DevOpsDays New York 2013
The participants of the Food Fight Show podcast summarized DevOpsDays New York 2013 with one word: culture. They agreed that you cannot go in and "make" a culture, but the culture depends on the characters of the people. If you've got people on your teams who take responsibility for the bigger picture - who care about talking to other teams and seeing things through from end to end, chances are that these people build a Devops culture. As Patrick Debois put it: if one group complains about another group or if one group says that the boss has to fix a cultural problem without even trying to talk to each other this is a sign that they have not even tried to take responsibility to change. This is far from being a Devops culture. If you don't have someone very powerful behind the wheel with a very strong vision where you should be in terms of culture, it is necessary to build the culture from bottom up. It's important to talk to the CTO on how to change the engineering culture to create a better image for IT in the company (and to deliver better results as well).
Another important learning from Devopsdays New York was that Devops has a fluid definition and does not need a strict one. A fluid definition strongly rooted in how practitioners act is considered to be more important than a strict one. To identify people who fit into a Devops culture it is important to listen closely to what they say and to look closely at what they really do e.g. by checking their GitHub accounts for contributions to Open Source projects rather than looking at job titles.
In his talk titled "We're Doing it Wrong!" Jan Schaumann emphasized that Devops focuses on breaking down silos but that it does not matter whether a company has one or multiple teams. Good conversation between individuals and teams is key to a good Devops culture.
Dave Zwieback talked about "On Hiring (in a DevOps World)". He showed, which types of people a company should look for: generalists interested and skilled in many areas (he calls them "comb"-shaped people in contrast to T-shaped people. T-shaped means that people have general knowledge (the horizontal bar in the T) and are experts in one area (the vertical bar in the T). "Comb"-shaped means that people have multiple, not so deep fields of experience - they're generalists). He made a point that good candidates usually are not on LinkedIn and are not very open to be approached by recruiters. The best candidates, according to Zwieback, can be found on Twitter, GitHub, IRC, and meet-ups. When contacting candidates it is important to tailor the message and make it very much about "what's in it for them". It's important to be polite and to be persistent. One candidate he recruited even thanked him for not giving up on him.
In "Automate or Die" Aaron Quint emphasized that for a team introducing automation it is mandatory to first come up with a manual process which works and only then think about how to automate the most labor intensive steps in this process. It's important to start small by addressing the most burning pain points rather than to think big and try to solve all current and upcoming problems right now. He presented the evolution of his company's tool chain in great detail.
The other talks were:
- Matthias Meyer: "Failure is always an option"
- Leo Zhadanovsky & John Schneider: DevOps At Obama for America & The Democratic National Committee
- Knights of the Provisioning Round Table: Bare Metal Provisioning
- John Willis: State of the union 2013
Currently there are DevOpsDays conferences for 2013 scheduled in all continents.