Women in DevOps: Lisa Crispin

Written by: Liza McGraw

4 min read

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In our Women in DevOps blog series, you’ll hear from talented women in DevOps. They will share their experiences in DevOps, their thoughts on leadership, lessons learned and also how we can encourage more women to focus on an IT career.

Hello Lisa! Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm just starting a new opportunity working for mabl. Their product uses machine learning to help with test automation. I've been keen to learn about machine learning, AI and data analysis, so I'm super excited to get into all that. I'm a tester by trade.


"I particularly enjoy learning new business domains, helping teams build shared understanding of feature behavior and what value to deliver next to customers."


I've worked together with operations folks since my early days working as a programmer/analyst on big mainframe computers. I enjoy configuring continuous integration and collaborating to improve build and deploy pipelines. I have many other interests, including my three donkeys. I drive carts and wagons with them.

What ha s your experience been as a woman in the DevOps industry?

I've been in DevOps long before that term was coined in 2009. Back in the 80s, there were lots of women in tech, so I never felt I had any obstacles to learning. I really enjoyed giving all those big machines in the basement instructions via JCL and JES2! I've been extremely fortunate over the years to work on inclusive teams. Even when I've been the only woman on a team, I've been able to collaborate with teammates on DevOps activities. I was a technical reviewer on Jez Humble and David Farley's book Continuous Delivery when they were publishing it. I've just been so lucky. DevOps is really all about testing and quality, which is what I'm all about.

What has made you a leader in DevOps?

My desire to learn and share my own experiences with others. I've been lucky to work with leaders, such as Abby Bangser , to create innovative workshops that help testers and others learn about continuous delivery and pipelines.

What can we do as an industry to encourage more gender diversity?

It's hard work to continually remember to be inclusive. It's also hard work to seek out under-represented minorities and employ them or invite them to submit proposals to a conference. We have to do the hard work ALL THE TIME. I'm grateful to people like Ash Coleman for helping us learn ways to do this. I highly recommend her recent "Ask Me Anything " video.

How can women build each other up and support each other in this industry?

On social media, we see lots of retweets and likes of content created by leading men practitioners.


"I go out of my way to look for great posts, podcasts, videos and other content created by women and other underrepresented minority practitioners."


I find so many terrific ones and I make sure to publicize them as much as I can through tweeting and sharing. I hope more people will do that. We have to work harder to promote the great work of people who don't just automatically get recognized because they've enjoyed more privilege and opportunities.

Do you feel like you have to work harder than your male counterparts to be successful in this industry? Can you cite an example?

I can't count the number of times I've been "mansplained," especially in work meetings, even though I have always worked with well-intentioned men. I've had upper managers disrespect me in meetings when I share my knowledge and experience. They apologize later, but I don't think they would do the same thing to me if I were a man with my exact same experience and knowledge.


"Coming from my experiences, I have realized women always have to do at least twice as much to get recognized."


For women of color, maybe ten times as much or more. I can't even imagine.

Any closing thoughts?

I'm sad about the term "DevOps" because it leaves out "testing.” Testing is central to having the confidence to continuously deliver new code to production. If you read Continuous Delivery , it's all about testing. I wish we just referred to it all as "CD" for continuous delivery. It’s a lot more inclusive when you don't name specific roles.

I loveKatrina Clokie's bookA Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps . Janet Gregory and I have a lot of good information related to continuous delivery and DevOps, including contributions from other expert practitioners, in our More Agile Testing book. We're lucky to have so much information to help us learn how to deliver value to our customers frequently, at a sustainable pace (paraphrasing Elisabeth Hendrickson there).

I'm super excited to [have co-facilitated] a day-long workshop on the Whole Team Approach to Continuous Delivery with Ashley Hunsberger at CAST 2018 . In September, I'm co-facilitating a day-long workshop with Christin Wiedemann at KWSQA called "Build Your DevOps Road Map" .

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