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May 28, 2020

DevOps Enterprise Summit London – Virtual: What to Expect, And Why I’m So Excited About It

By Gene Kim

Our first virtual DevOps Enterprise Summit is coming up in four weeks — and despite it being virtual, we are putting on a conference that is more than just a bunch of talks, and our goal is to keep you excited and engaged, just like we would at our physical events.


Great physical conferences are magical. You learn from incredible talks, you’re exhilarated by being surrounded by the best in the game, you find fellow travelers who share similar goals and experience similar struggles that you hope to conquer together, and so much more. The connections you make at conferences often lead to lifelong friendships and can maybe even change your career.

This is what we’re aspiring to do for DevOps Enterprise Summit London Virtual — it’s our first virtual event, and we’ve all been studying online events for months, trying to understand what makes the great ones great, and why the worst ones make you feel like you’re stuck on the worst, multiple-day video conference call ever.

As I wrote in my “Love Letter to Conferences” blog post, great conferences are so, so much more than just a bunch of talks. But the talks are the most visible part of a conference, because they display the achievements of the community. Resembling previous years, here are the focus areas for the conference:

  • Experience Reports: new
  • Experience Reports: repeat
  • Spanning the Business/Tech Divide
  • Next Generation Ops and Infrastructure
  • Overcoming Old Ways of Working
  • Subject Matter Experts Talks
  • Dynamic Learning Organizations
  • Transformational Leadership, Psychological Safety, Learning Organizations

This year, I’d like to try a different way of describing what to expect — I’ll describe the amazing program we’ve put together for you, first by the general session (i.e., plenary sessions) and then the breakout sessions (i.e., track sessions).

And of course, because a conference is more than just the talks, I’ll also describe the structured and unstructured networking formats we’ll be offering, and some of my advice on how to make the best use of them.

PS: you can find more information on the thought process behind how we’re constructing our first virtual event in a 7,000 word blog post here.


As I describe in the “Love Letter to Conferences” post, at DevOps Enterprise Summit, we tend to put two types of talks in the general session:

  • The most successful or inspiring experience reports from large, complex organizations.
  • Experts from outside the community who we asked to teach us things that we believe are important to everyone in the community.

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, 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.

With no further ado, here are the general session talks that I’m so excited about!

Use the code GENE25 when you register, and receive 25% off

DevOps Enterprise Summit London – Virtual
23-25 June 2020 (British Summer Time)

3-day conference passes include exclusive, on-demand access to all presentation recordings (not available to public until after October).

Experience Reports:

