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Jez Humble on Making Continuous Delivery Work and Responding to Discrimination in Tech

| Podcast with Jez Humble Follow 9 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 11 Followers on Aug 21, 2017 |

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This is the Engineering Culture Podcast, from the people behind InfoQ.com and the QCon conferences.

In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Jez Humble about his Agile 2017 Keynote talk in which he refuted many of the common excuses why “continuous delivery won’t work here”.  He also gave a scathing response to the “Manifestbro” controversy which recently unfolded at Google.

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways about DevOps:

  • There are many reasons cited for not adopting DevOps – the real reasons are cultural and architectural issues
  • It takes commitment and effort at every level to rearchitect not just the products but the organisation to support the new ways of working
  • Even if you are not deploying every day, the practices of DevOps deliver huge dividends around reducing development costs, improving quality and maintainability and driving shorter lead
  • It’s not about repeating what someone else has done, it’s the ability to make mistakes and learn from them which makes teams and organisations successful

Key takeaways on the gender diversity challenge:

  • In 2017 we should have come beyond the need to address these issues but the state of the industry means we must
  • There is extensive research that shows the differences are tiny between the genders, and this cannot explain the vast disparity in representation in the industry by women and people of colour
  • The harm done by perpetuating the myths around gender differences
  • We all have a duty to create an inclusive environment
  • Examine your organisation’s systems, policies and practices for the visible elements of discrimination and fix them – check salaries and career advancement by role and if there is a gender or race difference in the rates of pay or advancement then fix them
  • Introducing Inclusive Collaboration and calling for participation and having the conversations about the many aspects of diversity in the workplace today

Show Notes

0:20 Introductions

0:50 The Keynote – “Continuous Delivery sounds great – but it won’t work here

1:00 Common excuses for “why it won’t work here”

  • Regulation
  • Too much legacy code
  • “We don’t build websites”
  • “Our people are too stupid”

1:18 The real reasons are cultural issues and architectural issues

1:35 Tackling the architecture challenges

1:47 First address the team design – create empowered teams with the ability and skills who are able to design, build, run, test and experiment (with real users) with their service without needing to get authorizations and hand-offs with other teams

2:05 Enable the teams to independently deploy the product or service without needing to go through a “big bang” deployment process

2:19 The need to be able to perform deployment during normal business hours without downtime

2:27 Being able to do these things is the biggest factor in DevOps likely success

2:45 Getting to the state where these things are possible is hard and takes time, move towards it incrementally

3:05 The “big ball of mud” architecture mitigates against DevOps success

3:18 Don’t do a big-bang rewrite that takes years, rather incrementally, piece by piece evolve the architecture

3:30 There is no end-state for architectural improvement, it is about constantly grooming your architecture as your organisation needs change

3:42 There is no perfect architecture

3:50 This takes commitment and effort at every level to rearchitect not just the products but the organisation to support the new ways of working

4:12 Supporting this approach requires significant investment, and different investment to what has traditionally been spent

4:20 The example of HP Laserjet firmware

4:30 Even if you are not deploying every day, the practices of DevOps deliver huge dividends around reducing development costs, improving quality and maintainability and driving shorter lead times

4:55 Lean is not about cutting costs – it is about removing waste

5:30 None of these ideas are new or unique – they have been around for a long time and need to be constantly repeated to gain traction

6:05 A model of culture which has six different axes and broadly identifies three kinds of culture – generative, bureaucratic or pathological

6:50 The model is predictive of safety performance in the domains it was built in

7:10 State of DevOps Report includes measurements of culture and how it impacts delivery

7:15 Implementing DevOps, Lean & Agile practices does result in cultural change

7:35 The way you  change culture is by changing the practices people use in work so they become habits

8:08 It’s not your methodology – it’s the ability to react to problems and come up with new solutions

8:34 You can’t just copy what another organisation does, the solution must be unique to your specific context

9:10 It’s not about repeating what someone else has done, it’s the ability to make mistakes and learn from them which makes teams and organisations successful

9:35 Referencing Katherine Daniels from Etsy on making failure and learning safe

10:32 In any complex adaptive system failure is inevitable, so plan for it and respond to it rather than trying to pretend it won’t happen

11:02 The way to deal with failure is to normalize it – make dealing with it routine through regular practice

11:10 The best medicine for making the changes needed to adopt these approaches is a crisis

11:42 High performance is the ability to react to change before it becomes a crisis

12:27 These are hard changes.  Does the rate at which we can convince people to adopt this way of working exceed the rate at which people who don’t know about it join the profession?

12:50 Responding to the James Damore incident at Google

13:15 The need to have a conversation about diversity in tech

13:45 In 2017 we should have come beyond the need to address these issues but the state of the industry means we must

14:00 Challenging and refuting the statements in the Damore document – not only are the claims incorrect, they are pernicious and dangerous

14:45 There are differences in behaviour and character traits between men and women, however these differences make teams more effective

15:15 There are differences in the neurological makeup of everyone, and the differences are not down to just between men and women 

15:25 Research that shows the differences are tiny between the genders, and this cannot explain the vast disparity in representation in the industry by women and people of colour

16:59 Research which shows that both men and women are subject to bias about inherent capability differences between men and women

17:56 These biases drive and perpetuate the problems around gender and race discrimination in tech

18:34 Welcoming Katherine Kirk and Shannon Ewan to join the conversation

18:55 Introducing Katherine

21:55 Introducing Shannon

19:45 Appreciating that men are starting to come forward and state that the type of behaviour exhibited by Damore is unacceptable

20:50 Having these conversations is part of addressing the problem

21:27 The need to recognise and call out discriminatory behaviours rather than ignoring them

21:45 Agile values and mindsets should mitigate against some of these biases

22:03 Recognising the value of diverse teams

22:20 The need for brave conversations and brave listening

22:45 We must stop perpetuating the misbelief that innate ability is required for success – the belief is not just wrong, it creates hostile workplaces

23:05 Create inclusive environments and stop tolerating intolerance

23:35 The impact and pervasive nature of this discrimination in tech organisations

24:15 We all have a duty to create an inclusive environment

24:20 Examine your organisation’s systems, policies and practices for the visible elements of discrimination and fix them – check salaries by role and if there is a gender or race difference in the rates of pay then fix them

24:35 Women leave the IT workforce in half the time they do in other fields – not to leave the workforce but to leave the industry which discriminates against them

25:05 Insight is the new market differentiator and diverse teams gain better insight into their customers than monocultural teams

26:45 Introducing Inclusive Collaboration and calling for participation and having the conversations about the many aspects of diversity in the workplace today

27:35 The value of having these conversations from a standpoint of understanding and mutual respect

Mentioned:

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Katherine Daniel's Etsy Blog Post on Failure by Helen Beal

Jez mentions this in the podcast - are you able to provide a link?

Re: Katherine Daniel's Etsy Blog Post on Failure by Helen Beal

I just found it in the transcript! Thank you :-) beero.ps/2017/06/17/on-failure-and-resilience/

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