Head of SRE / Head of Engineering / Remote

Job Title: Head of SRE / Head of Engineering / Remote
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: London, England
Salary: £120000 - £140000 per annum + bonus, package
Reference: gggw112_1632320884
Contact Name: Matthew Pearce
Contact Email:
Job Published: September 22, 2021 15:28

Job Description

Head of Engineering / Head of Operations/ Head of SRE / Fully Remote or Office Based

My client is a start-up which employs the core team behind a well known decentralised architecture - the leading project for secure, open decentralised communication.

My clients mission is to make messaging as open as email- allowing everyone to choose where their data is hosted, enjoy private conversations and ultimately be in control of their own communication.

Practically speaking this means building open, self-sovereign alternatives to

WhatsApp/Slack/Teams for governments, civic institutions and communities.

The Role

Reporting to the Head of Engineering Management you will lead and provide engineering management support to the Operations team, which covers ownership and maintenance of our base infrastructure (across multiple environments) and IT tooling.

More concretely you will: -

  • Shape and communicate the technical strategy for the team.
  • Ensure that the team is on track to deliver on its goals, course correcting where necessary.
  • Facilitate technical design sessions, retrospectives, 1:1s etc.
  • Take responsibility for the ongoing professional development of the team.
  • Contribute to the hiring strategy and participate in interviews and hiring decisions.
  • Act as a point of contact for other areas of the business.
  • Relentlessly remove impediments blocking the team.
  • The team operates remotely and is made up of five Operations Engineers. Previous remote management experience is not a hard requirement but those new to it may benefit from being able to regularly spend some time in the London office.
  • (almost) everything they do is open source


  • You have experience leading a high-performing team of engineers, including managing and shipping cross-functional or multi-team projects.
  • You enjoy collaborating with Product Management, Technical Account Management and UX Design on the product discovery & delivery lifecycle.
  • You are endlessly curious about the technologies your team works with and strive to keep your technical knowledge sharp - but you also feel comfortable knowing your greatest impact won't be as a technical contributor.
  • You place a tremendous value on good communication and appreciate async- and remote-friendly working practices.
  • You understand methodologies like Agile, XP, and Lean, and see their value, but don't believe there's only one right way to get work done.
  • You have worked as an Operations Engineer or SRE on distributed backend systems in the past. We don't need you to have used our technology stack (AWS, Docker, Kubernetes, Ansible) but familiarity would be a plus.
  • You are comfortable with the pace and trade offs of an early stage startup (meaning: know how to take care of yourself and your team, get your work done without working around the clock, prioritize ruthlessly, be able to tolerate a little uncertainty and sometimes wear different hats).

Nice to have:

It would be nice if any of the following were true.

Some previous history working in an open source environment, either professionally or as a community member.

An interest/experience in the world of decentralised technology and/or messaging technology. If you run your own matrix server we want to hear about it!

The Operations team works closely with the Backend team. Previous experience as a backend or systems developer would be a bonus.

You have managed remote staff or have worked remotely yourself. Org is a highly distributed organisation and continually strive to improve our remote experience.


General approach is to treat people like adults and acknowledge that by being flexible we create an environment for people to do their best work.

That said specific points that differentiate are:

Work (almost) full time on FOSS projects with high visibility and a large enthusiastic community The chance to work with large scale governmental installations through to high profile FOSS projects such as Mozilla or KDE.

Option to work partially or fully remote (our head office is in London), offer flexibility and considered to be a family friendly environment.

People tend to stay with the company for a long time, we take this as a sign that we have a cohesive supportive culture, that the work is engaging & challenging.