  • Fernando Cornago (VP Platform Engineering, adidas) and Daniel Eichten, (Head of Enterprise Architecture, adidas): Over the years, some of my favorite talks have always been from Team adidas — with various colleagues, Mr. Cornago described the amazing adidas DevOps journey (inspired when he saw the 2016 Jason Cox / Disney presentation!). This year, he returns (newly promoted to VP, Platform Engineering), presenting alongside Daniel Eichten (Head of Enterprise Architecture), describing the continuation of their journey, what it’s been like to be given responsibility for infrastructure/operations as a career Dev leader (haha!), and how they’re transforming the data architecture for the entire company.
    View talk details
  • Victoria Mayo (Head of Compliance- iptiQ EMEA P&C, Swiss Re) and James Head (Founder, Rebellion Consulting): I’m super excited about this presentation, because Victoria Mayo and James Head describe how they built a series of startups within Swiss Re, one of the largest insurance and reinsurance providers, founded in 1863. They will talk about the company’s itpiQ “B2B2C” digital initiatives, and their successes and lessons learned over the years creating insurance offerings sold through retailers. This talk is interesting because it’s not only just about changing software practices, but also how a large company successfully uses those capabilities in urgent and important “Horizon 3” initiatives.
    View talk details
  • Patrick Eltridge (COO, Nationwide Building Society) and Janet Chapman (Chief Auditor at Nationwide Building Society): The Nationwide Building Society is the world’s largest mutual financial institution. Mr. Eltridge and Ms. Chapman will describe how they’re supporting a breathtaking organization-wide transformation of how they serve their customers. I am so excited about this presentation, because they will talk about how their work enables an initiative driven by their CEO, the successful working relationship between business and technology, the traits they look for in their leaders, from all leaders, and how Nationwide has responded to the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.
    View talk details
  • Paul McMahon (Global Director of Technology and Innovation, Coats PLC) and Tim Dempsey (Delivery Director, Coats PLC): Coats was established in 1755, and in 1890 was the second most valuable company in the world. Today, Coats most likely makes the threads in the clothes you’re wearing, materials that protect firefighters, enable athlete peak performance, and fibre in fibre optic cables. Mr. McMahon will describe the company’s first failed transformation, and how he is now supporting the CEO’s effort to move the company into the digital age.
    View talk details
  • Andrea Hausmann (Program Manager, Credit Suisse) and Duncan Lawie (Director, DevOps and Development Practices, Credit Suisse): Mr. Lawie is responsible for strategy and adoption of DevOps across all of Credit Suisse IT, and Ms. Hausmann organizes and executes specific programs that advance the IT culture towards DevOps. They will talk about what has been needed to help cultural change around people and processes, shifting the conversation away from tools.
    View talk details
  • Rasmus Hald (Head of Cloud Center of Excellence, Maersk): Mr. Hald’s presentation last year on building a Cloud First capability within the largest container shipping company in the world was one of the most popular sessions. He returns to describe the continuation of that journey, including how he’s now responsible for Governance and Financial Management for all Maersk cloud services.
    View talk details
  • Scott Prugh (Chief Architect & SVP Software Engineering, CSG): Scott Prugh is the only person who has spoken at all seven years of the U.S. DevOps Enterprise Summit conference. He has spoken about his journey transforming software delivery and operations at CSG, the U.S.’s largest bill statement printing company. This year, I asked him to talk about the amazing engineering journey, which is one of the most breathtaking I’ve ever seen, involving mainframe code over 40 years old and migrating off of “hostile vendors,” whose business models jeopardizes their own.
    View talk details
  • Carsten Spies (Head of R&D, teamplay, Digital Ecosystem Platform, Siemens Healthineers) and Peter Fassbinder (Principal Key Expert, Siemens AG): This is an exciting presentation for me, because it is in the healthcare industry, an industry that we specifically were seeking more experience reports from. They will describe their internal partnership to bring digital transformation to Siemens Healthcare (another “Horizon 3” initiative). Mr. Spies will describe how their work is enabling the creation of new capabilities to healthcare providers, leveraging the internal consulting capabilities that Mr. Fassbinder created. Mr. Fassbinder will also describe the Siemens career track for individual contributors and experts.
    View talk details
  • Erica Morrison (Executive Director, Software Development & Operations, CSG): I promise you that you will be blown away by this presentation — her session description says it better than I can. When she told this story to a group of us, you could have heard a pin drop, it was so riveting and heart-wrenching: “In February 2019, we experienced the worst outage in company history. This outage was the result of complex system failure that pushed us beyond the limits of our current response systems, processes and culture. In the face of this adversity, we were able to find opportunity in failure. This resulted in improving how we understand incidents, respond to them, and prevent them in the first place. Learn how you can apply what we’ve learned to make the most of outages and drive improvement within your organization.”
    View talk details
  • Jon Smart (Partner, Enterprise Agility, Deloitte): Many of us know Jon Smart for his pioneering at Barclays where he headed up the Better Ways of Working group. He has spoken every year at DevOps Enterprise London because I consider him to be one of the most prolific and innovative thinkers in the DevOps Enterprise scenius. He will share his amazing work and research that is going into his soon-to-be released book, Sooner, Safer, Happier (available now for pre-order).
    View talk details

Expert Talks

  • David Silverman (Founder and CEO, CrossLead): Mr. Silverman is a co-author of one of my favorite books I’ve read in the last decade, “Team of Teams.” This book tells the story of how in 2004, the Joint Special Forces Task Force was failing to achieve its mission to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a much smaller but nimbler adversary. They needed to create a new way of working so that everyone could work together toward a common goal, dramatically decentralizing decision making, pushing decisions down to the lowest possible level so that people on the front lines could quickly make decisions. I’m so excited Mr. Silverman will talk about this and much more, sharing lessons learned that will definitely resonate with anyone in the DevOps Enterprise community!

