Staff Interview: Tess Flynn, DevOps Engineer

Staff interview with Tess Flynn, TEN7's DevOps Engineer.
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Tess Flynn

Platform Architect, TEN7

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When did you start at TEN7, and what were you doing prior to joining us?

Why did you accept the offer?

What does your daily routine look like now?

​What's your favorite part of the day?


IVAN STEGIC: Hello! You're listening to a TEN7 Audiocast. We're here today for a team member interview with Tess Flynn, our DevOps Engineer. I'm Ivan Stegic, Founder and President of TEN7. Hello, Tess!


IVAN: When did you start at TEN7, and what were you doing prior to joining us?

TESS: I was working for FFW and I was laid off. So I was looking for something to pick up real quick because that did not happen at a good moment for me financially, and you were looking for someone to help re-do your deployment strategy and I thought, 'Wow, that sounds like it'd be lots of fun. I'll go do that.' Did that for the next three months as a freelancer. The last 2 jobs that I worked at, they were larger organizations by the time I left but they both had the same inherent problem, which is that when you work for them you're given a job title and that's what you do. You don't really break out of that job title and do anything more interesting or more different unless extraordinary circumstances arise, and most of the time, that just doesn't happen in these larger organizations. The idea of just continuing on with TEN7 was very appealing because this is an organization which is small enough that everyone has to do a little bit of everything. Which means that if you have an interesting idea or slightly off-kilter idea that sounds a little bit too... Well, we could try it and see where it goes. *laughter* You're more likely to get more buy in, and I’ve definitely seen that in my tenure here so far as we've completely re-done all of the deployment strategies to completely automated nature using our own open source stuff. We now have our own automated multi-tier backup system which is also all open source. That's a lot of things we've created in the last few months that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do at other organizations.

IVAN: Why did you accept the offer?

TESS: I was actually talking to a former co-worker of mine about this just the other day. He received the survey question that asked, 'When were you happiest at work?'. Both of us kind looked at that question, yeah, I was happiest back then when we were working for a smaller company, because you always got to do more stuff, That was something I really found appealing, and I realized I have this now. Plus I really needed health insurance.

TESS and IVAN: *laughter*

IVAN: Well, your job description is DevOps Engineer. Why don't you tell us what you really do at TEN7 and what does your daily routine look like?

TESS: The first I usually do is I check my email, I check Slack, and I usually check our operations channel, because we have a monitoring system that will record any site outages on the operations channel. If there are outages, the first thing I do is I drop everything and I go check that. And if there's nothing that immediately pressing, then I usually I go on to check my email, because usually at that point, some issue that is operations related will get down to me. If nothing actually is in my email that I have to deal with immediately, then usually I’ll start going through the issues queue, and see if I can pick up some client work or project or internal project work that we need to do.

IVAN: And what's your favorite part of the day, do you think?

TESS: It really comes down to the bookends of the day, Because I actually like that period that's between 8 and 9:30, because it's usually quiet enough no one's really working on pressing issues unless if something's on fire so that you can sit and focus on your day going off to a nice rolling start, rather than a panic shock.

IVAN: *laughter* We don't like that.

TESS: And of course, towards the end of the day, around 3 o’clock in the afternoon things are starting to wind down a little bit. People are, you know, kind of selecting the last issue they're going to working on for the day. The system's still up and still running, so you have a lot less interruptions, a lot less concerns. You can spend a lot more time just focusing on getting stuff done and then closing your day out.

IVAN: I've never thought about having 2 different parts of the day that are my favorites. I love that. Well, thank you so much for your time, Tess. That brings us to the end of this Audiocast. I'd like to thank you once again for sharing today. Please visit us at and keep an eye out on the TEN7 blog for future Audiocasts. This is Ivan Stegic, and thank you for listening.

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