Anna Shipman is a senior developer at the Government Digital Service. She works on the infrastructure team that supports the GOV.UK website, doing development and web operations. Currently she is working on open source tooling to provision VMware vCloud Director environments: https://github.com/alphagov/vcloud-tools. She works mainly in Ruby and Puppet at the moment, though her past includes Python, Perl, Java and the JEE stack. She blogs at http://www.annashipman.co.uk/jfdi, tweets at @annashipman and is always up for a game of pool.
Q: How did you get involved in DevOps?
A: GDS is the first place I’ve worked where they have a DevOps culture so joining GDS was my first exposure. About eighteen months ago I joined the infrastructure team because I wanted to learn how web operations works up close, and that’s when I really started to understand the value and purpose of DevOps.
Q: What do you see as the biggest advantage of DevOps?
A: From an organisation’s perspective, a DevOps culture underpins the most important parts of an agile software development methodology: release early, release often, fail fast, etc, as well as communication between all parts of the business.
From a personal perspective, the biggest advantage for me has been the opportunity to get hands-on experience with web operations. Understanding how your code works in production, how it is supported, and what can go wrong, makes you a much better developer.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge in DevOps?
A: Making sure the concept is understood. As with Agile before it, misunderstandings of DevOps are rife, and also like Agile, people are trying to adopt it, or say they are adopting it, without being clear about the concepts behind it and what the costs as well as the benefits are. The biggest challenge is communicating what DevOps actually means and what is required from the business to support it.