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October 2, 2018

A Recent Discussion With DevOps Leaders

By IT Revolution
DOES18 crowdchat recap sept

The excitement for the DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas (#DOES18) continues to build as October draws closer! Recently, the amazing DOES18 community came together for a live CrowdChat.

During the hour-long discussion, DOES18 speakers, programming committee members, and others from the software delivery community covered topics from leadership, modern infrastructure, popular resources and favorite experiences from DevOps Enterprise Summits past.

Hosts of this discussion included:

Cornelia Davis, Director of Platform Engineering in the Cloud Foundry team at Pivotal

Chris Little, Senior Director at Gartner

Ben Grinnell, Managing Director and Global Head of Technology & Digital at North Highland

Olivier Jacques, Principal in DevOps at DXC Technologies

Dan Barker, Chief Enterprise Architect at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)

Laura Fay, VP Research & Advisory, XaaS Product Management from Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA)

Gene Kim, Author, Researcher, and Founder of IT Revolution

Carmen DeArdo, Senior VSM Strategist at Tasktop

Manuel Pais, DevOps and Continuous Delivery Consultant and occasional speaker and writer for InfoQ, DZone, TechBeacon

Chris Gallivan, Global quality and testing function at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)

Andrew Clay Shafer, Senior Director of Technology at Pivotal

Pauly Comtois, Vice President at Hearst

Christophe De Boeck, Testing People and Practice Lead at Kiwibank

Mike Kavis, Managing Director at Deloitte Consulting

Here are just some of the highlights/questions from the latest conversation:

Q: If you had to explain the concept of DevOps to a child, what would you say?

Barker, “You know how we ask you to share and play nicely with others, it’s the same thing but for adults.”

John Furrier commented, “DevOps is like the engine of the car; it’s the gears under the hood that make the car work so you can drive to your destination.”

Little shares his insights, “Kids working together to achieve a common goal of delighting other kids”

Q: What is one piece of career advice you would love to give yourself 20 years ago?

Mike Kavis, “Build and maintain a strong professional network. You never know when a professional relationship can be helpful to your career later in life.”

Kim, “There are three ways to measure the high score of life: funds, fame and friends”. Without a doubt, the only way optimize life.”

More insights from Pais, “Challenge everything you see in the workplace (in your head), pick your battles and speak out. Reach outside your comfort zone for feedback.”

Q: From Laura Fay, “How does the interface with product management aid or detract from the flow of work for DevOps, in your experience?”

Comtois, “I am working hard to bring our product teams into a devops and agile mindset. It’s been more challenging than I thought it would be, but removing that barrier to flow has made a huge impact on our businesses.”

From Jacques, “Prod Mgmt needs to understand what’s in it for them. The risk is to become a ‘DevOps church’ – we need to always drive the business benefits or whatever matters to prod management.”  

Kim expands on Jacques answer by sharing his experiences, “I am working hard to bring our product teams into a devops and agile mindset. It’s been more challenging than I thought it would be, but removing that barrier to flow has made a huge impact on our businesses.”

Q: From Comtois, “How do you convince leadership that DevOps is not just a cost center, but actually a competitive advantage?”

Baker comments, “I have used the DORA research to help create a reasonable business case that shows the benefits.”

Kim Shares an ‘OH’ moment, “There are a whole generation of CEOs that are ‘IT dumb’, who will eventually retire or forced out, b/c they need to compete with companies who are ‘software savvy.’”

We hear from Shafer, with his comment, “Losing strategy if you are starting under funded and unempowered, especially when you consider the natural arc of skill acquisition starts with a decreased performance before improvements and the prevailing politics are against you.”

Q: From Cornelia Davis based on a comment from Dan Barker about doing work in the open, “How can we create cultures that are  inclusive of a very diverse viewpoints?”

Ben Grinnell shares, “Have a system that allows anyone to contribute, use checklists and scorecards to avoid unconscious bias in the evaluation of ideas, and hardest – always make sure everyone feels safe to contribute.”

From Brent Chapman, “Let folks vote with their feet. One of Google’s core engineering practices is that managers are generally not allowed to block transfers off their teams. If an engineer sees a better opportunity on another team, and that team wants them, current manager can’t block it.”

Comtois comments, “Push the culture towards one that rewards inclusiveness that still allows for the difference of opinion.”

Q: How do you see DevOps practices being implemented outside of Development and IT Operations?

Sharing his comments, DeArdo, “Next frontier is the left hand side of the value stream – need to flow work from idea through deployment. This requires moving to a product mindset and having complete visibility of the work and what bottlenecks exists before work enters the backlog of your teams.”

From Comtois, “Believe it or not, I’m *finally* seeing finance adopting some of the principles and automation. I can’t think of something more “business” than that team embracing DevOps.”  

Baker commented, “The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) architects recently had a discussion with our HR, and they are very interested in working with us to automate their processes as well as bring in a Just Culture. Our legal department has also been interested in working with us in GitLab.”

Above is just a few of the highlights, you can read all the responses and even chime in yourself by going to If you would rather participate through Twitter, reply to any of these questions directly using #DOES18.  

- About The Authors
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IT Revolution

Trusted by technology leaders worldwide. Since publishing The Phoenix Project in 2013, and launching DevOps Enterprise Summit in 2014, we’ve been assembling guidance from industry experts and top practitioners.

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