In his recent article for DevOps.com, Gene Kim shares a taste of what to expect this year at DevOps Enterprise Summit, and gives us a behind-the-scenes look inside the programming committee goals and how they informed the overall conference organization.
The Format of the Conference
The quality of the speakers is a major contributing factor to the success of a conference — after all, why bother spending three days somewhere if there are no remarkable people there in the first place?
The DevOps Enterprise Summit is a three-day conference, featuring 14 keynote sessions and about 36 other sessions in concurrent tracks.
Last year, all talks were 30 minutes, which we thought worked very well. Even though this can be challenging for speakers to put everything into a half-hour, what TED Talks have shown us is that even the most complex ideas can be conveyed in a short amount of time. As an attendee, I personally love the shorter talks because it allows me to experience many ideas and concepts within a short amount of time.
As a conference organizer, it’s also fantastic, because it allows us to put more speakers on the schedule. This is super important, because there are so many worthy talks that we want to showcase. This year, we had over 220 submissions. I can’t express the amazing quality of the submissions, and we would have accepted more if it were possible.
More Experience Reports
We want to hear the firsthand accounts of DevOps transformation in large, complex organizations, at all stages of the journey, so we structure the conference around experience reports delivered in a very specific form. We ask the experts to tell us about their
- specific business process or application that they were focused on,
- problems they experienced, ideally with metrics around deployment lead time,
- what they did about it,
- and the business value that was created.
Amazing Expert Talks in the Top Five Problem Areas
I asked that every speaker at DevOps Enterprise 2014 end with a slide addressing one of the two following titles: “Here’s what I don’t know how to do” or “Here’s what I’m looking for help with.” We wanted a glimpse into what the top problems were that the entire community was facing, which we could then use as a research roadmap.
The top issues stated in 2014 were:
- Better strategies and tactics for creating automated tests for legacy applications
- Addressing culture and leadership aspects during transforming
- Top approaches to organizational design, roles, and responsibilities
- Information security and compliance practices
- Identifying metrics to best improve performance with DevOps initiatives
This year, we reserved 15 talks specifically to address those areas. On the programming committee, we put our heads together, reached out to many in the DevOps community, and invited the most renowned experts in each area.
I’m extremely excited that some of these expert talks will include the following, where they will share their lessons learned:
- Steven Spear from MIT, is one of my personal heroes, credited for “Decoding the DNA Of The Toyota Production System,”[https://hbr.org/1999/09/decoding-the-dna-of-the-toyota-production-system] with H. Kent Bowen. He also helped create the amazing Alcoa management system with their CEO Paul O’Neill.
- Mike Bland has been invited to share his story about build the testing culture at Google[https://mike-bland.com/2011/12/02/coding-and-testing-at-google-2006-vs-2011.html] and is now part of the amazing 18F program to improve delivery of effective, user-centric services in the US government. [https://18f.gsa.gov/2014/12/11/large-scale-development-culture-change/]
- Elisabeth Hendrickson helped pioneer quality engineering practices for the last twenty years, and is someone who Jez Humble and I have admired for years. She presented last year on “Care and Feeding of Feedback Loops,” has since been promoted to VP of Engineering for Pivotal’s Big Data Suite, and will discuss her journey around creating great engineering organizations with a culture of quality.
- Josh Corman is a longtime researcher in information security and John Willis is equally renowned in the DevOps community. They will be presenting their work on software supply chains, immutable infrastructure, and how they both impact DevOps productivity and security.
- Ed Bellis was former CISO of Orbitz, and will share his experiences on how information security should ideally integrate into the DevOps value stream and how it impacts compliance and reporting.
- Rosalind Radcliffe has made significant contributions to our profession over her entire career as a Distinguished Engineer at IBM, and she’ll be sharing amazing strategies and tactics of how organizations can improve the state of automated testing on mainframes. John Willis says, “From green screens to GUI’s, Tivoli to SOA, then showing up on the DOES 2014 stage presenting on mainframes and Devops at IBM. Unlike most people she is one of those rare individuals that has transcended four decades and always seems to be on the bleeding edge.”
- We will have two talks on how automated testing and other DevOps practices were put into practice at famous Yahoo! properties. Neil Manvar, solutions architect at Sauce Labs and former software engineer at Yahoo!, and Chris Riley, founder and DevOps analyst at Fixate.IO will talk about how Yahoo! implemented automated testing for Yahoo! Mail. Automated testing enabled the software quality team to spend more time on important user-facing product code and helped them introduce exciting new strategies for building higher quality apps faster. Jim Stoneham will present on his experiences as the general manager of Yahoo! Communities division in 2009, including his first-hand observations of the Flickr “10 deploys per day” culture, and how many of those practices were replicated in Yahoo! Answers to increase their deployment cadence from once every six weeks to daily deploys.