DevOps at Jumbo is a Mindset

Nowadays almost every job description in IT features the word “DevOps”. In its broadest definition it describes the integration of processes from development to maintenance and everything in between. 

DevOps: More about people than about processes

“But the thing is: it’s more about people and culture, than it is about processes, procedures and departments. It’s a mindset!” Bastiaan Bronwasser, One of the Team Leads within Jumbo Tech Campus, talks to us about the DevOps way of working at Jumbo’s Tech Campus. 

He describes the way Jumbo IT worked a few years ago: “Our Core organization used to be quite segregated. That slowed processes down. And there was another source of delays: “We depended on quite a few external suppliers for key parts of our IT infrastructure.”

When you see a chance, take it

The switch to a new data warehousing solution provided the opportunity for change. “We chose to do more ourselves and integrate departments to optimize the exchange of information and development speed.” Nowadays there are no less than 60 scrum teams on the Jumbo Tech Campus. Compared to just a handful a few years ago.

The change came at the right moment. IT was becoming far more important than it ever had been. Bastiaan: “There was competition to keep up with and Jumbo kept growing. 

Learning to swim in the deep end

“The new situation is quite an improvement”, according to Bastiaan. “We can move to implement it far quicker than ever before.” But the new way of working is not for everyone. “When there are far less procedures to be followed, the amount of personal and team responsibility is much higher.”, he explains. “It’s a high-dynamic environment with limited middle management to keep us flexible. We run lots of projects at the same time, we’re very informal and you really need to embrace the relative independence. Sure, there’s always someone around to guide and coach you, but other than that, we trust you’re a professional and that you can do what you do best. Both alone and in a team.” 

A day in the life

“We always start off the day as a team, in a daily standup.”, Bastiaan tells us when we ask him about a typical workday. “We discuss the progress of new developments in a sprint. We find out if there are any disruptions or issues we need to resolve. After that is time to go to work, which is one part developing new features for the supermarkets, warehouses, HQ users and so on. Another part is keeping systems’ performance optimal. And then there’s answering incoming questions and resolving issues, via tickets. With roughly 3500 colleagues there’s always quite a few questions coming in during any given day. This, like any other part of our work is quite dynamic and with an organization like this big and challenging, lingering issues can cause other issues down the line, so speedy responses and fixes are required. I love this way of working because it’s dynamic and diverse. I would get bored doing the same thing for too long. ”

‘No’ to yearly reviews. ‘Yes’ to optimal personal and professional growth

Speed can cause mistakes to be made. Bastiaan: “And that’s perfectly fine. Just as long as you learn from them. And they make for interesting conversations when I sit down with my team members. Things move too fast here to wait 12 months before finding out if someone’s happy and productive. So, we don’t do yearly reviews.

We sit down with everyone every 3 months. And we don’t just talk about hard skills, but we actively coach people to embrace change, personal responsibility and to work on their soft skills as well. And with great results. As soon as you set foot on our campus; you’ll see lots of passionate professionals working together. People from all parts of the world who know that they can push themselves to become better and build an impressive career for themselves at Jumbo.”