Build Quality In
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Build Quality In

Continuous Delivery and DevOps Experience Reports

About the Book

Build Quality In

Build Quality In is a book of Continuous Delivery and DevOps experience reports from the wild.

The interdependent disciplines of Continuous Delivery and DevOps are of immense value to an organisation, but they are hard. We have seen Continuous Delivery and DevOps work in the wild, as have other practitioners. We want to help people on their own Continuous Delivery and DevOps journey, by sharing the experiences of those who have done it – what worked, what didn’t, and the highs and lows of trying to build quality into an organisation.


We have an incredible group of Continuous Delivery and DevOps practitioners, who have freely shared their own first-hand experiences in this area. 

Thanks to all our contributors!

Steve Smith and Matthew Skelton


The Continuous Delivery foreword is written by Dave Farley. Dave Farley is co-author of the Jolt award winning book Continuous Delivery. He has been having fun with computers for over 30 years. Over that period he has worked on most types of software. He has a wide range of experience leading the development of complex software in teams, large and small. Dave was an early adopter of agile development techniques, employing iterative development, continuous integration and significant levels of automated testing on commercial projects from the early 1990s. More recently Dave has worked in the field of low latency computing developing high performance software for the finance industry. Dave currently works for KCG Ltd.

The DevOps foreword is written by Patrick Debois. Patrick Debois is a developer, manager, sysadmin, and tester. He first presented concepts on Agile Infrastructure at Agile 2008 in Toronto, and in 2009 he organized the first DevOpsDays . Since then he has been promoting the notion of ‘devops’ to exchange ideas between these groups and show how they can help each other to achieve better results in business. 

Code Club

We are donating 70% of author royalties to Code Club – a not-for-profit organisation that runs a UK-wide network of free volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11. We passionately believe that diversity within the IT industry must improve, and efforts must start in our schools. A purchase of our book at $20.00 will yield a donation of $12.26 and a purchase at $25.00 will yield a donation of $15.40.

Thank you for buying Build Quality In. As well as providing a range of in-depth Continuous Delivery and DevOps stories, your purchase will contribute to children learning to code and general skills such as problem solving and collaboration regardless of their gender or ethnicity.

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About the Editors

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

Steve Smith is an IT consultant specialising in Digital Transformation, Continuous Delivery, and Operability. Since 2008, Steve has worked on transformation transformation programmes, in leadership and hands-on roles for public and private sector organisations.

Those roles include creating a deployment pipeline for 8 teams/70 microliths in a media company with £14Bpa revenue, building an operability toolchain for 60 teams/600 microservices in a UK government department with £500Bpa revenue, and creating a Continuous Delivery & Operability strategy for 30 teams/100 microservices in a high street retailer with £2Bpa website revenue.

Steve is a Principal Consultant and Operability Practice Lead at Equal Experts, a worldwide network of technology consultants that specialises in solving complex challenges for enterprise organisations.

Steve is the author of Measuring Continuous Delivery, plus a co-author of A Children's A to Z of Continuous Delivery and Build Quality In. Steve blogs at, chats on Twitter at @SteveSmith_Tech, and is a regular conference speaker.

Matthew Skelton
Matthew Skelton

Matthew Skelton is co-author of Team Topologies: organizing business and technology teams for fast flow. Recognised by TechBeacon in 2018, 2019, and 2020 as one of the top 100 people to follow in DevOps, Matthew curates the well-known DevOps team topologies patterns at He is Head of Consulting at Conflux and specialises in Continuous Delivery, operability, and organisation dynamics for modern software systems.

