Matthew Ryall / Principal Consultant

Summary

Experienced Chief Architect and Technical Team Leader in a variety of different companies. Experienced in leading the design, build and operational management of technical estates encompassing fully bespoke, in-house managed systems through to fully outsourced service components. Recently part of a leadership team tasked with guiding the formation of completely new, fully remote technical teams within a large corporation. Strong interest in organisational development, strategy and cultural and human factors in technology teams and business.

Technical working knowledge of the design, build and ongoing management on-premises, hybrid, cloud-first, event-driven and serverless architectures. Experienced in working closely with direct stakeholders in combination with user research teams to determine both the articulated and unarticulated user needs that define a system or service.

Experienced in the introduction and facilitation of continuous delivery techniques including build and ongoing management of software delivery pipelines. Extensive background in working with software teams to determine appropriate continuous integration practices, automated testing practices and methods of software documentation.

Technical Skill Set

A reduced list of some of my most recently used technical tools.

Programming Languages + Runtimes JavaScript / TypeScript + Node.JS Java / Kotlin / Clojure + JVM Perl Shell PHP Go HTML/CSS
Development Tools Git + Forges Jenkins CircleCI Honeycomb.io Datadog
Cloud Platforms AWS GCP
Cloud Services EC2, Lambda, ECS RDS, Aurora S3, Glacier CodePipeline, CodeBuild CloudWatch, CloudFormation VPC IAM, KMS
Databases PostgreSQL MySQL/MariaDB DynamoDB
Operating Systems GNU/Linux MacOS
Personal Toolset Emacs + Emacs Lisp Org Mode Hugo OmniGraffle, Draw.io PlantUML Miro

Strategic and Organisational Skill Set

Team Building and Management

  • Technical team organisation and development
  • Remote team setup and organisation
  • Recruitment and team building for particular team goals and activities (i.e. people, skills and attitudes for appropriate contexts)
  • Mentoring and coaching of junior co-workers
  • Creation and delivery of technical training sessions and courses

Strategic Planning

  • Strategic mapping and planning techniques (e.g. Wardley Mapping, Cynefin etc.)
  • Collaborative system architecture development and documentation
  • System architecture review and retrospective documentation
  • Ongoing technical communication

Team Processes and Practices

  • Facilitation of agile and lean processes
  • Workflow and WIP visualisation techniques
  • Remote collaboration and effective remote tooling
  • Continuous delivery techniques and technologies
  • Facilitation of security-focused team practices
  • Experience with legal issues around personal data collection (GDPR etc.)
  • Creation of open source software policies

Attitude / Approach

  • Strong belief that technical and business strategy are a single activity
  • Believe that understanding the current state of an organisation, team or technical system is of overriding importance when affecting change
  • Advocate a strongly user-needs led approach to technology and service systems
  • Believe that architectural styles, technology choices, languages, frameworks and tools are context-dependent and the correct choice is a product of a particular group at a particular time
  • Advocate for seeing change as a constant factor in technical systems and the management of change as a key capability within technical teams
  • Strong advocate for web technologies and web standards
  • Advocate for the strategic use of open approaches (open source software licensing, creative commons) and community participation.

Experience

Mexico86 - Principal Consultant / September 2016 - Present

LVMH Digital - Creation of a New Software Development Function

In this long term engagement with the French global fashion corporation we put together a new in-house software development function to support the global operations of the 70+ Maisons within the group. The multiple cross-functional teams are strongly user-needs driven and put together with a culture of technical ownership and full autonomy in mind. The teams have had success in a number of areas including chatbot development, Clienteling and operational business management tools and have deployed software to support activities across the globe. Varied systems include event-driven serverless AWS, container-based cloud deployments and integrations between cloud-based software and on-premise legacy retail systems.

Sheffield Hallam University - Research Group Communication

In this short project a research group we helped in the creation and organisation of a communication hub including a blog, mailing list and dynamic visualisation of group skills. The overriding need is for the system to be simple and self-managed by a non-technical group. A static publishing system was built using Netlify as a hosting platform and JAMStack technologies Hugo and NetlifyCMS with custom data integration and visualisation using a serverless AWS backend and D3.js.

The Developer Academy - Training Course Design and Delivery

In this ongoing engagement we are working in partnership with the The Developer Academy to design, develop and deliver training courses for the next generation of developers.

The Net-a-Porter Group / March 2002 - September 2016

Chief Technical Architect

Led the growth and development of the technical e-commerce, retail management and operations systems over a period of fifteen years. Responsible for the development and operations teams for an initial period of six years before focusing on the software development teams and global system architecture. This period saw the company growing from tiny beginnings in a Chelsea art studio to a global phenomenon with offices in three continents and customers across the world.

This long period of employment encompassed many technologies and strategies including a move from proprietary UNIX to Linux, from on-premise servers to public cloud, Perl and Java systems to JavaScript via Node.js, multiple database technologies both proprietary and open source and countless third-party vendors. Working in this environment gave me an excellent appreciation of the constant change in the technology landscape.

Many of the groups achievements and milestones were aided a by a very supportive and open company culture which was explicitly fostered from the early days and consciously tended over time.