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October 3, 2020

Why DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas – Virtual Will Be Amazing

By Gene Kim

Conferences are magical.

I owe so much of my career to conferences. Over the past 20 years, I’ve learned so much from the best in the game sharing what they know, spanning the domains of Dev, Ops, Infosec, Audit, and eventually, DevOps!

In fact, I met almost all of my collaborators, and all of my coauthors at a conference, because conferences are where you meet kindred spirits and fellow travelers — people who share similar goals, who experience similar frustrations and struggles, who form a community of beliefs and practices.

And what I learned at DevOps Enterprise Summit London-Virtual is that virtual conferences can have a very similar magic as physical conferences — there are differences, of course, but it shows that communities are still communities, even if they can’t meet in person.

This experience also reinforces my belief that conferences fulfill a need that so many of us have: we want to learn and connect with fellow travelers.

In short, I thought our London-Virtual conference was the best we’ve ever put together — and I have no doubt that the program we’ve put together for you in Las Vegas-Virtual will be even better! In this post, I’ll share with you my highlights.

“I’ve been in person to the 2017 DOES London… and I have to say that I have enjoyed this virtual experience more. It was easier to keep track of what is going on, to engage with other attendees in the Zoom sessions, I had more “hallway” conversations than 3 years ago. And the talks have been just superb.”

Jiří Klouda, Technology Leader, SRE, Cisco Meraki
London-Virtual 2020 Attendee

“I absolutely loved the whole thing. I enjoyed the talks so much that I just finished watching all of the breakout sessions that I didn’t get to watch during the conference. Seeing what others were learning in the Slack channels helped point me towards new ideas I hadn’t thought of before. I got opportunities to talk to fellow attendees and pages of notes. I interacted with some of those same speakers and authors I had already been learning from when I decided to attend! There were so many people excited to talk about the things I’m excited about!”

Daniel Cahill, Software Engineer, Ontario Systems
London-Virtual 2020 Attendee

“Even after shifting to a virtual format, DevOps Enterprise Summit delivered yet another successful event and more than justified its position as the leading conference in the DevOps world.”

London-Virtual 2020, Virtual BFF Sponsor

“If you’re curious about the latest on DevOps in the real world, you simply can’t get better than #DOES, and this year was no exception!”

Steve Pereira, Founder, Visible
London-Virtual 2020 Attendee

Why DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas-Virtual Will Be Amazing

Our Amazing Keynote Talks

I’m so excited that we have the most senior leaders speaking at this conference — this shows that the work being done in this community matters, to people who matter. And we have experts who will teach us things that I believe every technology leader needs to know.

First, let’s talk about the experience reports —

Experience Reports

Maya Leibman (Executive VP and CIO, American Airlines) and Ross Clanton (Managing Director, Chief Architect of Technology Transformation, American Airlines)

Last year, I was so delighted to learn that our longtime friend Ross Clanton was joining American Airlines, to work for CIO Maya Liebman, who I met in 2016. They will be presenting together about the amazing American Airlines journey, sharing how they are changing how technology work is performed, and why it’s so important now.

Ken Kennedy (Executive VP and President, Technology and Product, CSG) and Scott Prugh (Chief Architect & SVP Software Engineering, CSG)

Scott Prugh is the only person who has presented every year at this conference, and this year, he will be presenting with his boss, Ken Kennedy, EVP and President, Technology and Product. Ken will talk about the value of the work that Scott and his team has done, and how to convince executive management on the importance of DevOps.

Kimberly Johnson (Executive VP and COO, Fannie Mae):.

Kimberly Johnson, EVP and COO of Fannie Mae, has a reputation of being asked to solve the toughest problems facing the organization. Her story of how she ended up being responsible for the technology function is profound, changing how technology is integrated into business strategy and operations. She will be teaching us what she thinks every technology leader needs to know.

She will be joined by:

  • Chris Porter, SVP and CISO
  • Tim Judge, VP of Climate Impact
  • Ramon Richards, SVP of Integrated Technology Solutions

Lauren Knausenberger (Deputy Chief Information Officer, United States Air Force) and Adam Furtado (Chief of Platform, Kessel Run, United States Air Force)

Kessel Run is an amazing effort in the US Air Force, building software very differently than how it’s been typically done for the last 30 years, deploying multiple times per day to support their customers. Adam Furtado, Chief of Platform and one of the KR founders, will present their origin story, co-presenting with Lauren Knausenberger, recently elevated to Deputy CIO of the US Air Force, on their collaboration.

