Monthly Archives: October 2022

DOES 22 – Baby, it’s back – A Summary

And it’s over!

The first post-pandemic DevOps Enterprise Summit. I am sorry I doubted you DOES, thinking now that I nearly gave it a pass feels crazy given how much positive energy, great ideas, and inspiring stories I was able to take away from the conference.

So here come my reflections on what I saw this year:


  • Unavoidably Covid, the economic outlook, and the situation in Ukraine were a constant backdrop to the stories and shows how organisations weathered the storm
  • The hallway track and exhibition hall was full of discussions about Developer Experience, Developer platforms, and Developer productivity (and some consensus that you cannot measure productivity easily, but you can measure the reduction of toil as a proxy)
  • On stage the themes were:
    1. Bringing business and IT together
    2. Automated governance and making audits less painful
    3. The support of expert teams, platform teams, (and whatever else you call it) that can help your DevOps journey

Top 3 talks:

Transformed! A Musical DevOps Journey with Forrest Brazeal

 What a performance – I cannot wait to share the video once available. The songs were funny and heartfelt, the appeal in the middle was close to my heart and he had the whole audience captive for his session. Thanks, Forrest, I hope you go viral!
Check it out here.

adidas: How Software Engineering Boosts the Next Adidas Commerce Transformation

A smashing video that showed the Tech behind Adidas, a presentation showing how Adidas innovated at a fast pace and the incredible scale Fernando deals with. A couple of interesting takeaways:

  • Each of his technology hubs owns a technical capability, which made each hub a priority in its own right and less focus back on HQ
  • The incredible economic impact outages can have (1M per hour at peak)
  • What incredible fun it can be to solve problems when you are close to your customers

Simplification and Slowification: Creating Conditions for the Enterprise’s Distributed Intelligence to Achieve Unparalleled Results

A powerful analogy about painting rooms and moving furniture. The ideas of simplification and slowification will need to sit with me for a little while before I fully get my head around them. Some great sound bits – “Winners harvest the intellectual horsepower of their organisation”. As a leader you need to shape the time and space of your people, so that can solve problems when they are not under high pressure and can operate safely later. You can read a bit more about the analogy here

A quick flyby of some of the other amazing talks:

Do I Need to Insource to Achieve My DevOps Goals?

An appeal to figure out how to work with Global SIs given they make up a large part of the industry. Not very surprising that I felt spoken to. And a great re-iteration from Gene upfront that the DevOps survey found that it is not outsourcing that is a problem for DevOps, it’s functional outsourcing that creates barriers that is the problem.

Airbnb’s Nimble Evolution: Chapter One How Airbnb is Evolving Its Ways of Working

A nice view of the early steps, the first chapter, of Airbnb’s evolution with a key takeaway being the problem of having too much WIP to be successful

2×2: Organizing for DevOps Success in Large Bureaucracy

The 2×2 matrix of unity of command vs proximity to customer outcomes will become a staple in my client discussions. So simple, so powerful

Dear Security, Compliance, and Auditors, We’re Sorry. Love, DevOps.

A really interesting view under the hood of automated governance. Lots of interesting things to take away and try out.

Creating the Value Flywheel Effect

 Lots to digest in this one about cloud migrations and serverless – I also liked the term “legacy cloud” for apps migrated but not transformed. 

Automated Governance Changed What We Believed In

This one hit close – the story about automated governance showing how a team didn’t follow a corporate standard which could have been cause for dismissal gave me a perspective that I hadn’t had before. Really worth considering when speaking about psychological safety.

Operational Excellence in April Fools’ Pranks: Being Funny Is Serious Work!

Fun presentation by Tom and then it ended up also being insightful about the need and power of good operational controls and feature flags. A talk worth a rewatch.

Human Complications (and Complicated Humans) in Digital Transformation

Very insightful talk about success in digital transformations. I especially liked the idea that products are the software-tised versions of the business. Honesty and alignment as core tenants for success resonated with me as well.

CSG: CSG’s Ongoing Transformation Story

The quote “Leadership looks a lot like loving people” was such an interesting aspect that I am still thinking about how appropriate or inappropriate the analogy is. 

Disney: Disney Global SRE – Creating Digital Magic

Another Jason Cox masterpiece with plenty of Star Wars imagery – I still think Jedi Engineering Training Academy is super cool. How do I get a certification from that academy?!? The talk was powerful as it gave good advice on how a shared service can be successful: In summary: Actually help your customers 

Lessons Learned in Engineering Leadership

A humbling story from Michael Winslow who made the journey back from management to individual contributor. A story told with lots of feeling. All the best for your next step Michael.

And then the last talk blew it all out of the water…

Right Fit, Wrong Fit – Why How You Work Matters More Than What You Value by Andre Martin

He spoke about the importance of fit that a person needs to have with the company they work in. People referred to it as a TED talk and that is absolutely correct. I cannot wait for his book to come out next year. The advice to really get to know yourself and your values (not the values you want to have, but the ones you do) and how incredibly impactful the right fit is inspired me. I have to share this talk with many people I know. Thank you Andre.

I could have listed a dozen more here – It was a great event and the whole DevOps community was beaming just for being back together. And the talks gave us all things to take back to our organisations and we made new friends along the way. Looking forward to DevOps Enterprise Summit 2023 already.

Check out the videos of all these talks – you can find the ITRevolution video library here

DevOps Heresy – Breaking Rules Consciously

This week is the big family re-union of the DevOps family at the DevOps Enterprise Summit 2022 in Las Vegas. I was lucky enough to be invited back as a speaker and was preparing my talk about DevOps Heresy – things I do that break the “common” rules of DevOps when I realised I cannot squeeze it all into my allocated time.

In my talk I speak about things that might surprise you about some of my teams. I would have called these DevOps Heresy myself a few years ago ( … and I am looking over my shoulder wondering whether the “DevOps police” is turning up any minute)

– The team did not fail pipelines with failed tests

– The team did deploy code that had failed security scans

– The team chose manual cloud deployments over automation

– The team moved from Full Stack to a federated model

I have learned so much from working in large complex enterprises over the last few years that I wanted to share it all in one talk – and of course I realise there is not enough time to cover it all.

Hence I feel I have no choice but to write a series of blog posts that go deeper into the world of DevOps heresy and why I think context is king.

My talk finishes with the unsolved riddle of how to find the right balance between pragmatic progress and evangelism that pushes the boundary. This is the real trick of any large-scale transformation I find. I will remain a pragmatic evangelist of DevOps. Looking forward to sharing a few steps of my recent journey with the community.