Matthew Skelton

Episode 140

About the Contributors

James Betteley
James Betteley

Doing the DevOps thing

Many years ago, someone decided to put me in charge of doing builds and releases of software. I can't remember why, I think everyone else was out at lunch. I inherited a system of batch files, shell scripts and all sorts of weird and wonderful things which, to this very day, I still don't understand. Since then I've made it my job to debunk complicated software systems, automate as much as possible and just try to make things more sensible. My main driver is bringing real business value through great Development & Operations processes, whether that be by using tools or implementing a new process or culture. Check out my blog at
Dave Farley
Dave Farley
Dave Farley is co-author of the Jolt award winning book Continuous Delivery. He has been having fun with computers for over 30 years. Over that period he has worked on most types of software. He has a wide range of experience leading the development of complex software in teams, large and small. Dave was an early adopter of agile development techniques, employing iterative development, continuous integration and significant levels of automated testing on commercial projects from the early 1990s. More recently Dave has worked in the field of low latency computing developing high performance software for the finance industry. Dave currently works for KCG Ltd.
John Clapham
John Clapham
Simon Hildrew
Simon Hildrew
Simon led the Guardian's digital operations team for two years before changing role and becoming a developer (albeit with an operations focus). Since then he has tackled pain points encountered by operations, including writing tooling that enables deployments to be carried out more reliably and more frequently across a diverse range of legacy and new product stacks. His aim is to create solutions that developers don't need to be coerced into adopting, but they want to use because they eliminate hassle and manual work from their jobs.
Alex Wilson
Alex Wilson
Alex Wilson has been a software developer at Unruly for approaching two years, during which time he has had the opportunity to experience and solve scaling issues with their software development methodologies. He takes particular delight in the application of both Continuous Delivery and Xtreme Programming practices to the "DevOps" process, made easier by Unruly's stance of emphasising the value of generalists over specialists.
Chris O'Dell
Chris O'Dell

Chris has been developing software with Microsoft technologies for nearly fourteen years. She currently works at Monzo helping to build the future of banking.

She has led teams delivering highly available Web APIs, distributed systems and cloud based services. She has also led teams developing internal build and deployment tooling using the unconventional mix of .Net codebases onto AWS infrastructure.

Chris promotes practices we know as Continuous Delivery, including TDD, version control, and Continuous Integration.

Niek Bartholomeus
Niek Bartholomeus

Niek Bartholomeus is a DevOps and Continuous Delivery evangelist who has implemented a Continuous Delivery pipeline during his most recent mission at ReQtest, a small agile company. Before that he was a technical architect at a large financial institution where he was responsible for bringing together the dev and ops teams, on a cultural as well as a tooling level. He currently works as a DevOps consultant for BMC. He has a background as a software architect and developer and is fascinated by finding the big picture out of the smaller pieces.

Sriram Narayanan
Sriram Narayanan

Continuous Delivery Consultant, Thoughtworks

I presently consult to customers on their Continuous Delivery and Agile Transformation needs. I bring to the table my knowledge regarding Infrastructure Automation, Agile Development practices and computer software technology, Software and Hardware Deployment, Enterprise Infrastructure, reducing time to market, and improving quality. I'm also working on Belenix (, an Illumos based distro. Belenix used to be the foundation of the now-defunct OpenSolaris distro. My current interests are OpenStack, Release Engineering for the Belenix/Illumos platform, and DTrace
Phil Wills
Phil Wills
Phil is senior software architect at the Guardian. He has worked on just about every part of the Guardian’s site and the tools which support it; building features, optimising performance and increasing resilience. Over the past two years, he’s helped the Guardian achieve *much* more frequent delivery.
Anna Shipman
Anna Shipman
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: She works mainly in Ruby and Puppet at the moment, though her past includes Python, Perl, Java and the JEE stack. She blogs at, tweets at @annashipman and is always up for a game of pool.
Rachel Laycock
Rachel Laycock
Rachel Laycock works for ThoughtWorks as a Market Technical Principal with over 10 years of experience in systems development. She has worked on a wide range of technologies and the integration of many disparate systems. Since working at ThoughtWorks, Rachel has coached teams on Agile and Continuous Delivery technical practices and has played the role of coach, trainer, technical lead, architect, and developer. She is now a member of the Technical Advisory Board to the CTO, which regularly produces the ThoughtWorks Technology Radar. Rachel is fascinated by problem solving and has discovered that people problems are often more difficult to solve than software ones.
Jan-Joost Bouwman
Jan-Joost Bouwman

Process Owner Service Operations and Service Transition

Patrick Debois
Patrick Debois
Patrick Debois is a developer, manager, sysadmin, and tester. He first presented concepts on Agile Infrastructure at Agile 2008 in Toronto, and in 2009 he organized the first ‘DevOpsDays‘. Since then he has been promoting the notion of ‘devops’ to exchange ideas between these groups and show how they can help each other to achieve better results in business.
Benji Weber
Benji Weber
Benji Weber is a developer at Unruly - a marketing technology company, where he has been delivering working software to production almost every working day for the last few years. He has had the privilege of working with a variety of different technologies and teams - experiencing some of the different challenges and opportunities for continuous delivery in different team sizes and tech stacks. Benji has a particular interest in Extreme Programming practices, Continuous Delivery, and Domain Driven Design; along with a wide range of technology interests.
Marc Cluet
Marc Cluet

