Development Practice Lead, Jobs, 1036

Development Practice Lead - London

Software Engineering
Ref: 1036 Date Posted: Friday 03 Feb 2023
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Ready to join one of the most successful fashion brands on the high street? Do you have a passion for fashion? Driven to achieve? United to win? If your answers are yes, we think you'll love it here on the Island…

From our first shop in the remains of a North London bombsite in the 1940s, to now over 250 stores across the UK, Ireland and internationally. We are known for our stylish, affordable fashion and we like to shout-it loud.

Our Island community is everything and we are stronger together. Every Islander counts in making fashion a force for good and we value individuality and difference. Exceptional people have made River Island a success for over 70 years. Together we will continue to do so in the years ahead.

We are one team. We are the difference. We are River Island

We are looking for someone to lead (foster, maintain and bring the energy to) a number of software engineering teams that themselves are led by tech leads, with Development Principals in support. The ideal person will have technical leadership experience of microservices on AWS, and strong servant leadership people management experience with a drive to flex and demonstrate those skills; fostering engineering communities, encouraging innovation, and ensuring we have effective ways of working.

Development Practice sits alongside other Practices such as Quality Engineering, Delivery, Architecture and InfoSec. You will interact with all Practices, ensuring a cohesive and unified approach to how we grow and get the best from our people, and delivering fantastic quality solutions.

What You Do Within The Development Practice Matters

If software were an ocean then each Practice is a flotilla, sailing towards a mutually agreed destination as a singular armada on a peace mission. We work together, docking at one island at a time en route to a Nirvana that is always just over the horizon. Along the way it's your job to ensure everyone is fit and happy with whatever is the right balance of growth, mastery, reward and autonomy they require to achieve and maintain highly performant teams:

  • Work with the architecture practice
  • Collaborate with peers to identify and implement continuous improvement opportunities across the whole organisation
  • Observe the estimation, planning and delivery of product teams, spotting issues and advising portfolio leads if corrective action is required, wherever that action needs to be taken
  • Coach practice members on hard and soft skills, as well as tooling and techniques needed to be as effective as possible in their role in a product team
  • Assist engineers, where required, to identify and resolve technical issues
  • Work with the Head of Development Practice (your line manager) to define and improve ways of working, standards and tools
  • Assist and advise portfolio leads with management of product team delivery capacity
  • Make recommendations on technical direction by maintaining awareness of industry trends
  • Responsible for hiring the right blend of developers across all the teams, and with tech leads, help Practice members achieve their full potential, through provision of guidance, assistance and recommendation of training programs

What You Won't Do

  • Have 1:1s with all developers within the teams you support. Your 1:1s are with tech leads who themselves have 1:1s with the members of the teams. Let the captains captain their own ships
  • Bring your ego. It's not about you, it's about the people you have working within the Practice, and encouraging them to be the best that they can be
  • Be expected to roll up your sleeves and code, but know that we will be in dire straits if and when that need were to arise

WE KNOW WHAT WE'RE DOING… and we know what experience we're looking for


  • Able to coach and develop teams and individuals to achieve excellent results
  • Minimum 5 years' experience in a software engineering people/team management role
  • Ability to work in a high pressure, deadline driven environment managing multiple priorities
  • Team player motivated by working outside their immediate team to deliver on common company goals.
  • Significant experience of people management, including the application of performance management processes
  • Action orientated person with a track record of amicable results
  • Experience of and ability to train others on the pros and cons of agile and waterfall methodologies and practices
  • Experience of high-volume transactional systems
  • Experience of working closely with Quality Engineering, Security and Operability focused colleagues to advocate and adopt development standards and support testing, user acceptance, system operability, training and knowledge sharing excellence

Experience (Desirable):

  • Experience in the Retail industry
  • Experience using agile development methodologies test-driven development, continuous integration and iterative development
  • Experience working remotely

Core Competencies:

  • Confidence with a sense of humour
  • Sets personal targets beyond those required, and strives to meet them
  • Motivates self and others to achieve the results and standards expected
  • Sees problems as challenges to be overcome, and takes action to resolve them
  • Has the ability to see and head off potential issues and take appropriate corrective action.
  • Is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to achieve the desired result
  • Continues working to meet business goals despite obstacles and/or opposition
  • Offers ideas and suggestions for improving departmental quality standards
  • Builds relationships with other areas of the business
  • Actively seeks ways to encourage and promote teamwork everywhere, always
  • Nurtures a positive sense of team spirit
  • Covers the work of absent team members, willingly
  • Encourages others to use their initiative and put forward their ideas and suggestions on how to improve performance
  • Demonstrates energy and resourcefulness in addressing business needs and requirements

Base Location

Remote working is fine. If you want to or ever need to go in, the Head Office is in West London. Hanger Lane is the nearest tube station on the central line, alternatively we have a free on-site car park should driving be an option.

And wait, did we mention the perks?

  • Discount - Generous 50% staff discount so you can treat yourself & a bargain staff shop, all onsite!
  • RI Rewards - Reducing Islanders everyday expenses through discounts, benefits, financial advice, wellbeing solutions and more with Reward Gateway!
  • Island culture - We have a free onsite gym, subsidised restaurant & café & various social events throughout the year. We also work closely with the Retail Trust to create dedicated support for all our Islanders!
  • Work that stays at work - Flexible working is a given, on top of payday early finishes and Summer Fridays
  • Family Hub - Every family is unique, we support Islanders with all different family setups enhanced maternity, paternity, adoption & fertility treatment
  • Giver Island - Give as you earn scheme, a 'Giver Island' day each year and matched funding
  • Training on the job - Support with upskilling skills through on the job training and qualifications
  • Pension - A contributory private pension scheme
  • Holiday - 25 days paid holiday, exclusive of Bank Holidays!


At River Island we are committed to the safeguarding of all of our employees regardless of age or job role. We will fulfil our obligation under the Prevent duty which seeks to stop extremism and extremist views from materialising in our business. We promote and encourage the belief in British Values- including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. To find out more, please visit