A Conversation with Anne Harper, Quality and Happiness Advocate

Anne Harper

Anne Harper, Release Captain at Scality

Despite her modest attitude, Anne Harper, Release Captain and 2nd time Le Club winner, is widely admired and appreciated for her communication savvy and passion for quality. Her work involves coordinating the efforts of all players—developers, technical services, and management—to put out features and fixes that will make customers happy. According to Pierre Derome, VP of Engineering, Anne is always looking for ways to make things better for the customer and for developers. She shared with me some thoughts about her job and why she loves it.

JW:      I read that you originally wanted to be a doctor.

AH:      I really loved my first year of medical school—I even did it twice! But I think it’s really a blessing that I’m not a doctor. The theory was so interesting, but I think the practice is not for me.

JW:      Was ENSIIE your first contact with programming?

AH:      Not quite, but it wasn’t long after my starting point. Programming was strange to me at first but one day I had a lightbulb moment. I realized you have to create, not just learn. I’d been used to learning, but I’d never learned to create.

Anne Harper

JW:      What did you come to like about computer engineering?

AH:      It’s like a whole world we’re all building together. It’s expanding more and more and there’s always room to improve because it’s so new. I’m opening my eyes on new stuff every day.

JW:      In your opinion what does it take to do your job well?

AH:      I think it’s trying to understand everyone’s positions. Everybody has a different opinion on when something is ready, and they are all right. Each standpoint has a value, but you have to make compromises.

Actually compromise is the biggest part of it. It’s all about, how can we help everybody?

JW:      Pierre, your manager, mentioned that you advocate for developer happiness.

AH:      I do, yes. Because happy developers will build good products. They are very smart people and here at Scality, they are so nice! So it’s a pleasure to work with them. If developers are not happy with what they’re doing and if they feel they’re not listened to, then the product suffers in the end. Also at Scality, people care. Everybody has something to say, and they are all here for a reason.

JW:      What do you find rewarding about what you do?

AH:      I really like those times when I can feel a lot of team spirit. It’s mostly in situations when we have to stay late, so it’s good that it doesn’t happen too much! But it’s this feeling that everybody is ready to go and fight together and help each other. It’s really fantastic. It’s not said; it’s just felt.

In my day-to-day work, I’m glad when people say, ‘This helps me in my work and I’m happier at work because of it.’

JW:      Is there anything important that you’ve learned over your career so far?

AH:      You can always improve, especially at Scality. You have the means to express when you feel something is not working. And in fact, when I started to do that instead of just being grumpy about it, everything opened for me. I could be more positive and say, ‘I don’t like that but let’s try this instead.’

JW:      What’s on your bucket list?

AH:      I’ve been wanting to go to Japan for three years. And actually, there are lots of other destinations I’d like to discover after that! So traveling, probably. Traveling every year.

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