Dwayne Holmes (Vice President of Converged Applications and Cloud, Large Bank)

For years, I’ve wanted Dwayne Holmes to present how, in a previous role, he containerized all the revenue generating systems for one of the largest hotel companies, which collectively supported over $30 billion of annual revenue. Supporting this work required building one of the world’s largest revenue-generating Kubernetes installations.

Werner Loots (Executive VP – Transformation, U.S. Bank, and Ian Eslick (SVP, Chief Architect for Digital Technology Strategy & Modernization, U.S. Bank)

Werner Loots, EVP Transformation at U.S. Bank spoke last year about their transformation journey, and returns this year with Ian Eslick, SVP, Chief Architect for Digital Technology Strategy and Modernization, U.S. Bank. They will talk about their ever-growing number of studios, designed to deliver customer value faster, and the challenges of increasing the number business interfaces, and decreasing the number of technical interfaces, and creating engineering excellence across the enterprise.

Jon Moore (Chief Software Architect & Senior Fellow, Comcast Cable) and Michael Winslow (Senior Director, Software Development & Engineering, Comcast)

Jon Moore is Chief Software Architect and Senior Fellow at Comcast, and he will be sharing his views on the critical role of architecture in an organization that has over 3,000 software engineers. He will describe how and why they standardized the CI/CD (continuous integration and deployment) infrastructure across the organization, and Michael Winslow, Senior Director Development and Engineering, will describe how teams responded, transitioned, and eventually benefited from it.

Biswanath (Bose) Basu (Senior Business Director, Anti-Money Laundering – Machine Learning and Fraud, Capital One), Rakesh Goyal (Director, Technology Engineering, Capital One), and Jennifer Hansen (Director, Product Management Delivery Experience, Capital One)

We’ve all loved the amazing experience reports from Capital One in previous years, but I’m so excited that this year, it’s being given by Boze Biswanath, Senior Business Director of Anti-Money Laundering, about his experiences transforming the card services platform, which supports one of the largest business units in the company. He will be presenting with his engineering counterpart, Rakesh Goyal, Senior Director of Technology Engineering, and Jennifer Hansen, Director of Product Management Delivery Experience.

Eileen M. Uchitelle (Staff Software Engineer, GitHub)

I’m so excited that Eileen Uchitelle, Staff Software Engineer at GitHub, will tell the amazing, heroic seven-year journey to migrate from Rails 2 to Rails 5, and the increasingly dire problems that made it so urgent. She will describe the amazing benefits that resulted, and she gives advice that every technology needs to hear about the hidden cost of not staying up-to-date on open source dependencies, and what is required to stay current.

Expert Talks

Dr. J. Goosby Smith (Assistant Provost Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Associate Professor Management, Baker School of Business, and Director of Truth Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Center, The Citadel):

I loved her book when I read it 3 yrs ago, but I thought it was about diversity.

Driven by the call to “increase human thriving in the workplace,” Dr. J Goosby Smith specializes in workplace inclusion, with emphasis on teams, higher education, veterans, and workplace spirituality and religion. She conducted an incredible study of over 7,000 respondents, in a quest to understand the elements of inclusion, where individuals help teams create greatness. I’m so excited that she will be teaching us what she’s learned, and she’ll also be leading an incredible panel that will be of interest to anyone who is responsible for hiring talented engineers of the future:

Joining Dr. Goosby Smith on the panel:

  • Courtney Kissler, VP Global Technology, Nike
  • Nazia Ali, AVP, Enterprise Technology Enablement, Cox Automotive
  • Jennifer Hansen, Director of Product Management Delivery Experience, Capital One
  • Amber Amos, Senior, Virginia Tech, Computer Science and Cybersecurity
  • Shreya Chatterjee, Junior, UCLA, studying Computer Science and Linguistics
  • Diamond Lee, Senior Consultant/Software Developer, Information Technology and Services, Excella

David Silverman (Founder and CEO, CrossLead) and Jessica Reif (Director of Research & Development, CrossLead Inc.):

I’m a huge fan of the book Team of Teams, and so I’m so delighted that one of the co-authors, David Silverman, CEO and founder of CrossLead, will be presenting. He presented at our London-Virtual conference, and I’ve asked him to return to present more learnings and patterns that were discussed in the book. He will be joined by his colleague, Jessica Reif, Director of R&D, who comes from a software background, and they’ll describe how these patterns can be applied to any modern organization.

