cycle. Work with support and testing to ensure we fix the most important issues rather than just what's at the top of the list.
  • Assist a team lead in running a performance improvement plan for a coworker who's struggling to meet expectations.
  • Help us think through when we might want to split off security as its own team and function. Setup that team and expectations when/if we do.
  • Organize the work to ensure that our continuous integration process consistently runs in less than 4 minutes. Track when we fail our own goals, find out what needs to be done to fix it.

This job demands a career of deep technical expertise, so you can engage with our team leads on the specifics and weigh the trade offs with proficiency. But the day-to-day work is focused on people over code. The broad technical and architectural direction is set by our CTO.

What we're not looking for is someone to pester people for status updates to aggregate up the chain. You succeed in this job when the team leads experience that they're spending more of their time programming, assisting their reports with their programming, and enjoy better processes and stronger long-term thinking.


About you
We're looking for someone who's worked at a larger organization as a manager of managers before. Someone who'v seen the challenges of growing a company, so that they can help us grow the company from 60 to 120 people over the next 12-18 months based on experience.

You should be an experienced programmer yourself, and it's a definite plus if you've worked with Ruby on Rails before. It's a requirement that you've worked in a software as a service business. It's not so important whether it's been consumer or business.

You’re a good writer. The bulk of our work is written, from the code and interfaces we design, to the pull request discussions and long-form proposals we make.

Basecamp is a remote-first company, and this is a remote job. We’re hiring from anywhere that can maintain 4 hours overlap with the US-Central Time zone during a normal working day. This might mean a 11:00-19:00 schedule from Europe, but we’re not hiring from locations that require a graveyard shift to make the overlap happen.

We respect everyone's right to participate in political expression and activism, but avoid having political debates on our internal communication systems. Basecamp as a company also does not weigh in on politics publicly, outside of topics directly related to our business. You should be at peace with both of these stances.


Pay and benefits
Basecamp pays in the top 10% of the industry based on San Francisco rates. Same position, same pay, no matter where you live. The salary for this position is $324,450. Plus, with two years under your belt, you’ll participate in our profit-sharing program.


Our benefits support a life well-lived away from work. Ample time off and all the resources you need to support you in doing the best work of your career. Here's more on the benefits we offer.

Applicants from outside of the US will be offered a contractor role on comparable terms and equal pay with our domestic employees.


How to apply
Please submit an application that speaks directly to this position. Tell us about yourself, about what you can bring to Basecamp, and about Basecamp’s role in your future. Tell us about something you’ve done, something that’s relevant to the kind of work we do, something that excites you. Be descriptive, but don’t feel the need to write a novel — 800 words or so should be plenty.

We’re accepting applications until January 19, 2022, at 7PM US-Central time. There’s no benefit to filing early, so take your time. We expect to take a few weeks to review all applications. You’ll hear from us by early February about advancement to the second round. We aim to make an offer by early March with a start date later that month. (Please note that we’re unable to offer individual feedback during the screening process.)

We look forward to hearing from you!