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June 17, 2024

What to Expect at Enterprise Technology Leadership Summit Las Vegas 2024

By Gene Kim

Holy cow, Enterprise Technology Leadership Summit Las Vegas is happening in August, which is less than three months away. I am incredibly excited about the programming we’ve planned.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that we have had some of the most senior technology leaders in this community, all of whom have achievements I deeply admire. We’re expecting about 1,000 attendees, typically 3rd- or 4th-level managers (directors, senior directors, VPs), as well as principal engineers and architects. 

As always, we have three programming objectives:

  1. Experience reports from technology leaders, on how they improved the “socio” parts of their sociotechnical systems.
  2. Subject matter experts, sharing valuable knowledge that technology leaders need to achieve their goals.
  3. Career advice, for both technology leaders and their teams.

Regarding #2, we have a significant focus on GenAI. This is because so many technology leaders in this community are leading GenAI initiatives within their organizations. Here are some of the talks I’m excited about:

GenAI

Devlin McConnell, Emerging Tech Strategy Lead & Matt Butler, Director Analytics & Automation,  Center for Audit Practices and Enablement — Vanguard: Devlin will talk about all the amazing things they’re doing experimenting with GenAI across their enterprise, and Matt will talk about the pioneering work they’ve been doing within internal audit to help with the audit planning process. 

Brian Scott, Principal Architect & Dan Neff, Principal Cloud Architect — Adobe: Brian and Dan discuss how they are rolling out and governing AI across one of the world’s top ten largest software companies in the world. They worked with a broad, cross-functional team—including legal, compliance, and information security—to maximize liberty for thousands of developers while also maximizing responsibility.

John Rauser, Director of Software Engineering — Cisco: John is returning to the conference to share Cisco’s Generative AI journey over the last year. John is an engineering leader building security products in the Cloud Security group. He will present Cisco’s experiences building GenAI into the security portfolio, highlighting an organizational platform strategy to enable execution. He will also present discovered patterns and unexpected antipatterns when using GenAI.

Fernando Cornago, VP Digital Tech — adidas: Fernando will share what they’ve learned from their pilot programs to study how GenAI can improve engineering productivity. Their goal was to explore how GenAI could help people have more time for focused work, as opposed to overhead meetings, design, alignment, reporting, etc.

Shawn “Swyx” Wang: If you’re like me, to keep up with everything going on in GenAI, you’ve probably listened to countless Latent Space podcast episodes by Swyx. He’s pioneered defining the role of the emerging AI engineer as a separate discipline, and he’ll share advice for technology leaders on what they need to know.

Patrick Debois: We know him as the “godfather of DevOps,” having coined the word back in 2009. Over the last 1.5 years, we’ve followed him as he continues his adventures in GenAI, bringing AI features to market when he was VP of Engineering at Showpad. He continues his pioneering work, understanding how technology leaders build and run GenAI-powered services in production.

Adam Seligman, VP Developer Experience — AWS: Adam is responsible for building tools for every kind of builder and developer and their teams, including using GenAI. He will share experience reports and lessons learned deploying GenAI within AWS, including HR, finance, and datacenter operations, as well as learnings and AWS’s strategy to its customers.

Paige Bailey, GenAI Developer Experience Lead — Google: Paige was formerly Lead Product Manager for Generative Models for Code AI, PaLM 2, and more. I am so delighted that she’ll be sharing how Gemini has been growing internal market share for the AI that powers so many of the legendary Google properties (beyond just dev productivity).

Joe Beutler, Solutions Engineer — OpenAI: Joe will share learnings from their customer engagements, including how Spotify can translate popular podcasters in their original voice into different languages, how Klarna automated many customer support activities saving $40MM annually, and a creative campaign with Coca-Cola. He will dive into how to avoid common pitfalls, such as the recent high-profile chatbot errors, and give us mind-expanding glimpses of what is possible with available tools today.

