Yahoo! Agile Coach

When I went down to Auckland for some training I didn’t think I’d come back with a job. I had seen a link from an agile website that Yahoo was looking for an Agile coach, but the job had been taken down long before the training. During lunch the second day I mentioned the posting to the head of the department, a Kiwi named Gabrielle Benefield, and wondered if there was still a need on her team. She seemed a little surprised to hear that the job posting had been removed, and was kind enough to talk to me about the opportunity. It immediately felt like the right thing, and exactly the job I was looking for.

Here is the description:

The Advanced Development Division at Yahoo! is a small team charged with spearheading the company’s product planning, innovation and growth worldwide. The group is a key driver of Yahoo!’s global strategy, and is closely involved in all aspects of Yahoo!’s process and product development efforts. This position is an opportunity to join a small and fast-paced team with in-depth involvement in some of the most innovative and influential products online today.

What an opportunity! I really admired Gabrielle’s teaching style and knew I would enjoy working with her. As soon as I got back home (at about 10pm) I started composing a cover letter and sent it to her. Here is a little of it that I’d like to share:

First off, I would like to tell you how much I like your country. My wife and I moved to New Zealand for a high quality of life. After traveling for a couple month’s shopping for a home we have found that in the community of the Far North. I have lived in the Bay Area and always enjoyed it. I still have many friends. My wife is from the area and has many friends and family as well. The possibility to combine domestic satisfaction along with an engaging and rewarding work environment makes us both very excited.

My 12-year journey through software development has been a lot like going to University. My Bachelor’s degree was working for Interactive Papyrus, where I was the 6th person hired to put together a corporate web site for HP. The Master’s was obtained during my three years at Oracle. I learned how to be a consultant, a senior developer and leader for teams. I look upon Agile Methods as my PhD. I want to provide a contribution to the body of knowledge in this space; helping others through words and action to make our industry enjoyable and successful.

We chatted by phone the next day. It would have been best, of course, to have been able to fly to headquarters in Sunnyvale and speak with the team. Since Gabrielle had an idea of who I was from the training, it seemed acceptable to chat by phone for team interviews and she sent my information off to an internal recruiter. The recruiter sent out my information to the team and they contacted me very quickly. With each interview and progressing step, I knew this is where I belonged.

This is the next level, the payoff of all the hard work of the last dozen years or so. There will be a lot of studying, learning and writing. Perhaps no more coding, and I am certainly fine with that.

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