Webroot Spotlight: Michael Balloni, Senior Manager of Software Development
From recruiting top talent to daily technical leadership, a day-in-a-life of a software engineering is never boring. After chatting with Webroot Senior Manager of Software Development, Michael Balloni, it became even more obvious.
Michael is working hard to build a robust and efficient team, and is undeniably enthusiastic about every stage of the process. The conversation only got more interesting as we dug into his role and responsibilities.
What is your favorite part of working as a Senior Manager of Software Development?
Hiring is my favorite part. Whether we’re sourcing talent on paper, on the phone, or in-person, it’s always fun to see how things evolve, right up to the offer and the day-one lunch. We use an agency called Accolo, and their excellent recruiter, Adam Robles. They have effective screener questions and a scoring system that helps us zero in on good candidates. Given that score and a reasonable resume, we set up a phone call to discuss their claimed skillset. If that goes well, we bring them onsite and treat them like human beings. Finally, we put them to work on the whiteboard with problem solving.
What does a week as a Senior Manager of Software Development look like?
I interface with other teams to get big things up and running, like the collaborative Mac DNSP project. We marched through our code base to identify which modules would give us the most trouble and to put the porting process through its paces. We picked a module to port and worked through the process of creating the shared codebase and the mechanics thereof. Also, I promote technical leadership through mentoring and setting direction.
So, what does promoting technical leadership look like? Do you have any criteria for promoting technical leadership?
Technical leadership involves staying up-to-date on our industry and the technical craft, and sharing that information with the broader team. It also involves staying up-to-date on the development of the products at hand and steering that direction as needed. Most of the time there is no need to change direction, but sometimes there is, and it’s tough to identify. I’ve learned that getting clarification and input should happen before prescribing a fix to what may not be a problem at all.
What is your greatest accomplishment in your career at Webroot so far?
Promoting my colleague, Bindu Pillai, to software development manager. She’s my partner in crime, and has been indispensable with the latest round of, you guessed it, hiring! Promoting Bindu to a leadership position gave her delivery teams a capable leader. Bindu was what’s called a Product Owner, the technical and managerial lead of the delivery team. When her teams’ Agile Team Coordinator (who manages the digital resources like bug tracking and documentation, and make sure that developers have the tools they need and nothing blocking them) quit, Bindu took over the responsibility of the ATC. She did so without complaint or friction to the point where she took the loss of an ATC in stride. She delivers product on schedule, and keeps her direct reports productive and well-fed.
What brought you to Webroot after your last job?
I had fun working with Webroot’s CTO Hal Lonas in the 2000s at a previous company, so coming to work with him again was a no-brainer.
How did you get into the technology field?
I did hard math and physics in high school, which got me into Harvey Mudd College. That’s where I met my wife, and (only) did well at software development. So here we are.
What is your favorite thing about working at Webroot?
Everybody says it, but it’s the people. All sharp and hardworking and friendly. We’ve got a good thing here.
Check out career opportunities at Webroot here: www.webroot.com/careers
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