George Proorocu, IT OPS Chapter Lead – Cybersecurity & Fraud — ING Bank: All the talks above showcase incredible ways we can use GenAI for a positive impact. However, George will talk about how adversaries use deep fakes and other new techniques to impersonate executives and circumvent critical controls in enterprises. He will demo these attacks and describe what ING is doing about it, including training, new controls and procedures, etc. I suspect you’ll show this talk to all your colleagues after you see it.

Steve Yegge, Cody Platform Guy, Sourcegraph: You likely know him from his Amazon and Google days, and his depiction of the famous Bezos API memo. He will discuss his favorite dev tools that he helped build at Google, why they were so useful, and what drew him out of retirement. He will talk about lessons building and operating the Cody AI assistant and services relying on LLMs, and where we go from here.

John Willis: “Dear CIO: Sorry For All The GenAI Tech Debt” — this is an incredible working paper from a group of technology leaders who are inventorying the types of technical debt that are being built up during this incredible frenzy of distributed innovation, which someone will eventually have to clean up. As they put it, it’s like Shadow IT all over again. They will provide tips on practical guidance on how to mitigate these risks.

A synthesis of anonymized experience reports: We will present experience reports of GenAI pilot projects that did not achieve their goals. One example was a carefully constructed “developer co-pilot” pilot program that was deemed unsuccessful because of an unacceptably high workload for code reviewers and other surprising dynamics. Astonishingly, these dynamics are also being mirrored in other domains, such as law and medicine.

Experience Reports

The core of our conference is experience reports from tech leaders—some of the people I admire most will be presenting.  

Mike Nygard, VP, Data Engineering — Nubank, Author of Release It!: Mike is one of my favorite authorities on all things architecture-related to enable developer productivity. He describes his new challenge of managing large-scale data environments at Nubank, the largest digital banking platform outside of Asia, serving 100MM customers. Issues include slow and increasingly expensive analytic jobs, as well as ensuring the accuracy of data. He will describe the principles he is using, including decentralized ownership, domain-specific data products, and improving data quality, flexibility, and efficiency. 

Mike Carr, CTO — Vanguard: Vanguard pioneered the concept of mutual fund indexing and now has nearly $9 trillion of assets under management. Mike will talk about his work to enable “one team” at Vanguard, where business and technology leaders work together to achieve goals for their clients and fellow crew members. He will share experiences improving flow, highlighting innovation and improvement (including through an internal conference!), accomplishments he’s proud of, and their internal technology talent strategy.

Lauren Woods, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer — Southwest Airlines: Lauren will describe some of her proudest achievements in her fourteen years at Southwest Airlines, one of America’s largest airlines, and how it shaped her journey to become their CIO. She will share some of her leadership principles, her advice to technology leaders, and why she believes technology can create sustainable business advantage in the airline industry. 

Jason Cox, Director, Global SRE — The Walt Disney Company: For years, we’ve learned about how Jason has SREs and other experts who help save the day across the Disney enterprise. This year, he will share a critical part of that puzzle: their unique agency and billing model. Upon the advice from their finance team, they overcharge for their services, which enables enough slack in their engineering time for them to help solve problems when emergencies and unforeseen events arise. Contrary to what one might think, there is broad buy-in for this strategy because so many have benefited from Jason’s team’s help in the past.

Benjamin Manning, VP of Services Engineering; Rachel Uhrig, Vice President, Software Engineering — SiriusXM and Carol Gastal, Engagement Manager — Equal Experts: Benjamin, Rachel, and Carol will share how SiriusXM transformed its flagship subscription service for 34 million subscribers into a next-gen streaming platform in just 12 months. They will discuss their leadership approach, the successes and lessons learned, and how they ramped up a distributed engineering organization. Learn how they built a cloud technology architecture from scratch, enhanced their culture with observability as code, chaos testing, and engineering scorecards, ensured technical alignment with maximum autonomy, and improved cross-team collaboration.