Jonathan Smart (Author, Sooner Safer Happier):

For many years, Jonathan Smart led the Ways of Working at Barclays, where he described DevOps as creating value, “Better Value Sooner, Safer, and Happier,” which is my favorite definition for what we do. It’s also the title of his amazing new book. He will describe how radically management and leadership have changed in the past 100 years, and I think his book will be viewed as an important contribution to organizational learning, and predict that in 10 years, it will be mandatory reading in MBA curriculums. He is now Partner of Business Agility at Deloitte.

John Allspaw (Principal, Founder, Adaptive Capacity Labs):

Certainly almost everyone in the DevOps community knows the name John Allspaw. If there was a starting gun in the DevOps movement, it was the famous talk at the Velocity Conference in 2009, where John Allspaw (then VP Ops at Flickr) and Paul Hammond (Director of Dev in the Yahoo! Mothership) talked about doing 10 deploys a day. What dazzles me about John’s recent work is he believes that by understanding how organizations handle incidents, we can gain incredible clues on how organizations learn. He gives incredibly valuable advice to both technology leaders and practitioners.

John Cutler (Head of Product Research & Education, Amplitude) and Peter Moore (President, Wild Oak Enterprises):

I think John Cutler, Head of Product Research & Education, is doing some of the most innovative thinking in the field of product and design — I’ve asked him to talk about how organizations can use technology and design to win in the marketplace.

Peter Moore, President of Wild Oak Enterprises, will be teaching us about Core vs. Context, a concept that shows up prominently in “The Unicorn Project”, and how technology leaders can be perceived as a strategic asset, as opposed to a cost burden.

Dr. Nicole Forsgren (VP Research & Strategy, GitHub):

Dr. Nicole Forsgren’s work is familiar to almost everyone in the DevOps movement — I’ve had the privilege of working with her and Jez Humble on the State of DevOps research since 2013, which was the basis of the Shingo Publication Award-winning book, “Accelerate”.

She is now VP of Research and Strategy at GitHub, and I’m so delighted that she is presenting a lecture on her recent research that is relevant to every technology leader today, which is how COVID-19 and working from home is impacting productivity, organizational and employee health. She’ll have advice for leaders and where we go from here.

Erica Morrison (Executive Director of Software Development & Operations, CSG):

I suspect you haven’t heard a presentation like the one Erica Morrison will share about an outage, so riveting and heart-wrenching, because it lays bare problems that almost all of us have faced in our career. She provides lessons learned and teachings about how they’ve adopted incident command practices — anyone who has had to fix production incidents under extreme pressure will so much appreciate this talk.

Other amazing keynotes we have planned:

  • Dr. Mik Kersten, Founder and CEO, Tasktop
  • Damon Edwards, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Rundeck
  • Dr. Steven Spear, DBA MS MS, Author, The High Velocity Edge, Senior Lecturer MIT, Principal, See to Solve LLC
  • Clarissa Lucas, IT Audit Director, Nationwide and Rusty Lewis, Specialist, IT Internal Audit, Nationwide

Breakout Talks

At DevOps Enterprise Summit, we focus on two types of talks in the general session:

  • The most successful patterns from inspiring experience reports told from technology and business leaders at large, complex organizations.
  • Subject domain experts from outside the community who we asked to teach us things that we believe are important to leading transformation.

To use Brian Eno’s “scenius” language, the general session is where we celebrate successes in the community through experience reports, rapidly disseminate winning tools and techniques and ways of thinking, share anonymized stories of what ideas or practices didn’t work or resulted in outright failures (“DevOps Confessions”), and bring in the best experts for the problems identified by the community.

