A Wolf in Fox Clothing
by Wolfie Wolf, on Nov 8, 2019 9:47:48 AM
As the most recent engineering hire at Bishop Fox, with just barely seven weeks under my belt, I feel uniquely positioned to explain why Bishop Fox is absolutely the best company I’ve ever worked for.
To fully appreciate the weight of that statement, let me tell you about the many hats I wore before putting on this fox-shaped one. My 25-year career in IT and software development has spanned across industries and beyond national borders. I’ve done a lot, including founding and operating a London-based tech startup for seven years.
As a part of that startup, I spent significant time embedded in other organizations, consulting for Oxford University, Microsoft, a UK water utility, the UK Ministry of Defense, and a U.S. business continuity software company to name a few. Most recently, I was a Squad Lead at Gsquad in Canada, a senior developer for a California-based video game dev shop, and a WebAssembly SME developer for SciChart in the UK. Those broad strokes only cover 15 of my 25 years, but since I’ve already got the job, let’s end this CV review.
While I can honestly say that I have enjoyed all of my experiences in one way or another, I found again and again that in every role, the conflicts I faced arose from the same sources: misaligned expectations, lack of documentation, and great but unrealistic ambitions. So, while I’ve proudly worn the logos of many companies, with my hand on my heart, I cannot say about any of them what I can about my new role at Bishop Fox:
In my seven weeks in the Bishop Fox trenches, I have not experienced any of those tiring conflicts that erode trust and stall projects; instead, I've been able to focus on kicking ass alongside my new teammates.
Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been rainbows and unicorns every step of the way. Every job requires adjustment and has its usual challenges. But the approach here - the commitment to collaboration, communication, transparency, and passionate obsession with excellence and professionalism - is what makes Bishop Fox more than just a workplace. At Bishop Fox, we are a family.
My formal title here is Senior Software Engineer, but at this stage in my career I’ve worn enough hats to know I enjoy a diverse workload. When I started, I made it known to Brad (the Head of Engineering) that I wanted to make an impact and make his life easier, so he should give me anything that he didn’t already have resource for or bandwidth to do himself. And that is just what he did.
But Brad didn’t just dump a world of unsolvable problems on me and walk away; he made sure I understood the agile methodology that we use to put our established engineering policies and procedures into practice every day. Backed by Brad’s well-defined protocols, and the leadership, vision, and vast experience of Ken, the VP of Product Management, I’ve found myself happily surrounded by people who ground their ambitious projects in process and reality. They know what’s doable and how to get it done.
With a solid but flexible framework to work from and well-documented requirements, we successfully moved faster and more effectively. In just seven weeks, we've successfully united two cross-functional teams (one internal and one third party) into a single collective that has delivered internal betas, new prototypes, and an impromptu demo. And to top it off, we delivered on time too.
You might be wondering... “Why does all that hard work make Bishop Fox such a great place? Didn’t you work your little Fox tail off to do all that in such a short amount of time?”
YES, we did work our furry little Fox tails off, but I will never mind working my tail off in an environment that provides me with the resources and leadership support I need to be successful. And I will never mind working in an environment that empowers me with the trust and freedom to do what needs to be done within the well-established constraints of a paradigm. Could it really get any better?
Well, have I mentioned how positive everyone is? :)
Oh, and I get to tell my friends, “I write software for hackers.”
This wolf has never been happier since slipping into a Fox pelt. It’s a perfect fit.