Charles Lafferty, Vice President – CRM & Dr. Mary Hayes, Director of Research – People and Performance — ADP: Chuck Lafferty and Dr. Mary Hayes will discuss the critical role of trust and engagement within development teams in large enterprises. They will introduce a framework of 4 categories and 8 actionable questions for leaders, providing tools to evaluate and enhance team engagement. Their insights aim to help enterprises unlock the full potential of their development teams.

Jason Yip, Senior Manager Product Engineering — Grainger: We know Jason from his work at Spotify and Thoughtworks. He will talk about his new mission at Grainger to help achieve the CEO’s new strategy of technology-enabled market share growth. The result is their unified Target Operating Model, which emphasizes 4 key properties: safe, responsive, trustworthy, and coherent. He will describe the problems this model is intended to solve and the reactions it has received as they move away “IT as a cost center.”

Laura Tacho, CTO — DX & Sharon Taylor, Director of DevOps Program Management — Pfizer: Laura and Sharon will share insights into Pfizer’s transformation journey, “the future of development,” aimed at enhancing software quality, security, developer experience, and engineering health. They’ll discuss the impact of Pfizer’s growth on engineering culture and the signals prompting a recommitment to excellence. Learn how they track their progress with key metrics like DORA, attrition, budget, and quality, and learn about the challenges and opportunities in revitalizing engineering culture.

Amy Willard, IT Director, Global IT Strategy & Transformation; Justin Thomsen, Group Product Manager – Developer Experience Platforms & Adam Brunner, Principal Software Engineer and Group Product Manager for Developer Advocacy — John Deere: Join John Deere as they share insights on refining their technology-focused transformation strategy and operating model. Discover how being value and data-driven, along with an employee-centric approach, drives their focus and outcomes. Gain key learnings from their ongoing journey to enhance technology and operations.

Olivier Jacques, Sr DevOps and Cloud Architect; Claude Ampigny, Sr Customer Delivery Architect — AWS & Clément Sabater, Delivery Manager — Électricité de France (EDF): Olivier, Claude, and Clément will provide an inside look at EDF’s digitalization program, part of their industrial transformation to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy sovereignty. This initiative aims to digitalize nuclear and thermal power production and recruit 150,000 additional employees over the next decade. They’ll discuss the “You build it, you run it” approach, Team Topologies, Amazon mechanisms, Lean principles, and a focus on developer experience.

Bharghava “Vamsi” Bhogireddy, Senior Operations Architect; Tariq Surty, Director of IT & Jennifer Pickard, Head of Engineering — Legal and General: Legal & General (L&G) is one of the UK’s largest financial services and asset management companies. Vamsi, Jennifer, and Tariq will describe the Impala project, transforming their mainframe engineering and delivery landscape to better enable 4 generations of developers. A key focus is improving the developer experience and eliminating the need for mainframe expertise to attract future talent and mitigate key person risk.

Justin Fanelli, Acting Dept of Navy CTO | Technical Director, PEO Digital: Justin will share how the US Navy is laying the foundation to push IT innovation to the edge, supported by a courageous centralized group that provides mandates, air cover, and guidance. He will share their strategy and his favorite enterprise achievements, including dramatically improving networking infrastructure at naval bases, providing laptops and supporting applications that sailors and civilians love (that don’t require 10 minutes to boot), and improving applications that help them support some of the Navy’s most important missions.

US Navy Captain Andrew Biehn, Director of Development and Integration for Program Executive Office, Integrated Warfare Systems: I was blown away by Andy’s presentation two years ago about modernizing the US Navy Aegis Combat System. This year, he presents the continuation of that journey and how it enables the expansion of the contractor and industrial base to bring non-traditional companies into the defense ecosystem. He will share success stories such as containerized missile launchers and enhanced sensors, which resulted from reclaiming technical baselines and fostering competition, transforming Navy capabilities. This has enabled quicker threat responses, improved missile production, and other capabilities to better protect sailors and better achieve strategic missions.