  • Dr. Carlota Perez (International Consultant and Lecturer; Honorary Professor, University of Sussex, UK): Without a doubt, the work of Dr. Carlota Perez has influenced the thinking of so many of us in the DevOps Enterprise community, myself included. Her book, “Technology Revolutions and Financial Capital,” provided a language and historical context to think about the upcoming Age of Software and Data. I’m so delighted that I’ll be interviewing her and Dr. Mik Kersten about how her work should inform important decisions, spanning topics as broad as business models, shifts in where economic value is created, the importance of service revenue, reskilling the workforce, COVID-19, and public policy.

  • John Allspaw (Principal, Founder, Adaptive Capacity Labs): John Allspaw has been one of the people who has influenced my thinking most over the last ten years, starting of course with his famous 2009 “10+ Deploys Per Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation” presentation and his pioneering work as the Etsy CTO. He will share what he’s learned in the last two years about how organizations handle, perceive, value, and treat their production incidents, working alongside Dr. Richard Cook and Dr. David Woods.
    View talk details
  • Peter Moore (President, Wild Oak Enterprises): In this post, I’ve already referenced Three Horizon model several times, referring to the incubation projects where new methods are forged and mastered, helping organizations survive into the next century. For many reasons, Peter Moore is the perfect person to teach us about the Three Horizon and Zone to Win models, including the fact that his background is business leadership, not technology leadership. (He, along with Dr. Mik Kersten, was the guest on Episode #1 of my podcast, The Idealcast!)
    View talk details
  • John Willis (Senior Director, Global Transformation Office, Red Hat): Mr. Willis is a co-author of The DevOps Handbook and Beyond the Phoenix Project, and is one of my favorite collaborators. He will share his many learnings, models, and ways of thinking that he’s collected with his colleagues.  He provides a whirlwind of novel ways of looking at the world and making decisions, which will be of interest to anyone interested in where DevOps came from and where it is going.
Use the code GENE25 when you register, and receive 25% off

DevOps Enterprise Summit London – Virtual
23-25 June 2020 (British Summer Time)

3-day conference passes include exclusive, on-demand access to all presentation recordings (not available to public until after October).


We have one of the best lineups of breakout talks we’ve ever had!

Spanning Business/Tech Divide
  • Guillermo Martinez, Technology Architect Manager, Accenture
  • Stephan Staple, Head of Development, Hermes Germany GmbH
  • Michael Palzer, Head of Digital Channels & Services, Hermes Germany GmbH
Experience Reports (Returning)
  • Dr. Mik Kersten, Founder and CEO, Tasktop
  • Rosalind Radcliffe, Distinguished Engineer, Chief Architect for DevOps for Enterprise Systems, IBM
  • Craig Cook, DevOps Coach, IBM
  • Robin Yeman, Lockheed Martin Fellow, Lockheed Martin
  • Dr. Suzette Johnson, Northrop Grumman Fellow, Northrop Grumman
  • Ann Marie Fred, DevOps and Security Lead, IBM
  • Craig Cook, DevOps Coach, IBM
Experience Reports (New)         
  • Natasha Anderson, Software Engineering Practice Lead, Standard Bank
  • Kira Barclay, Director, Analytics, John Deere
  • Aimee Bechtle, Head of DevOps and Cloud, S&P Market Intelligence, S&P Global
  • Chris Hill, Senior Manager, Developer Platforms, T-Mobile
  • Shaaron Alvares, Senior Agile Transformation Coach & Trainer, T-Mobile
  • David Jungwirth, Senior Director, Digital Advisory at Enterprise Studio, HCL Technologies
  • Max Ehammer, Enterprise Architect for Software Development and Integration, SPAR Business Services
  • Rene Lippert, DevOps Evangelist, Lufthansa Systems GmbH & Co
  • Jeff McAffer, Senior Director of Product, GitHub
  • Nic Whittaker, Head of Platform Engineering & DevOps, Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Michelle Moss, Technical Release and Delivery Manager, Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Michael Winslow, Director, Software Development & Engineering – Core Applications, Comcast
  • Martin Woodward, Director of Developer Relations, GitHub/Microsoft
  • Sasha Rosenbaum, Senior Program Manager, GitHub/Microsoft
  • Aisha Alawadhi, VP Agile Delivery Enterprise & International, Emirates NBD Bank
  • Syed Shoaib Rizvi, VP Agile Delivery Wholesale Banking, Emirates NBD Bank
  • Julia Harrison, Head of Product for Technology Operations, Government Digital Service
Next Gen Ops
  • Thomas Limoncelli, SRE Manager, Stack Overflow 
  • Corey Quinn, Cloud Economist, The Duckbill Group
  • Richard Vodden, Platform Infrastructure Lead, Babylon Health
  • Kolton Andrus, CEO, Co-Founder, Gremlin
Subject Matter Experts
  • John Allspaw, Principal/Founder, Adaptive Capacity Labs, LLC
  • Chris Bergh, CEO and Head Chef, DataKitchen
  • Dominica DeGrandis, Principal Flow Advisor, Tasktop
  • Patrick Debois, Director of DevOps Relations/Advisor, Snyk
  • Mark Schwartz, Author, War and Peace and IT: Business Leadership, Technology, and Success in the Digital Age
  • Jeffrey Fredrick, Author, Agile Conversations
  • Douglas Squirrel, Author, Agile Conversations
  • Manuel Pais, Author, Team Topologies
  • Matthew Skelton, Author, Team Topologies                                      
Overcoming Old Ways of Working
  • Bryan Finster, Delivery Systems Engineer, Walmart
  • Stacie Peterson, Vice President, US Bank
  • Roger Servey, Senior Manager, Systems Engineering, Verizon
  • Clarissa Lucas, Audit Director, Nationwide Insurance
  • Rusty Lewis, IT Auditor, Nationwide Insurance
  • Dr. Stephen Magill, CEO, MuseDev
  • Simon Rohrer, Head of Enterprise Architecture & co-lead, Ways of Working, Saxo Bank
  • Ellie Taylor, Agility Coach, Nationwide Building Society                               