Systems Architect / Integrator / DevOps / Hacker

Marc Cluet is an Engineer currently managing Operations at a Startup. A Systems Engineer, Network Engineer, Database Administrator, Project Manager and Team Manager with 17 years of experience across the globe (Spain, Switzerland, UK, US, Canada), expert in Software lifecycle and applying DevOps Cultural methodologies to all levels of Engineering. Marc has founded and worked at several startups and also at prestigious companies like Canonical or Rackspace, he also has contributed to Puppet, mcollective, Juju, Ubuntu and has helped architect Ubuntu MAAS. He has also presented at some of the most prestigious conferences and evangelised about DevOps Culture and Systems methodologies.
Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith is a Software Consultant for ThoughtWorks Australia. She originally got into software development through the coincidence of mandatory C++ classes that formed part of her Music Technology degree. She equally accidentally became interested world of infrastructure and operations worked ‘cos you gotta get software out somehow! Grudgingly this has translated into actually enjoying learning more about infrastructure and understanding how to keep things running in production.

Rob Lambert
Rob Lambert

Rob Lambert has been lucky enough to be part of some amazingly forward thinking companies. It lead to a rich understanding of how businesses succeed, but more importantly for Rob's life, a deep understanding of how to remain relevant and employable in ever changing markets. 

Rob teaches communication skills, how to be an amazing manager and how to remain employable in our changing world. He loves to teach and engage audiences through writing, podcasting and public presentations. 

He's a family man with three kids which keep him busy, but when he's not working, he's writing content. The thread that runs through it all is about constant change and personal growth. You'll see this in his books. 

Rob lives in Winchester, England with his family. He's also a keen photographer, podcaster and car enthusiast.  

He owns the Cultivated Management and Parent Brain brands.

Amy Phillips
Amy Phillips
Amy Phillips is Test Lead at Songkick, a start-up created to help you track your favourite bands so you never miss them live. She has spent the last 10 years testing in a variety of development environments for companies including Royal Mail, The Guardian, and Yahoo! After experiencing the value that a well-managed agile team can bring to software delivery Amy became passionate about adapting testing and quality techniques to work within a lean start-up environment. She strives to enable development teams to deliver quality, user-oriented products within the shortest possible time.
Lyndsay Prewer
Lyndsay Prewer

Lyndsay is an Agile Delivery Lead, currently working for Equal Experts. He’s passionate about helping how people, teams and organisations deliver IT solutions.

Martin Jackson
Martin Jackson

Freelance Linux and Virtualization Consultant

Freelance Linux and Virtualization Consultant, Devops advocate, Infrastructure as Code Hacker and keen Judoka. Specialties: • Making the impossible possible • Constantly seeking for ways to make things better • Accomplished Cat Herder • Master of Disaster • Honey Badger Whisper • Lemming Life Guard • Linux, GRID Computing and Virtualisation Expert • Agile Infrastructure and DevOps Advocate • Infrastructure as Code Hacker • Throwing people over my shoulder