The General Session is the portion of the conference where the “Dungeon Master (DM)” controls the campaign, where the DM sets the stage and makes sure all the players hear and experience the same thing. I take enormous pride in the fact that in previous years we’ve brought to you some incredible talks in the general session, which I feel have helped move our industry forward:

Below are many of the general session talks that we’re all very excited about on the Programming Committee.

Experience Reports (Returning)

  • Bryan Finster, Value Stream Architect, Walmart DevOps Dojo, Walmart with newcomer Vilas Veeraraghavan, Director, Engineering, Developer Enablement, Walmart
  • John Ediger, DevOps Transformation Principal and Distinguished Technologist, DXC Technology
  • Chris Hill, Senior Manager, Developer Platforms, T-Mobile
  • Paula Thrasher, Consultant
  • Erica Morrison, Vice President, Software Engineering, CSG
  • Shaaron A Alvares, Sr. Agile DevOps Transformation Coach, T-Mobile (watch her recent interviews with Mark Schwartz and Jon Smart — more to come)
  • Jeremy Castle, Engineering Director, State Farm Insurance

Experience Reports (New)

  • Lawrence Bruhmuller, CTO, Optimizely
  • Claire Vo CPO, Optimizely
  • Kari Brey, 2VP Information Technology, Travelers
  • Vasudha Prabhala, Senior Vice President of Service Delivery, Headspring
  • Tiani Jones, Sociotechnologist, The Ready
  • Jonathan Akers, Product Owner – RadioCentral, Motorola Solutions
  • Ryan Dobson, Director of Engineering, Motorola Solutions
  • Dr. Manja Lohse, Head of Incubators and Demonstrators, Elektrobit
  • Roman Pickl, Technical Project Manager and Continuous Improvement Agent, Elektrobit
  • Arthur Maltson, Distinguished Engineer, Capital One
  • Roderick Randolph, Director, Distinguished Engineer, Capital One
  • Tony Ogden, Director of IT – Modern Tax Platforms, H&R Block
  • John Roe, VP, IT – Modern Tax Platforms, H&R Block
  • Matthew Simons, Senior Engineering Manager, Workiva
  • Jason Yee, Director of Advocacy, Gremlin
  • Colin Wynd, Head of Real Time Payments Technology, The Clearing House
  • Brandon Pulsipher, Vice President of Adobe Cloud Engineering, Adobe
  • Madhu Datla, Senior Engineering Manager for DevOps, Global Infrastructure and Systems Engineering Team, Intel
  • Peter Tiegs, Principal Engineer, Intel
  • Rafael Alvarez, CTO and Co-Founder, Fluid Attacks
  • Camilo Piedrahita, IT Manager – DevOps & Software Engineering, Bancolombia
  • David Blezard, Associate Director of Academic Technology, University of New Hampshire
  • Nazia Ali (AVP, Enterprise Technology Enablement, Cox Automotive) and Dan Sloan (Director, Enterprise Technology Enablement, Cox Automotive)

Next Gen Ops

  • Chris McFee, Director of DevOps Practices, KeyBank and Mick Miller, Senior Product Manager, Cloud Native, KeyBank
  • John Willis, Senior Director, Global Transformation Office, Red Hat

Spanning Business/Tech Divide

  • Brian McCarty, Principal Technical Architect, USAA
  • Jim Collins, IT Manager and Technical Product Owner, CUNA Mutual Group
  • Amanda Palovcsik, Senior IT Manager, Agile Practice, CUNA Mutual Group

Transformational Leadership

  • Zsolt Berend, Business Agility Coach, Deloitte and Peter Lear, Chief Product Owner, Nationwide Building Society
  • Duena Blomstrom, Author, Co-Founder and CEO, Emotional Banking and PeopleNotTech and Ffion Jones, Partner, PeopleNotTech
  • Elisabeth Hendrickson, Author, Change Your Organization
  • Teresa Dietrich, Chief Product Officer, Stack Overflow

Subject Matter Experts

  • Mark Schwartz, Author, The (Delicate) Art of Bureaucracy
  • Jeffrey Fredrick, Author, Agile Conversations
  • Douglas Squirrel, Author, Agile Conversations
  • Manuel Pais, Author, Team Topologies
  • Matthew Skelton, Author, Team Topologies 
  • Dr. Stephen Magill, CEO, MuseDev
  • Rusty Lewis, IT Auditor, Nationwide Insurance
  • Clarissa Lucas, IT Audit Director, Nationwide Insurance  
  • Matthew Parker, Author, Work Radical