Subject Matter Experts

Manuel Pais, coauthor — Team Topologies & Dr. Laura Weis, Head of Future of Work — Satalia: Dr. Laura Weis and Manuel Pais explore how understanding team experiences and cognitive load impacts customer satisfaction and organizational success. They’ll share insights from Team Topologies on managing cognitive load in team characteristics, task characteristics, work processes & practices, and work environment & tools. Learn strategies to improve work satisfaction, reduce turnover, and prevent burnout in high-stakes initiatives.

Steve Smith, Global VP of Scale — Equal Experts: Steve Smith will delve into common pitfalls in platform engineering and how to avoid them. Drawing from his extensive experience, Steve will cover three major screw-ups: “power tools,” “technology anarchy,” and “teams as tickets,” tracing them to the core issue of treating platforms as projects, not products. Gain insights on building efficient, scalable internal engineering platforms.

Gregor Hohpe, Director of Enterprise Strategy — AWS: Gregor will explore how platforms tackle IT challenges like reducing cognitive load, eliminating friction, ensuring compliance, and enabling application portability. With a decade of experience as both an end-user and provider, Gregor will define what makes a platform and when to question cloud provider interfaces. Learn strategies for increasing platform adoption and navigating large-scale initiatives.

ADM John Richardson, 31st Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy (2015-2019): In previous years, Admiral John Richardson has talked about his leadership model of character, competence, and connections to build trust, expertise, and collaborative relationships among leaders. This year, I’ve asked him to teach technology leaders how to apply this metaphor to better connect up and across the organization. He presents a metaphor of a submarine operating at different depths. On the surface, it’s crowded but necessary to stay relevant. However, at deeper levels, character becomes paramount, emphasizing solid relationships and genuine understanding, allowing leaders to navigate real terrains and build authentic connections without posturing.

André Martin, Chief Talent and Learning Officer; Author — Wrong Fit, Right Fit: In this talk, Dr. André Martin, organizational psychologist and former Chief Learning Officer at Nike and Target, as well as VP of PeopleDev at Google, will share his insights on the importance of employee engagement and learning dynamics in organizations. He will explore why companies create senior positions focused on fostering a learning culture, how executives perceive employee engagement, and how the technology community can leverage these values to drive organizational performance.

Jon Smart, Founder — Sooner Safer Happier: We all know Jon’s work of defining systems so we can create better value sooner, safer, and happier. Inspired by the work of Dr. Carlota Perez, he investigated the creation of three historical new management method patterns from past industrial revolutions: Daniel McCallum’s data feedback loops, Andrew Carnegie’s continuous improvement, and Henry Gantt’s humane management. This is a fascinating presentation on the origins of org charts, division of responsibility on a large scale, experts with deep functional expertise, etc. This will help inform how and why we wire our technology organizations, which continue to require more specialization across more fields.

Nathen Harvey, DORA Lead and Developer Advocate — Google Cloud: We will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the DORA report on software delivery performance and reflect on the progress made by the DORA community over the past decade. Nathen will highlight key findings, such as the balance of speed and stability, the importance of a healthy culture, and the impact on organizational outcomes and well-being. He’ll also explore flow metrics, the SPACE framework, and dimensions of DevEx. Expect success stories, cautionary tales, and practical advice to help your teams continuously improve.

Forrest Brazeal, Co-founder — Forrest & Freeman: You may recall Forrest’s amazing performance in Vegas in 2022, where he amazed all of us with his musical genius and acerbic observations of failed digital transformations and reorganizations. Join us this year as he applies his genius to how GenAI is affecting all knowledge work (including developers!) and the existential dread we may feel.

More Speakers to Come

Additional speakers are listed below; more will be added as the event approaches.