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Contributors
  • Donation to Code Club
  • Continuous Delivery Foreword - Dave Farley
    • About Dave
  • DevOps Foreword - Patrick Debois
    • About Patrick Debois
  • Learning to dance to a faster rhythm - Chris O’Dell
    • The opening sonata
    • The slow adagio
    • The dance of the minuet
    • The closing sonata
    • About the contributor
  • DevOps-ifying a traditional enterprise - Niek Bartholomeus
    • Introduction
    • Organisation structure
    • Problems
    • Tactical solution: enhancing the existing communication flows
    • Structural solution: decentralisation
    • Summary
    • About the contributor
  • A testing transition from yearly to weekly releases - Rob Lambert and Lyndsay Prewer
    • The problem
    • Our vision
    • Who does the testing?
    • What approaches do we use?
    • The deployment process
    • Feedback loops
    • Challenges
    • The future
    • About the contributors
  • Delivering Continuous Delivery, continuously - Phil Wills and Simon Hildrew
    • Why deploy so frequently?
    • How did we make it a reality?
    • RiffRaff, a tool for simple deployment
    • Monitoring and alerting
    • Why not Continuous Deployment?
    • Roles and responsibilities
    • About the contributors
  • Making the world a better place - Marc Cluet
    • Context
    • High level DevOps
    • Is it all about ‘the Cloud’?
    • Introducing DevOps
    • Teaching an old dog new tricks
    • In Conclusion
    • About the contributor
  • Staying Xtremely Unruly through Growth - Alex Wilson and Benji Weber
    • Introduction
    • Testing in Production
    • Co-ordinating Shared Infrastructure
    • Making things visible
    • Services/Versioning
    • Delivering major design changes incrementally
    • Conclusion
    • About the contributors
  • We need two DevOps resources, please - Anna Shipman
    • Introduction
    • How we built a DevOps culture at GDS
    • GDS and the GOV.UK website
    • Our DevOps culture
    • The challenges we’ve faced
    • What can someone reading this take back to their organisation?
    • Coda
    • About the contributor
  • Process kick - Amy Phillips
    • Needing a change
    • Making the change
    • Seeing Progress
    • Dealing with uncertainty
    • Keeping the Peace
    • Did it work?
    • About the contributor
  • Scrum for Ops teams - James Betteley
    • About the contributor
  • DevOps in the mix - John Clapham
    • Introduction
    • An Unsustainable Pace
    • A Pause For Thought
    • First steps
    • Momentum
    • A Tipping Point
    • Reflections
    • About the contributor
  • You write it, you support it - Jennifer Smith
    • Understanding infrastructure
    • Feedback loops
    • Feedback loops from running systems
    • Shortening the feedback loop: “You write it, you support it”
    • Collaboration
    • Trying this yourself
    • Credits
    • About the contributor
  • Continuous Delivery across Time Zones and Cultures - Sriram Narayanan
    • Introduction
    • The Origin of the Build and Release Team
    • Taking stock
    • Performant environments and reduced functional test times
    • Network issues, bandwidth issues, and network latencies
    • Reducing build times
    • Providing predictable environments
    • Improving test predictability and stabilizing tests
    • Monitoring builds
    • Antipatterns
    • The pipeline structure
    • Lessons we learned for effective Continuous Delivery
    • Remaining challenges
    • Build and Release, or Infrastructure Engineering?
    • About the contributor
  • DevOps in an Enterprise environment - Jan-Joost Bouwman
    • Introduction
    • The process organisation
    • Starting the journey
    • Ambitions for the future and problems we are facing
    • About the contributor
  • Trust, configuration management, and other white lies - Martin Jackson
    • How do you do Continuous Delivery and DevOps within the UK Government?
    • How can trust be weakened in CD and DevOps in general?
    • How have we established trust within the UK Government?
    • Conclusion
    • Song title references
    • About the contributor
  • Avoiding the pendulum swing - Rachel Laycock
    • Context
    • Conway’s Law
    • No more dependencies!
    • 5 years passed later
    • Modularise all the things!
    • Death by autonomy
    • Stop the pendulum swing!
    • Parting thoughts
    • About the contributor
  • Communicate to collaborate - Matthew Skelton
    • Context
    • Problems and causes: mental and financial models, execution, and communication
    • Treat the build system as production
    • Improving the software release process
    • Fostering communication, collaboration, and trust
    • Raising awareness within teams and across the organisation
    • Results
    • Lessons learnt
    • About the contributor
  • 34 days - Steve Smith
    • Introduction
    • Year 1
    • Year 2
    • Year 3
    • Reflection
    • About the contributor
  • Contributor Q & A
    • How did you get involved in Continuous Delivery / DevOps?
    • What do you see as the biggest advantage of Continuous Delivery / DevOps?
    • What do you see as the biggest challenge in Continuous Delivery / DevOps?
  • Version History
  • Publisher details
  • Notes

Causes Supported

Code Club

A nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11.

We create projects for our volunteers to teach at after school coding clubs or at non-school venues such as libraries. The projects we make teach children how to program by showing them how to make computer games, animations and websites. Our volunteers go to their local club for an hour a week and teach one project a week. Each term the students will progress and learn more whilst at the same time using their imaginations and making creative projects. Terms 1 & 2 use Scratch to teach the basics of programming. Term 3 teaches the basics of web development using HTML and CSS. Term 4 teaches Python and so on. We’d like to put a Code Club in every single primary school in the country. There are over 21,000 primary schools in the UK, it’s a big task but we think we can do it!

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