Overcoming Old Ways of Working

  • Arun Narayanaswamy, Director, Engineering, Amadeus Labs and Dr. Udo Seidel, Digital Evangelist and Enterprise Architect, Amadeus
  • Heather Martin, Director, Value Stream Engineering, Discover Financial Services and 
  • Edward Russell, Director, Infrastructure Tooling & Automation Product Management, Discover Financial Services
  • Dave Mangot, Principal, Mangoteque
  • Jill Mead, Group Product Manager – Project to Product Coach, US Bank
  • Adam Shake, Director of Site Reliability Engineering, MediaMath Source
  • David Stanke, Developer Advocate, Google 

One important lesson we’ve learned is that perhaps the most important feature of any conference is to have opportunities for attendees to connect with, and learn from, one another and the presenters.

Networking Opportunities – Both Structured and Unstructured

I must say, the feedback from attendees in creating this dedicated time for networking has been overwhelmingly positive. And even more so, the networking time during the presentations proved to be a hit at our London – Virtual event. Having speakers available for Q&A on Slack while their talks aired opened up a new form of interaction that is only available in a virtual format.

To that end, my friend Jeff Gallimore and I have established different ways for people to learn, and ask/answer as many questions as possible. We believe the quality of the audience is something that separates DevOps Enterprise Summit from other conferences, and the more we can incentivize interactions amongst attendees, the better. Here are the formats you can take advantage of during the three-day event:

  • Speaker Q&As: A dedicated way to connect with speakers directly after their presentations and during scheduled hours each day of the event.
  • Lean Coffee: Led by Dominica DeGrandis, author of Making Work Visible and the foremost expert in Kanban Flow within the IT industry today, attendees can connect with and learn from their peers in a semi-structured format all three days of the conference.
  • Birds of a Feather: Similar to the DevOpsDays unconference sessions, with less structure than a Lean Coffee format, and these sessions are driven by specific topics that attendees want to discuss and learn about. 
  • Hallway Track Chats: There’s a dedicated Slack channel for randomized chats with other attendees. You set a time limit, select what topics interest you, and get paired up like in the hallway or at lunch during an in-person conference.
  • Virtual Happy Hours & IT Revolution Author Ask me Anything Sessions: Dedicated time for attendees to gather and make new connections, which will also feature Jon Smart, Mark Schwartz and other authors available for Ask Me Anything sessions at dedicated Happy Hour tables.
  • Conference Slack Workspace: A shared and monitored Slack workspace for people to interact with speakers, attendees, and sponsors. In the past, this is where people have connected most often to make plans, search/recruit for job opportunities and more.

As you can see, the conference is more than just the talks, which is why we’ve created structured and unstructured networking formats to offer you the most well-rounded, virtual experience possible.

There will be a lot to cover in three days but I hope we can all take the journey together. DevOps Enterprise Summit is a conference for you – the technology leaders and practitioners at large, complex organizations implementing DevOps principles and practices.

While we will certainly miss seeing you all in-person in Vegas this year, we have put together an amazing virtual event that captures so much of the magic of our in-person event, and some new elements that can only be done online. I am confident that this will be our best DevOps Enterprise Summit ever!

To preview the DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas – Virtual and learn more about the conference, please watch previous videos of our presentations, download the past speakers’ slide decks, and view photos from all past events

As a thanks for taking the time to read this article, use code GENESARTICLEREADERS for $150 off your registration.


- About The Authors
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Gene Kim

Gene Kim is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, researcher, and multiple award-winning CTO. He has been studying high-performing technology organizations since 1999 and was the founder and CTO of Tripwire for 13 years. He is the author of six books, The Unicorn Project (2019), and co-author of the Shingo Publication Award winning Accelerate (2018), The DevOps Handbook (2016), and The Phoenix Project (2013). Since 2014, he has been the founder and organizer of DevOps Enterprise Summit, studying the technology transformations of large, complex organizations.

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