Head of Engineering Practices, Jobs, 300
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Head of Engineering Practices - London

Ref: 300 Date Posted: Monday 16 Sep 2019
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We are looking for a Head of Engineering Practice to head up our Software Engineering Practices across our cross-functional product teams.

Leveraging personal subject matter expertise, working closely with peers, the role will be accountable for ensuring that River Island fosters and maintains the requisite engineering skills, practices, tooling and culture required to populate and support highly effective product delivery teams.

This will include bringing to bear strong Agile principles, driving technical and practical innovation as well as actively fostering a strong positive culture of empowerment and continuous improvement as well as a positive culture of working with the portfolio delivery practice.



  • Supporting product team management by advising on the most effective balance of people, skills tooling and culture required for effective product teams.
  • Recruitment of the right talent required to populate these effective product teams, in collaboration with budget holders. 
  • Ensuring ways of working, standards and tools are consistently applied within practices, across product teams and are continuously reviewed and improved.
  • Developing frameworks for ensuring that all practices are mutually supportive and that all are appropriately represented in each product team.
  • Developing frameworks for the personal development of engineers operating in those practices.
  • Line Management of engineering practice leads.
  • Ensuring that tooling, technology and culture within the practices are appropriate to support effective product teams delivering high quality output in a timely manner.
  • Promptly raising warnings to portfolio leads if any product team appears to be delayed, struggling or failing in any way and advising on solution options.
  • Ensuring Continuous Improvement of all relevant processes and tooling with a strong focus on automation, continuous integration and continuous delivery in order to improve the effectiveness of product teams.


WE KNOW WHAT WE’RE DOING… and we know exactly what experience we’re looking for!

Core competencies:

  • Demonstrates business value mindset – measures progress via delivery of value outcomes over features
  • Demonstrates a strong appreciation for commercial outcomes and needs
  • Demonstrates a strong appreciation for technical outcomes and needs in support overall IT team objectives and IT strategy to support the Business
  • Demonstrably able to weigh up and balance the needs and opinions of the technical members of the team with the commercially focused members and owners of the product teams to get the best overall outcome for the business
  • Ability to see multiple view-points / paradigms and bring views together
  • Collaborative – puts team before self, shared outcomes before personal goals
  • Allows the team to work independently
  • Able to guide a team and team members without directing; strong belief in servant-leadership
  • Passionate and motivational leader that will help drive the team toward delivery of shared goals
  • Sets personal targets beyond those required and strives to meet them
  • Drives to remove impediments where ever they fall, even if that means challenging leadership.
  • Motivates self and others to achieve the results and standards expected
  • Sees problems as challenges to be overcome and takes action to resolve them
  • Is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to achieve the desired result
  • Nurtures a positive sense of team spirit


  • Minimum 5 years’ experience in a software engineering people/team management role
  • Strong stakeholder manager – demonstrating ability to manage difficult messages and situations effectively and with minimal impact
  • Ability to work in a high pressure, deadline driven environment managing multiple priorities
  • Team player who is willing to work outside immediate team to deliver on common organizational goals
  • Action orientated person with a delivery track record Experience of working with both Agile and Waterfall methodologies and practices
  • Experience of high volume transactional systems.
  • Previous experience of leading multi-skilled (Software Engineering, QA, User Interface) Development/ Engineering Teams to deliver the software required for technical change programmes, projects and small changes in line with business expectations
  • Experience of working in an international working environment, with a good command of the English language and excellent communication skills.
  • Significant experience of people management, including the application of performance management processes
  • Able to coach and develop teams and individuals to achieve excellent results
  • Educated to degree level in an information technology discipline, ideally specialising in software engineering/ application development
  • Experience of working closely with Quality Assurance, Testing, 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



If you are ambitious and love working in a busy environment where every day is new, then River Island is the place to be! As a business, we are committed to developing our talent and offer a fantastic training program to help you optimise your performance and support your career progression with the company.

Our working environment is busy, fast moving and responsive to our customers’ needs, much like our training which is unique to our business and reflective of our fun and refreshing brand and our people within it! Our River Academy offers ongoing training and development by running workshops throughout the year varying from courses focusing on softer skills to the more technical courses you may require to perform your duties.

It’s not all work and no play here either…we all work hard but we also like to have fun too! We are a social bunch and regularly host events ranging from Summer and Christmas parties, bake offs, and lots of charity events!


WE LOOK OUT FOR ONE ANOTHER…and in doing so, we provide great benefits for our employees:   

  • 50% Staff Discount
  • Pension Scheme
  • Holiday plus bank holidays
  • Interest Free Season Ticket Loan
  • Discounted on-site gym membership (Hanger Lane only)
  • Ride to work scheme
  • Staff Shop (Hanger Lane only)
  • Subsidised canteen (Hanger Lane only)
  • Free onsite parking (Hanger Lane only)