This week marks a major reshuffling of the Ephox engineering team. Announced by Andrew Roberts (our CEO) the day before Easter, he has posted some of his thoughts (although hasn’t yet continued his discussion). The long and short of it is that we’re shifting two of our senior engineers out of the engineering team and into product management in an effort to better direct our resources.
Rob, who we hired in January to bolster the level of senior experience in our team, will be moving to EditLive! product management. This is our core business so he now has a very important role – but one that he has time to ease into with the next release or two already planned out. He just posted the third of his monthly braindumps and notes with some irony that in a job he took to get back into programming, after only 1 month of actual coding he’s moving into a managerial role.
AJ, resident codebase god at Ephox, will now be the integrations product manager with a heavy community focus (I don’t think we’ve come up with actual titles yet). He has talked about not only what he plans to do with the role but also concerns about his relationship with the engineering team now that he won’t be doing any core product development. Hopefully his work will mean you hear about EditLive! in more places where you use an in-browser HTML editor.
Damien, our existing product manager, will finally be free to start preparing our Next Big Thing ™. He has been too busy with existing products to think about what we’re doing next, which was one of the driving factors behind the idea to shift those tasks elsewhere.
These changes are going to have a huge effect on me. I am now the developer with the most codebase knowledge; making me the go-to man for codebase questions, feature arguments and generally being an EditLive! guru. Luckily, I started training myself for this months ago.
I can’t remember exactly when AJ announced he would be moving to England (I can’t even find a mention on his blog other than in a post about wedding photography), but I can clearly remember my reaction. Whether Ephox starts a European office or not, there was absolutely no question that AJ would be leaving EditLive! development. At the time I was still settling into the shoes of our other codebase guru who left to pursue game development, and realised that my goals had just shifted to not only be a codebase guru, but the codebase guru.
I immediately redoubled my efforts to steadily build codebase knowledge, and with plenty of time before AJ leaves we decided to start phasing him out of development over the course of 2007. For a long time now I’ve been trying to solve problems on my own before asking him for help, and when I am forced to ask I take mental notes for future reference. All this turned out to be a fantastic idea because he’s just been disconnected completely which has accelerated our plans by at least 6 months 🙂
It’s going to be a huge challenge for me, but I’m absolutely ready. I may have a different style to AJ and lack some of the tricky Java knowledge he’s picked up, but I learn fast and have very few areas of the code left to get my head around. At least this way he’s still sitting across the room while I settle into the role instead of in another timezone 😀