Are you looking for a new and exciting opportunity to really contribute to the world around you & the company you work for? 

Collabforge is currently on the search for a CTO/Lead Engineer to join our team, on an exciting and unprecedented project.

We have been funded by the Commonwealth Government to build a new product –  Scaffle, which will make a significant contribution to our core mission: improving how government engages the public in policy-making.

This is your opportunity to make a significant and lasting impact on the ability of government at all levels to enable the public to have a voice in policy and service design.


The value you’ll be contributing to (to us and the world)

We’ve just been funded to build a new product, Scaffle, which we believe will make an important contribution to our mission: improving how government engages the public in policy-making. When Scaffle grows up, it’s going to be a platform that makes public engagement projects more transparent, collaborative (when circumstances allow), measurable, cheaper, and repeatable.

There is a real gap between the appetite of the government to engage the public and their capability to do so. This is compounded by the fact the public don’t trust the government to really value their input when it comes to consultation and decision making. Public servants struggle to understand how to engage and use the knowledge of the people they serve. This product will help bridge this gap.

We have seed funding and support to succeed from the highest levels of government, but this is NOT a government-run project. This is your opportunity to make a significant and lasting impact on the ability of government at all levels to enable the public to have a voice in policy and service design. Nothing like this has been attempted.


How we work

We have a great track record of delivering one-off software projects, so we *get* the value of customer research, great UX, and iterative design and development. In fact, many of those software development practices have strong parallels with our consulting practice.

Our team is passionate and hardworking, but with a commitment to well-being. Yes we’re running this like a startup, but we’re more of a zebra than a unicorn. Expect a steady pace, mutually supportive environment, and a focus on reducing wasteful work. If you want to do meaningful work in a team that values diversity and self-expression, work with us.

We work out of a dedicated team room at the Hub Southern Cross co-working space near Bourke Street and Spencer Street. The Hub offers excellent public transport access, and many of the amenities you’ll find in a larger office such as breakout spaces, nap room, small gym, hot-desking, cafe, and communal kitchen.


Who we want to hire

We’re looking for someone who is as motivated by our product and vision as we are, and at the same time we’re hoping for diverse perspectives to help us challenge our assumptions and improve our ability to make great products.

We need a CTO who really *gets* lean startup.

  • Has the technical chops to write and architect a software product that isn’t afraid to adapt and grow as we learn and validate (or invalidate) our assumptions.
  • Understands the kind of things that will make our delivery process efficient and scalable early on, so that we can  do more with less, and stay focussed on delivering customer value, instead of collapsing later under a mountain of crippling tech debt.

We need to rely on you for both human and technical leadership. You need to be able to demonstrate you have as much EQ as IQ. As a leader within our business, you will directly contribute to the evolution of our whole team culture (not just dev).

If you don’t really like writing unit tests, optimising build chains, implementing load testing, or getting your hands dirty with cloud-based devops, this startup probably isn’t the right place for you. On the other hand, if one of your guilty pleasures is smashing out least-characters solutions on HackerRank, you’re going to love the freedom and responsibility on offer.

Don’t worry if the criteria below doesn’t describe you perfectly. We are a small organisation looking for someone who can work well with the team and is excited by our products, technology, and overall direction, rather than extensive C-level history.

We​ ​think​ ​you​ ​should​ ​be​ ​passionate​ ​(if​ ​not​ ​religious)​ ​about:

  • 12 Factor App methodology.
  • High quality, cross-functional collaboration (and communication).
  • Product-focussed engineering.
  • Continuous Delivery.
  • TDD (or BDD).
  • Clean, quality code.
  • Design patterns that scale (eg. microservices).
  • Building unique/new customer value.
  • Not reinventing mousetraps.
  • UX as a software design process.

And​ ​you​ ​will​ ​prefer​ ​a​ ​collaborative​ ​approach​ ​to​ ​delivery​ ​that:

  • Is adaptive, rather than predictive,
  • Is people-oriented, rather than process-oriented, and
  • Cares as much for agility as for scalability and availability.

