Interview: John Lewis Partnership, DevOps Excellence Awards finalist

'Many businesses talk about purpose, but we walk with it.'

clock • 3 min read
Rob Hornby, Platform Product Manager & Engineering Manager, John Lewis Partnership
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Rob Hornby, Platform Product Manager & Engineering Manager, John Lewis Partnership

DevOps is one of the most talked-about techniques for modern software development. It is a practice that aims to combine operations, quality control and development into a single, continuous set of procedures.

Computing's DevOps Excellence Awards showcase outstanding achievements from organisations, personalities and solutions that have successfully applied DevOps methodologies.

This year's winners will be announced at a live awards ceremony on Tuesday, 14th March in London.

One of the finalists is John Lewis Partnership, in the running for the Best Implementation of DevSecOps.

We talked to Rob Hornby, Platform Product Manager & Engineering Manager at John Lewis Partnership, to find out what makes his company different from its peers.

Rob is a versatile engineering manager with a background in software delivery in DevOps and agile delivery environments. He says he has been lucky to work in and lead great teams.

In his own words: "I'm not going to build the tech, I will help build effective teams with the right skills, direction of travel/roadmap and ways of working to enable a high quality digital platform. Throughout, the focus is on measurement and value outcomes."

Computing: Please provide some background on your company for our readers.

Rob Hornby: For over 100 years, the John Lewis Partnership has set out to be a force for good, that principle is alive and well within our business today, across our two brands John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.

Many businesses talk about purpose, but we walk with it - aiming to make sufficient profit to create a Partnership that is fairer and more sustainable for all partners, customers, suppliers and communities we serve.

Our purpose promise, "Working in partnership for a happier world," is not just a slogan. It is a deeply rooted and unshakable commitment that acts as our guide, inspires all our principles and influences every decision we make. Through it, we not only do things differently, but better. Always striving to make the world a better and happier place for everyone and everything our business touches.

What makes you different from other technology companies?

As co-owners we all have a share in the business and a shared commitment to go above and beyond for each other and our customers. We have a unifying purpose created by partners, for partners. Our purpose makes it clear why we exist, our ultimate aim as a business and gives us an exciting opportunity to do things differently. This extends to the engineering outcomes that we produce.

What one company achievement in the last 12 months are you most proud of?

We've been focused on building our digital platforms to be focused around the ownership of those services by those who build them. In doing so we want to measure the value that brings through improving developer experience and use of DORA metrics to continually improve at what and how we deliver for our customers.

What are you working on this year?

Ensuring the skills of our engineers are maximised and our ways of working are efficient as they can be building on our culture of empowerment to deliver as much value as we can for our business in very uncertain times for retail.

Why are events like the DevOps Excellence Awards important to the IT industry?

Industry awards allow us to recognise hard work and celebrate achievements and successes. They allow us to compare ourselves against the best of the best in the industry. Additionally we appreciate the opportunity to talk publicly about the John Lewis Partnership, which we passionately believe is the best place to work in IT!

Computing's DevOps Excellence Awards take place on 14th March in London. Click here to view the shortlist and here to book your table.

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