Sarah Wells

Technical Director for Engineering Enablement at the Financial Times

Sarah Wells has been a developer for 20 years, leading delivery teams across consultancy, financial services, and media. Building the FT's content and metadata publishing platform using a microservices-based architecture led her to develop a deep interest in operability, observability, and DevOps, and at the beginning of 2018 she took over responsibility for Operations and Reliability at the Financial Times.  

More recently, Sarah moved to take over Engineering Enablement, adding platform and security engineering into the mix. She now leads a group of teams at the FT who build tools and services for other engineers.

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Session

Enabling Engineering Productivity at the Financial Times

The Financial Times has embraced autonomy in our development teams, and as a result we move pretty fast - over 30,000 releases in a year from a development team of around 250. Because we have a wide variety of technical architectures, processes and team structures, we need to make sure that all those autonomous teams build in security, fault detection, and cost efficiency.    

This is the responsibility of the Engineering Enablement group at the FT: teams who provide tooling and services for common capabilities like DNS, content delivery, cloud provisioning, observability, etc.; manage relationships with vendors; and provide insights and oversight to all our development teams.  

To do this effectively, we have adopted principles and practices that centre on making sure teams don’t need to wait for us to do things, and we have stayed constantly focused on what our customer teams need from us.  

In this session, I’ll talk in detail about our approach and share what you can learn from our experiences working in this area for the last three years.

Date

Wednesday Nov 3 / 08:00AM PDT (40 minutes)

Track

Optimizing Your Organization for Speed

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Session

Engineering Leadership Lessons for Improving Flow

Please join this panel of industry experts to talk about how to lead organizational change to improve velocity and quality.

We will discuss topics like:  

  • How to improve organizational structures to help teams focus on the most important priorities
  • How to recognize and remove organizational, process, and cultural impediments to fast flow
  • How to find the sweet spot between standardization and team autonomy
  • How to manage technical debt, and how to decide whether to declare tech bankruptcy

Bring your own questions and topics as well!

Date

Wednesday Nov 3 / 11:00AM PDT (40 minutes)

Track

Optimizing Your Organization for Speed

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