My first three months at DOG

Isabel Robson teaching

I’m Isabel, one of the new members of the DevOpsGroup team. My role is Senior Client Success Manager for DevOps, and I’m fast approaching the end of my first three months at DOG. And what a blast it’s been!

I’ve worked in business transformation and service improvement for around sixteen years, and for the last seven, I ran my own business contracting out project management and business analysis. Since moving to Wales from London in 2015, I’d heard about DevOpsGroup but assumed that they wouldn’t be interested in me as I wasn’t a “techie” type.

But fast forward three years, and I realised that I was really missing the learning and challenge you get from other people and being part of a real team. Contracting is great, but it can be a bit of an echo chamber. I yearned for a new challenge – something that’d accelerate my career.

A colleague happened to mention DOG, and I looked up their website. Instantly, I fell in love – and I ended up speaking to their lovely recruitment team. Sophie, who is a recruitment specialist at DOG, took the time to listen and invited me to send in a CV.

I came in for an interview, and the office alone made me realise I wanted to work here. It was really lively and buzzed with energy (plus the funky artwork, of course). The interview is very in-depth, and you really get a sense of the company. I was on the train when I was told I had got the job, and I can remember having to leave the carriage to go and squeal in the corridor. It was an amazing feeling.

I’ve worked in technology transformation for a long time, but it’s been a steep learning curve here. You are encouraged to ask questions and learn as much as you can. DOG new starters receive five carefully selected books, and this sets the tone for continuous learning (we also have a bookclub).

Coming from contracting, I was a bit apprehensive about going back into a permie performance culture. However, the organisational structure is really flat, and performance management is designed to be lean. This is very refreshing. We use Slack to talk, so even if you’re remote or offsite, you can speak to anyone. What’s more, the founders James and Steve are in the office at least 50% of the time and are definitely approachable. We operate a remote-first and paperless office, and it’s great to practise what we preach.

My onboarding lasted for two weeks, and in this time, I attended a variety of sessions and talks to better understand the company, products, tools and team. This process made me feel at ease and helped me to hit the ground running. In the DevOps team, we spend more time on site than other areas of the business. So, I was doing billable work within four weeks and managing my client solo in six weeks.

As a Client Success Manager, I manage the client relationship, delivery of the engagement, resources and the team (usually a mix of engineers and consultants), as well as client logistics for being onsite. I also line manage three members of staff and have just taken on my second delivery brief, working with a defence company.

One of the best things about working here? Being able to get involved in stuff that interests you. I love training people, and now I’m helping to deliver the BCS Foundation Certificate in DevOps course and write the BCS Foundation Certificate in DevOps text book. I’ve also delivered my first DOGConf presentation and session (on mental health and wellbeing) and attended some great after hours meets, including Women Rock (and the complimentary drinks were pretty good too).

As an ex-contractor (and there’s a fair few of us here), I’d say I definitely made the right decision. I’m absolutely loving life at DOG, and making the leap has been good for me.

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