Over the years, one of the biggest changes we made to the conference was to create time in the middle of each day with no talks, so that attendees could connect with each other. I’ve written already at length about how important these serendipitous interactions are—this is often referred to as the “hallway track.”

For years, we had various networking formats, such as Lean Coffee and Birds of a Feather sessions, but we put them alongside the breakout talks. The result was, for a variety of reasons, they weren’t as well attended as we hoped they would be. Our hypothesis was that people had “FOMO” (fear of missing out) from good talks, and would attend talks rather than network.

The feedback from creating a dedicated time for networking from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive. This is likely even more important now, where we all crave social interactions outside of our daily work grind of endless Zoom calls.

In addition to all the wonderful talk tracks and exciting presentations above, the conference program creates a forum for different ways to “get together and go faster.” 

I’ve said this before, but it is so important for the organizers of DevOps Enterprise Summit to help attendees achieve their desired outcomes. One of the most special experiences at DevOps Enterprise Summit comes from meaningful 1:1 interactions with your fellow attendees.

To that end, and together with my friend and IT Revolution advisor, Jeff Gallimore, we have established different ways for people to learn, ask and answer as many questions as possible. Because the quality of the audience is one aspect that we think separates the DevOps Enterprise Summit from all the rest, the more spontaneous conversations and interactions we can nurture onsite, the better for all.

  • Speaker Q&A Sessions: We created a dedicated way to connect with speakers directly after their presentations and during certain 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 Sessions: This is more like 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. I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions of these sessions in Las Vegas last year.
  • Hallway Track Chats: There’s a dedicated 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.
  • Lightning Talks: These are rapid-fire, must-see presentations that happen from the main stage after the conference day has concluded.
  • Virtual Happy Hours & IT Revolution Author AMA Sessions: Dedicated time for attendees to gather and make new connections. During this time, we’ll also have a few IT Revolution authors available for an Ask Me Anything session at dedicated Happy Hour tables.
  • Slack Workspace: The conference will have a shared Slack workspace for people to interact with speakers, attendees, and sponsors. In the past, this is where people have connected to make plans, search/recruit for job opportunities and more.

As you can see, there’s a lot that is getting me excited for the conference this year, and I hope to see you there!

Use the code GENE25 when you register, and receive 25% off

DevOps Enterprise Summit London – Virtual
23-25 June 2020 (British Summer Time)

3-day conference passes include exclusive, on-demand access to all presentation recordings (not available to public until after October).

To preview event and learn more about the conference, please watch previous videos of our past presentations, download the past speakers’ slide decks, and view photos from all past events


- About The Authors
Avatar photo

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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