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Living Without Pre-Production Environments

Historically when we developed large monolithic applications we had several ‘lower’ environments such as dev, test, staging, pre-prod for verifying different stages of our development life cycle. These were particularly used for all manner of testing - integration testing, gatekeeping, acceptance testing. However, as we are moving to increasingly more distributed, complex and larger systems we have sought tools and processes to enable us to move quicker. We have more automation in our testing, we have more automation in our deployment and we are creating services that are loosely coupled and independently deployable. Does it still make sense to have all these lower environments?

We thought not - At Skyscanner we don’t have lower environments only production. Well actually it is slightly more complicated than that but we will get to that.

So in this talk, Nicky will talk about:

  • Why Skyscanner has chosen to ditch non-production environments
  • How Skyscanner do this - What we have done to make this working practice possible and how do we maintain quality and confidence
  • When does this approach not work - There are definitely some unsuitable use cases for this approach


Nicky Wrightson

Principal Engineer @Skyscanner

Nicky is a principal engineer working at Skyscanner and formerly of the Financial Times and has been leading teams for more than 15 years, across a wide range of industries: travel, banking, media and telecommunications. She passionately drives forward cloud native architectures and approaches that allow engineers to deliver business value quickly whilst also reducing the support overhead needed for complex distributed systems.

Find Nicky Wrightson at:


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