Meet the Bees: Tammy Fox

Written by: Georgiana Patru

The following blog post is the latest edition of Meet the Bees, a series in which we get to know the employees at CloudBees (affectionately known internally as “Bees”). In today’s post, the spotlight is on Tammy Fox, Director of Technical Publications!

With a diverse professional background, Tammy pioneers in managing content development based on the approach that blends both engineering and customer success methods. Driven by the passion for tech and attention to detail, Tammy ensures that all the technical content created at CloudBees delivers clarity and builds confidence by addressing the needs of the intended audience. 

We managed to catch up with Tammy amid her busy schedule to know more about her experience at CloudBees, likes, dislikes, and life in general. Here are the highlights from our interesting fireside chat with Tammy.

Who are you? What is your role at CloudBees?

My name is Tammy Fox and I am the Director of Technical Publications. I lead a team of technical writers with a “shift-left” approach to documentation. Our team of technical writers is fully embedded across different software development teams to ensure the release of complete documentation simultaneously with each new feature. I am also the business owner and project manager for the documentation platform launched in October 2019. 

What does a typical day look like for you? 

On an average day, I attend planning and strategy meetings, either related to specific product documentation, our continuously improving release and development cycles, customer communication improvement, documentation improvements based on field experience or new feature priorities for the documentation platform.

I also talk to each writer on my team individually once a week to check in with them and make sure they have all the information and support they need. I help them coordinate work across multiple Jira boards in simultaneous two-week sprints. For the boards related to documentation and the docs platform, I triage the Jira backlog to organize and assign tickets to the team, set priorities and help them track down all the information they need to complete a task or fix a bug.

What is your best experience, so far, in working at CloudBees? What has been the best thing you have worked on since joining CloudBees?

Working at CloudBees has been a wonderful experience. The best thing I have done so far is hiring a product documentation team that truly believes in the “shift-left” approach of writing documents alongside the rest of the team building the software. Also, designing a docs platform to allow for a versioned, continuously-updated, “crowd-sourced” documentation site using docs as code has been an incredible experience.

Do you have any advice for someone starting a career in software delivery?

Always adopt the philosophy of continuous integration, development and delivery. Release often and don’t be afraid to fail. Nobody is perfect and neither is software. Obviously, make sure to have a great set of tests, and automate as many tests as possible, but don’t let the fear of failure hold you back from delivering software improvements.

If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Let me tell you, this is the most difficult question so far because I love food, all sorts of food! If I could eat only one meal for the rest of my life, it has to be fried rice for sure! So that I could add to it whatever I want and make it spicy when I want a kick of spice to wake me up. Does that count as one meal? ;)

What is your favorite sport?

Tennis is definitely my favorite sport. I love watching it on TV, watching it live and playing it whenever I get the chance. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was playing on three teams and looked forward to each match.

What is your favorite social media platform and why?

My answer probably dates me, but I still like Facebook. For me, the main reason for using social media is to keep in touch with the people I know, and Facebook allows me to post and comment without any word limit and assures that only the people I trust see what I post. To me, it is an escape from my work life and a medium to infuse a bit of humor in other people’s lives.

If you weren’t working in your field, what would you be doing?

Happily teaching or cooking professionally. I love helping others learn and I enjoy being creative. I think these two fields adequately cater to both the requirements.

What are some of your best tips and tricks for software development and delivery?

Always think about simplification through automation while developing and delivering software. The more you automate repeatable tasks, the more time you have to solve additional problems, improve software or perform user research. Nobody likes to repeat the same tasks over and over again. Therefore, automate them to eliminate persisting human errors and fill your day with more interesting challenges. Another critical tip is to make sure that the complex processes that can’t be automated are well-documented as repeatable steps. 

What is the most common mistake made in software development and delivery?

The most common mistake that I’ve seen in companies is disconnected teams. Great software development requires communication and constant coordination between the different groups in the product and support organizations. Engineers can’t build the best software without user feedback from the customer-facing field teams or quality engineers who eventually test what is built. Engineers may struggle to focus on the most needed features without the product managers’ research work. Technical writers can’t explain how to use new software features without understanding the intended user journey through the user interface as developed by the designers or without understanding what problems the feature solves without consulting the product marketing managers. Thus, seamless coordination between teams is inevitable for successful software development and delivery.

What do you think the future holds for DevOps/CI/CD?

I think the future of DevOps/CI/CD includes tighter integration between all the software layers that need to talk to each other. 

Catching up with Tammy Fox and learning more about her role and responsibilities at CloudBees was surely a delightful experience. Watch this space to meet more Bees in our upcoming posts.

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