You are viewing content from a past/completed QCon - September 2020

Leading Technical Projects - and How to Get Them Done

The hardest type of project is the one where you have to co-ordinate a bunch of other teams to do work before you can get to done, particularly where that work stops those teams from working on the fun new features they were planning. If you’re trying to migrate everyone to a new version of your API, or to move them from one platform to another, or even get them to add security scanning for all of the 1000+ microservices, your problem is at least as much about communication and influence as it is about technology. So how do you do it?

  • You make sure you are completely clear on what you are doing and why - and the impact and cost of any delays.
  • You communicate in every way possible until you feel like a broken record.
  • And you put yourself in your customers shoes. Here, you can learn from behavioural economics (nudge theory) to increase your chances of getting things done quickly and as painlessly as possible.

My teams build tools that are used by lots of our development teams: we face these challenges all the time. We’ve tried lots of things and I’ll tell you about the ones that work for us!


Sarah Wells

Technical Director for Operations and Reliability @FT (Financial Times)

Sarah Wells has been a developer for 15 years, leading delivery teams across consultancy, financial services and media. Over the last few years she has developed a deep interest in operability, observability and devops, and at the beginning of 2018 this led to her taking over responsibility for Operations and Reliability at the Financial Times.  

Before that, she led work at the FT on building a semantic publishing platform, making it easy to discover and access all the FT’s published content via APIs in a common and flexible format. That project meant a focus on Go, microservices, containerisation, and how to influence teams to do the right things.

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