You​ ​will​ ​be​ ​responsible​ ​for: 

  • Selecting a contemporary technology stack to enable an agile delivery process, scalable product, and a sexy UI (so we anticipate you might be into MEAN or Ruby on Rails).
  • Input on and assist with hiring the development team.
  • Leadership of the development team.
  • Collaborating for maximum happiness, with our Product Owner, and our wider business.
  • Ensuring the availability, scalability, and reliable maintainability of our software.
  • Building a frequent, reliable cadence of releases (ship early, ship often!).
  • Challenging, mentoring and coaching your team members, especially juniors.
  • Creating a development team culture of mutual accountability, collaborative problem-solving, individual freedom, and engineering excellence.
  • Keeping our Product Owner both excited and grounded.

You need to demonstrate:

  • Excellence in software development and architecture at a senior level (min. 5 years experience)
  • Strong full-stack development capabilities.
  • Expertise in at least one or two areas where you can drive technology (e.g. microservices, front-end, TDD, or open source software).
  • Deep knowledge in your preferred stack (eg. identify key scaling pitfalls, establish in-team patterns and practices that mitigate such risks).
  • Exceptional leadership, communication skills and EQ.
  • A successful track record writing code in a senior technical role, in a startup environment.

And we’d be excited if you can tell us about your expertise with:

  • GitLab (commercial projects).
  • AWS or Azure (commercial projects).
  • Contribution to a major open source project.
  • Customer Development (à la Steve Blank).
  • Lean Startup / Business Model Canvas / Value Proposition Canvas.

We are a co-located team, based in the Hub Melbourne coworking space, and at the moment, we’re only looking for colleagues who want to work with us face-to-face. We don’t expect to be the last company you ever work for, but we do expect a strong commitment from each member of our leadership team. This will be an initial 10 month contract of what we anticipate to be a minimum 3 year commitment of your time, love and hard work.


What we are offering

  • AUD $131.4k ($120k + 9.5% super) for initial 10 month contract. (This is equivalent to $157.7k per annum including super).
  • Potential for an equity agreement to be formed after initial 10 month period.
  • Macbook Pro 15” (full boat) or similar.
  • Dell Ultrasharp 34” monitor or similar.


Our application process

This role is a key hire for us, so it’s important to us to do it right.

To start with, we’d like you to respond to the following questionnaire, and send your responses to

1. What’s your proudest achievement? It can be a personal project or something you’ve worked on professionally. Just a short paragraph is fine, but we’d love to know why you’re proud of it.

2. Tell me about a technical book or article you read recently, why you liked it, and why I should read it?

3. What interests you most about Scaffle and Collabforge?

4. Send us something that you think best represents the depth and breadth of your expertise. This might be a resume, a Linkedin profile, a portfolio website, your Github account, or all of the above.

5. Complete the following FIZZBUZZ test:

Write some code, that will flatten an array of arbitrarily nested arrays of integers into a flat array of integers. e.g. [[1,2,[3]],4] -> [1,2,3,4].

We hope this will take only about 60-90 minutes of your time, and we might need a few days to read and consider your response. We believe that this step could save both of us the considerable effort involved in having a face to face meeting.

If it looks like a potential fit, we’ll invite you to a conversation with some of our team members. We may need to do more than one of these. For us, mindset and cultural fit matter a lot, so we’ll be doing our best to get to know you in a short amount of time. Coffee is on us.

Finally, we’ll need to evaluate your technical chops. We’ve got several advisors supporting us on this front, and we’ll work with them and you to come up with an appropriate approach. This might simply be talking to people you’ve worked with, diving deep into some of your previous outputs, or it might be a longer code test. It all depends on how much we’ve been able to learn about you throughout the process.


Who is Collabforge?

Collabforge is a boutique consultancy specialising in scaling and sustaining collaboration. Established in 2009, we have done over 400 projects with clients in Australia and globally, at all levels of the public sector, as well as business and Academia.

We have unique, industry-leading consulting expertise in helping people work together in both small and large numbers. We drive scalable collaboration, organisational capability, and innovation through strategy, facilitation and digital solutions. The majority of our clients are within the public sector, including both local agencies and international bodies.


We are especially strong in:

● Strategic community building and support

● Public sector innovation expertise and experience

● Scalable collaboration that delivers impact and business value

● Collaboration and innovation capability building

● Team building, establishment and mentoring

● Facilitated workshops and user-centred design

● Collaboration technology design, development and strategies for adoption

● Innovation strategy, knowledge and networks


We’re privileged to work with major government departments and agencies in our consulting work. We’ve brought cutting-edge new thinking and approaches into heavy-inertia environments, and we’ve catalysed real, transformative change at scale.


PDF Position Description: CTO/ LeadEngineer – Collabforge