A Platform Engineering Journey: Copy and Paste Deployments to Full GitOps

Jemma Hussein Allen's career has evolved from a web developer at a small media company to a platform engineering leader at a large multinational organisation. The journey hasn't always been smooth, but there was certainly much to learn. Join Jemma to hear about her successes and mistakes and get the inside track on how to build and run platforms and associated teams.

Key learnings to be shared include:

  • Copying and pasting code from one Windows folder to another as a deployment method can cause (a lot of ) downtime! Hear how one company's push to use Jenkins was the right strategy.
  • Being a project manager and a developer on the same project can result in a conflict of interest. Fail fast, fail often and ensure the key learnings are read into the next iteration. Feedback loops are critical!
  • Being on-call is a heavy toll for a small operations department without second-level support.
  • Know your (developer) users, keep the dialogue going, and create a psychologically safe environment.
  • Everyone and anyone should be encouraged to actively contribute feedback and ideas for the platform.
  • Self-service tooling is key for good developer experience, but guard rails are important for accountability (for all levels). GitOps helps to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Keeping all stakeholders and interested parties informed on new tech and developments is important for adoption.

What's the focus of your work these days?

These days I spend my time in the world of automation, where my main goal is to simplify the lives of our great developers and let them focus on application development. So my time is mainly spent crafting platform tools that integrate into our organizational framework, ensuring compliance while allowing for customizations that cater to the unique needs of our development teams.

What's the motivation for your talk at QCon London 2024?

After two decades immersed in a captivating industry marked by incredible technological innovation, I'm eager to share the valuable lessons I've learned.

How would you describe your main persona and target audience for this session?

My aim is to give insights to existing developers keen on delving into the intricacies of platform engineering. The insights could also be interesting to senior developers who enjoy reflecting on and learning from shared experiences and managers interested in gaining insights into the challenges faced by developers, DevOps professionals, and platform engineers.

Is there anything specific that you'd like people to walk away with after watching your session?

People will walk away with actionable insights that will not only enhance their technology career, but also provide an increased understanding of the challenges faced in the dynamic world of platform engineering.


Jemma Hussein Allen

Platform Engineering Technical Lead With Over 19 Years Experience in Software, Systems, and Platform Engineering

Jemma Hussein Allen is a lead engineer with over 19 years experience in Systems, Software and Platform Engineering. Her career has evolved from a web developer at a small media company to a platform engineering lead at a large multinational organization. The journey hasn't always been smooth, but there was a lot to learn. Join Jemma to hear about her successes and mistakes and get the inside track on how to build and run platforms and associated teams.

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Wednesday Apr 10 / 01:35PM BST ( 50 minutes )


Whittle (3rd Fl.)


Platform Engineering Gitops CI/CD Systems Engineering psychological safety


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