Ian Eslick, Chief Technology Officer, Enterprise Architecture and Engineering — U.S. Bank

Paul Gaffney, Transformation Leader 

Steve Yegge, Head of Engineering — Sourcegraph

Austin Puckett, Director of Engineering — CLEAR

Bryon Kroger, Founder & CEO — Rise8

Marcelo Ancelmo, Head of Solution Architecture — KPMG Switzerland

Howard Patty, Senior Manager Digital Platforms & Tami Eick, Manager Revenue Protection Services — Southwest Airlines

Leaf (Jessica) Roy, Application Architect — MassMutual

Andy Domeier, Sr Director of Technology — SPS Commerce

Kate Matsudaira, VP Technology — SoFi

Christopher Williams, Consulting Agile Coach & Dr. Suzette Johnson, Northrop Grumman Fellow — Northrop Grumman

David Stenglein, Platform Strategy Advisor — Missing Mass, LLC & Erin Doyle, Staff Platform Engineer — Lob

Tadeh Hakopian, Senior Program Manager — Amazon

Corry Stanley, Director Infrastructure Products & Megan Shelton, Senior Manager Chapter Lead – Observability — Discover Financial Services

Clare Hawthorne, Senior Director, Engineering & Product Operations — Oscar Health

Cat Swetel, Technology Leader & Coach — Nubank

Dan Mazzella, Global Director of Software — Arcadis

David Faircloth, Sr. Director – Architecture & Platforms — The Wendy’s Company & Hany Elemary, Founder & CTO — Navalia

Sven Peters, DevOps Advocate — Atlassian

Aaron Rinehart, Global Cybersecurity Leader 

Anthony Earl, Space Agile Coach — Lockheed Martin

Robert Clawson, Agile and Product Dojo Coach & Sat Agrawal, Senior Principal Software Engineer — Discover Financial Services

Stephen Fishman, Global Practice Lead – Customer Success Strategy & Architecture — Mulesoft & Matt  McLarty, Digital Strategist | API Expert | Enterprise Architect

Ronica Roth, Co-founder & Christine Hudson, Co-founder — The Welcome Elephant; Bria Schecker, Director, Agile Transformation and Portfolio Management — Humana

Jordan Stoner; Agile Coach — Lockheed Martin

Jason Fertel, Engineering Head — PepsiCo eCommerce & Benjie De Groot, Co-founder — Shipyard

Brian Moore, RTX Principal — RTX & Dave Borzillo, Chief Agile Transformation Lead — Pratt & Whitney

Simon Rohrer, Head of Enterprise Technology Architecture and Ways of Working — Saxo Bank

Tracy Behler, Senior Director – Online Experience & Kiyoshi Kusachi, Senior Director – IT — Hawaiian Airlines

Brian Charles, Senior Manager & Steve Brosius, Senior Solutions Consultant — Vanguard

Denton Burnell, IT Department Head – Advice Technology & Colleen Evans, Senior Manager, Product Management a, Senior Manager, Product Management — Vanguard

Thank You To The Programming Committee

Once again, a huge thank you to our programming committee for their tremendous effort in sourcing and curating the talks that distinguish the Enterprise Technology Leadership Summit.

  • Jason Cox, Director, Platform & SRE, The Walt Disney Company
  • Cornelia Davis, Technology Fellow, Spectro Cloud
  • Damon Edwards, Sr. Director, Product, PagerDuty
  • Jeff Gallimore, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Co-Founder, Excella
  • Ben Grinnell, Managing Director and Global Lead of the Technology and Digital Service Line, North Highland
  • Dr. Tapabrata “Topo” Pal, Vice President, Architecture, Fidelity Investments
  • Scott Prugh, Chief Technology Officer, Uturn Data Solutions
  • Jon Smart, Founder, Business Agility Coach and Leader, Sooner Safer Happier
  • Amy Willard, IT Director, Global IT Strategy & Transformation, John Deere
  • Christina Yakomin, Senior Cloud Architect, Vanguard

- About The Authors
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Gene Kim

Gene Kim is a best-selling author whose books have sold over 1 million copies. He authored the widely acclaimed book "The Unicorn Project," which became a Wall Street Journal bestseller. Additionally, he co-authored several other influential works, including "The Phoenix Project," "The DevOps Handbook," and the award-winning "Accelerate," which received the prestigious Shingo Publication Award. His latest book, “Wiring the Winning Organization,” co-authored with Dr. Steven Spear, was released in November 2023.

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