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December 12, 2022

Top Ten Articles of 2022

By IT Revolution

As 2022 comes to a close, we thought we’d take the customary look back and review the top ten most-read articles from ITRevolution.com in 2022. From the list, it’s clear that SRE continues to be a hot topic, along with ways to improve team interactions and how to modernize governance. 

1. Jason Cox’s Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Playlist 

The most-read article from 2022 comes from Investments Unlimited coauthor and Director of Global SRE at Disney, Jason Cox. In it, Cox pulls together his personal collection of favorite talks related to Site Reliability Engineering (SRE). 

SRE is often considered an expression of DevOps. At its core, it “seeks to bridge the traditional gap between development and operation teams with the goal of improving the organization’s ability to ship and operate software better, faster, safer and happier.” 

Whether you’re just starting out on an SRE journey or are well on your way, this list of talks from SRE experts is sure to inform and inspire.

2. How Google SRE and Developers Collaborate

Our second most popular article continues to explore the rise of SRE in complex organizations. This time, we hear directly from the SRE team at Google (where the practice originated).

This article, which is adapted from a longer paper that can be read for free in the Spring 2022 DevOps Enterprise Journal, provides an in-depth primer for starting your own SRE team, with an emphasis on the fact that “Google SRE should not be taken as a blueprint for implementing SRE elsewhere but rather as a case study. Every organization is unique; its needs and goals are unlikely to be exactly the same as Google’s. But almost twenty years of practical experience have provided many lessons that can help others to fast track their individual SRE journey.”

3. The Five Time Thieves

Next up we have a classic article from Dominica DeGrandis, author of Making Work Visible. IT Revolution released an updated 2nd edition of this classic book this year and this article is pulled directly from it. In this article, Dominica lays out the five thieves who are constantly stealing our time: Too Much Work-in-Progress (WIP); Unknown Dependencies; Unplanned Work; Conflicting Priorities; and Neglected Work.

“These five thieves hide right under your nose, comfortably cozy between you and your work. But they leave clues at every crime scene. If we’re going to get stuff done, we must trap these thieves to expose the crimes they commit. Once the thieves are caught, we can begin to do something about their insidious wreckage. Instead of being at their mercy, we can turn that dark corner, take back control, and make the kind of improvements that matter.”

Read through the article for a deeper look at each of these time thieves, then check out the book to learn how you can stop them from stealing your time.

4. Iterative Enterprise SRE Transformation at Vanguard

Next up we return to the world of SRE, this time with a case study from Vanguard. Vanguard, a global asset management company, began to adopt SRE best practices to make their DevOps teams more effective. In this article, based on their DevOps Enterprise Summit presentation, they share where they started, how far they’ve come, and all of the steps they’ve taken along the way as they’ve worked to evangelize changes to the way they measure availability, enable experimentation, leverage highly-available architecture patterns, and learn from failure. 

5. Topo Pal’s DevOps Metrics & Measurements Playlist

More than a decade into the DevOps movement, “What to measure?” still remains a question. Indeed, many organizations have even adopted DataOps as a way to try and answer this question. This article from Investments Unlimited coauthor and thought leader Tapabrata Pal brings together a playlist of talks dedicated to answering this question. 

6. How to Wardley Map

Sensing what is happening in a large, complex organization or marketplace, and then deciding on a path forward, is both highly difficult and essential for any organization to continue to achieve success. Recently Wardley Mapping has come out as a prime tool to achieve this. But, the practice of Wardley Mapping can be difficult. 

This post (excerpted from the book The Value Flywheel Effect by David Anderson, with Mark McCann and Michael O’Reilly) breaks down a little of what you need to know to get started with Wardley Maps. But keep in mind that mapping, like any skill, takes practice. And the more you practice, the better you get.

7. Shifting Security Left at Fannie Mae

Another key theme of 2022 has undoubtedly been a focus on improving security and governance practices in software development. This case study from Fannie Mae, based on their DevOps Enterprise Summit presentation, shows how they were able to use DevOps to learn from chaos engineering to improve security, put security in the pipeline, and weave security transparently into the fabric of everything they did.

8. Visualizing Team Dependencies with a Team API

Dependencies between teams are a reality in any organization, even when we try to minimize them. If we don’t track team dependencies in the first place, we will run into scheduling and prioritization problems that slow down the flow of delivery. To understand inter-team dependencies, the work being done by each team needs to be visible. Once we are able to track these dependencies, we can then look into promoting healthy dependencies and removing (or minimizing the impact of) slowing or blocking dependencies.

This excerpt from the Remote Team Interactions Workbook by Team Topologies coauthors Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais explores techniques to track and manage inter-team dependencies that work in a remote context.

9. What is Automated Governance?

Bill Bensing, coauthor of Investments Unlimited, introduces us to the concept of automated governance in this original article. In Bill’s words, “Automated Governance brings the same speed and quality assurance of DevOps to information security, audit compliance, and change management. After all, when developers are pushing changes to production every few minutes, no manual governance model can keep up, which leads to workarounds and shortcuts, which leads to vulnerabilities and non-compliance.”

10. On Coordination Costs: Moving A Couch, And Painting A Room

Finally, rounding out our top ten articles from 2022 is this post from Gene Kim, outlining the premise to his upcoming book with Dr. Steven Spear. Kim and Spear have observed that across every activity and across every industry vertical, high performers have figured out how to reduce the cost of coordination vastly. Kim and Spear use the metaphor of moving a couch and painting a room to break down the cost of coordination and how to overcome it.  

- 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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