BT

InfoQ Homepage Podcasts Sarah Wells on FT's Transition to DevOps

Sarah Wells on FT's Transition to DevOps

Bookmarks

In this podcast recorded at QCon London 2019, Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Sarah Wells, Technical Director for Operations and Reliability at the Financial Times about their adoption of DevOps.

Key Takeaways

  • Adopting DevOps is both a technology and a very significant culture change
  • It’s a big change for most developers to be operating the software they build and if you haven’t done it before, it’s terrifying
  • A safe culture means not looking for blame but focusing on how to fix and how to prevent things that do go wrong
  • The need for a really good relationship between technical teams and product people in order to explain the benefits of investing in technology improvements vs new features
  • Do everything you can to reduce the need for coordination with any external teams, because that slows you down

 

Show Notes

  • 00:31 Introductions
  • 01:45 An organisation full of smart people, not moving as fast as they could have done
  • 02:00 Adopting a DevOps culture, starting with automation
  • 02:10 The goal to provision in minutes rather than days
  • 02:18 They stopped tracking the improvement once provisioning times were down to minutes
  • 02:34 Looking for other opportunities to improve flow
  • 02:39 Adopting microservices architecture
  • 02:47 The focus on being able to release change regularly, moving from 12 releases per year to many thousands of releases every year
  • 03:04 This is not just a technology change, it is a big culture change
  • 03:07 To move fast people need to be able to make decisions themselves without waiting for others
  • 03:44 It’s a big change for most developers to be operating the software they build and if you haven’t done it before, it’s terrifying
  • 04:10 Examples of some of the production problems the teams have dealt with
  • 04:47 Microservices are complex and distributed and can interact in ways you don’t predict
  • 05:04 Safety has to come from the top – no blame
  • 05:25 Reviews that focus on what can be improved, not who to blame
  • 05:49 If you drop a database in production as a developer, that is not your fault. The fault is that it’s too easy to drop a database
  • 06:24 The mindset of experimentation – it’s not an experiment of there’s no hypothesis and it can’t fail (quoting Linda Rising)
  • 06:35 Most organisations say they are experimenting but they are really just trying
  • 06:45 The sunk-cost fallacy
  • 06:56 Experiments need to be quick and cheap
  • 07:02 How experimentation is built into the FT website
  • 07:32 Describing one experiment and how the data was used
  • 08:25 Making the “blast radius” small
  • 09:10 Microservices encourage decoupled design because the boundaries are very clear
  • 09:49 Buy – don’t build
  • 10:15 Using value chain mapping to identify the core business and focus on innovating in that area
  • 10:33 Moving from home-build cluster orchestration to Kubernetes
  • 11:25 The need for a really good relationship between technical teams and product people in order to explain the benefits of investing in technology improvements vs new features
  • 11:38 The flip side of moving fast is that sometimes the decision you make is wrong, and that needs to be OK
  • 11:54 Decisions fall into two categories – one-way door or two-way door
  • 12:10 Most decisions are easily reversible, like a two-way door
  • 12:18 Decide – commit – revisit
  • 12:40 Advances in technology have made it easy to make reversable decisions
  • 12:50 Comparing early hack-days with what is able to be achieved today
  • 14:15 Advice for other organisations
  • 14:23 Migration to microservices by carving off small pieces
  • 14:33 You need an automated release pipeline
  • 14:46 Architect for zero-downtime deployments
  • 15:27 Do everything you can to reduce the need for coordination with any external teams, because that slows you down
  • 14:42 Find a way to get architectural guidance, but don’t impose architectural signoff
  • 15:49 Change approval boards slow you down but do not increase the likelihood of successful change
  • 16:17 Architects need to become part of the delivery teams rather than working in a silo
  • 16:25 At FT they have moved to Principal Engineer roles rather than architects –
  • 16:47 The need for T-shaped skills across the whole team
  • 17:20 The impact on career planning, moving away from a ladder towards a map that covers many areas at different levels of competency
  • 18:28 The value of a learning culture
  • 18:43 The value of a very diverse team

Mentioned:

About QCon

QCon is a practitioner-driven conference designed for technical team leads, architects, and project managers who influence software innovation in their teams. QCon takes place 8 times per year in London, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paolo, Beijing, Guangzhou & Shanghai. QCon San Francisco is at its 13th Edition and will take place Nov 11-15, 2019. 140+ expert practitioner speakers, 1600+ attendees and 18 tracks will cover topics driving the evolution of software development today. Visit qconsf.com to get more details.

More about our podcasts

You can keep up-to-date with the podcasts via our RSS Feed, and they are available via SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast and the Google Podcast. From this page you also have access to our recorded show notes. They all have clickable links that will take you directly to that part of the audio.

Previous podcasts

Rate this Article

Adoption
Style

Hello stranger!

You need to Register an InfoQ account or or login to post comments. But there's so much more behind being registered.

Get the most out of the InfoQ experience.

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Community comments

  • Brief and effective!

    by Anit Shrestha Manandhar /

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Great, insightful brief talk. Thanks!

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

BT

Is your profile up-to-date? Please take a moment to review and update.

Note: If updating/changing your email, a validation request will be sent

Company name:
Company role:
Company size:
Country/Zone:
State/Province/Region:
You will be sent an email to validate the new email address. This pop-up will close itself in a few moments.