In October of last year, we co-hosted the first ever DevOps Enterprise Summit (#DOES14) with Gene Kim and IT Revolution. The conference featured keynotes from some of the largest organizations implementing DevOps, Agile and Continuous Delivery into their development processes today. Among the great speakers, we had keynotes from Target, GE, Disney, Capital One, the USCIS and even the DevOps “unicorn,” Netflix.
The sheer amount of real-life experiences and actionable tips that were shared at the conference by DevOps leaders and practitioners across all industries was astonishing. Unlike other conferences that are heavy on coaches and vendor talks, the DevOps Enterprise Summit features a group of like-minded professionals working hard to build DevOps and Continuous Delivery initiatives within large, complex, enterprise environments.
Five takeaways from DevOps Enterprise Summit 2014:
As we plan for the 2015 conference, we chose 5 favorite takeaways from last year’s DevOps Enterprise Summit (#DOES14 ) that still resonate with us today. These ideas were shared during the conference sessions by software executives from a variety of industries.
1DevOps Practitioners Enable an Extremely Collaborative Community
Courtney Kissler, VP of E-Commerce and Store Technologies at Nordstrom, said it best when she began her keynote, Transforming to a Culture of Continuous Improvement , saying, “What I love about this community is you really get the opportunity to share, and it’s genuine. We are all in this to learn from each other.”
Collaboration, sharing resources and communication are the foundation of DevOps and it is clear those principles expand beyond individual enterprises. This practically tangible desire to share information and have enterprises helping other enterprises was the original inspiration behind DOES.
2 DevOps Innovation Starts in the Enterprise
Shocking? Unlike the Agile movement – fueled by startups and small development teams – innovations in DevOps practices have been developed in large organizations that historically are more conservative and vested in legacy procedures and infrastructure. This is especially true in industries such as financial services, Telco and government IT.
CloudBees’s CEO, Steve Brodie, wrote a post for WIRED Magazine’s Innovation Insights blog that digs more into why this is so, and his ideas boil down to a simple point: The enterprise cannot afford large, problematic builds with high-failure rates. To keep up with customer demands and stay relevant, enterprises need to become more agile to ebb and flow with customer demands and increase the speed of software development and deployment.
3 The ROI of DevOps is real and quantifiable
Nicole Forsgren, assistant professor at Utah State, presented a keynote titled, DevOps and the Bottom Line , that included real-life numbers that validate the tremendous effort of “doing-DevOps.” She presented the results from PuppetLabs’ State of DevOps Report that finally quantified the undeniable ROI of Lean practices.
These results provide development teams the data they need to convince executive leadership to embark upon on an extensive, organizational-wide software development and deployment transformation. Forsgren, and numerous speakers throughout the event, repeatedly reinforced the concept that business decisions won’t be sold on concepts like “DevOps” or “Agile,” but on the potential for large cuts in production costs that lead to exponential business growth.
4There is no such thing as Unicorns, only Thoroughbreds vs. Horses
While some enterprises – such as Etsy and Netflix – have a leg up on the competition by having launched their business around DevOps, Agile and Continuous Delivery practices from the beginning, these are not pseudo-mythical entities, such as unicorns. These enterprises should be considered thoroughbreds – not unicorns – because their well-practiced software development processes are attainable.
The development processes of a thoroughbred have resulted in muscles (and muscle memory) that can be successfully be replicated and applied to other enterprise software organizations. Enterprise software organizations – the horses – can become thoroughbreds with their development initiatives through persistent, deliberate DevOps transformations.
5Thoroughbreds Don’t sweat the Small Stuff – Only the Big Stuff
At DevOps Enterprise Summit 2014, Netflix’s Dianne Marsh, Roy Rapoport and Damon Edwards talk through some basic principles behind Netflix and what it takes to operate at such a fast-pace of software development and delivery. Rapoport and Marsh explained, with 53 million plus users and $5 billion annual revenue, you cannot get caught up in small failures.
When managing teams the size Rapoport and Marsh do, you need empowered developers who move fast and are unafraid of repercussions from making small errors. Supervisors cannot supervise everything, always. They must instill confidence in their teams to be nimble and maintain perpetual progress through delivery pipelines without needing permission to do what they see as best.
We invite you to consider these takeaways, their significance to improving all aspects of the software delivery pipeline, and how they can be applied to your organization and its specific DevOps transformation.
We know that there are many other memorable talks and valuable takeaways from last years’ conference – so stay tuned for Part 2 of this series. You can also share your own takeaways from last year’s event using #DOES14 on Twitter.
We can’t wait to see what we’ll learn at DOES this year!
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UPDATE: See Part 2 of this series here
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