New Faces: Meet Jérôme LeLeu
Meet our newest team member, senior developer Jérôme Leleu. He talks about the challenges of working in harmony through cloud infrastructure migration. Namely, how the “operations” side of things can be sidelined, just when they are needed most. Based in our Bordeaux technical hub, Jérôme knows all about the grey area between the day-to-day of computer engineering and meeting expectations of upper management.
-What’s up Jérôme, can you introduce yourself?
"I’ve always been a passionate developer. Starting out, I worked for IT consulting companies mostly as a developer and project manager. I then moved to a big company as a software architect and technical leader. Over the past few years, I’ve really been involved in Open Source. For two years, I also ran my own cloud authentication solution startup in the Cloud.
I’d say my interests are in security, cloud, Open Source; on a personal front: my wife and two kids, and being part of the tech community here in Bordeaux, France."
-What are the biggest challenges for companies migrating to the cloud, from a developer's point of view?
"Companies want to move fast (and ever faster) to quickly deliver new features to the market, at the lowest cost. The cloud looks like the perfect way to facilitate this, as a way to “bypass” the Ops (operations) teams, letting developers provision servers and ship the software in production… more “directly” —in effect shortening the supply chain to speed up time to market. But of course, there is no magic solution: the cloud has a cost that must be intelligently considered (in some cases it might be cheaper to host software on site). The Ops teams are well positioned to assess this and still needed to handle many other aspects of IT: security, network, backup, … (even if they don’t need to install raw servers in blades anymore). So one challenge, that I’ve seen on numerous occasions is getting management to understand the continued value of operations teams within a cloud infrastructure environment… how to reshuffle responsibility without losing value."
-How can the rest of the company support (what can they do concretely) the technical team through this transition?
"The Ops teams must be strongly involved with the cloud migration process, but not just as another team in a random business unit, they need to be hands on and champion the process.
The Cloud is just a tool which provides great benefits when it is used properly. Removing all processes and letting developers handle server provisioning without any control is a mistake, as much of a mistake as as keeping a separate Ops team whose sole responsibility is to provision servers, in the cloud or on site.
Organization and processes must be re-strategized and updated to best serve cloud migration."
-How technically aware do you need upper management to be to do your job optimally? Where’s the fine line between being micromanaged and a lack of communication?
"Management is not technical expertise. I don’t need a manager who can do my job better than I do, but of course it’s necessary for managers to have a basic understanding of what the people they manage do. As a technical leader, I have always found leading a team works best when you can just say to someone you manage: “ok, give me your keyboard and I’ll show you how to do it”. But, management is obviously much more than that. The manager must be able to get the best of each person they manage, for the best of the company and of themselves."
-What, if any, is the role of knowledge transfer in terms of developing IT skills and help other staff become self sufficient on new technologies?
"Knowledge transfer is a key factor to develop IT skills, as it takes time to gather experience and receiving feedback from someone who’s been there before is always a good way to learn a lot quickly. That said, “theory” without practice leads nowhere so advice and feedback must be put into practice to be really valuable."
-Why did you decide to come and work at OneKloud? What are we offering that others are not?
"My previous position was in a big corporation, a situation with its various pros and cons, one of the cons in my mind are the numerous decision-makers across the hierarchy who have the potential to massively slow down things, without adding value.
My core reason for joining OneKloud were my desire to work in the Cloud and in a more agile environment and mindset. And despite the fact I’m generally less concerned by the budget issues/tracking as a “technical guy”, the OneKloud solution would definitely be a product I would like to see in cloud dependant workplaces as a way to harmonise and focus developers, ops and c-levels, to provide a framework and transparency by closely predicting and then tracking cloud cost / consumption and of course avoiding bad surprises at the end of the month for everyone involved."
-We have a unique international and startup way of working here at OneKloud, how does that suit you? What are the advantages and challenges compared to other companies?
"Diversity is always a strength and a way to learn new things, in a more hands-on and intense way. Working remotely and in different timezones require people to be autonomous and able to organize themselves. Somehow, by limiting face-to-face interactions forces people to focus on key points and be more efficient in their communication. In a big corporation, you generally need a big plan before starting something, with the evaluation of many aspects, it can be arduous. At OneKloud, we focus on the main 20%, take more risks and accept to fail, this means we are more efficient and successful in the mid-term which strengthens our longer term vision."
- What will be the main changes to how Cloud infrastructure is used in companies over the next 5 or 10 years?
"Companies will need to adapt their Ops teams to the Cloud and certainly reconcile them with the developers. They will also need to strongly control the costs of the cloud (as flexibility and scalability does not mean cheaper) and this is exactly where the OneKloud solution comes into play."