Part 2: What we learned at DevOps Enterprise Summit 2014, and what will this year’s DOES hold for you?

Written by: Electric Bee
5 min read
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In a recent post , we shared five favorite takeaways from last year’s DevOps Enterprise Summit (#DOES14 ) and announced DevOps Enterprise Summit 2015 (DOES15 ), happening October 19-21 in San Francisco. We are excited to share five more takeaways from last year’s DOES event since there were so many amazing presentations, based upon real life expriences, and lessons learned.

1Culture Eats Process for Lunch

A favorite #DOES14 sound bite of ours comes from Enterprise Agile Coach, Kathryn Kuhn. The idea that “culture eats process for lunch,” was reiterated by many. You can’t buy transformation and DevOps will never come in a box. It all starts with the people you hire and the policies you promote.
Within the enterprise, distributed teams of thousands of developers contribute to the delivery of one product. Collaboration, clear communication and understanding of a shared objective are essential in accomplishing the rapid release cycles we see from truly Agile teams. No automation process or Continuous Delivery tool will transform your organization, investing in process before people is a sure-fire way to annoy developers who won’t understand, slow your process even more and ultimately fail in your transformation attempts.

"Culture eats process for lunch" @Kathryn_e_Kuhn #DOES14
— Em Campbell-Pretty (@PrettyAgile) October 23, 2014

2BUT, the Tools do Matter

A clear crowd pleaser from out keynote lineup in 2014 was Jason Cox, Director and Systems Engineering at The Walt Disney Company. Although Cox’s presentation could not be live-streamed, the points he made were shared across social channels like wild fire. Cox’s opinions on tooling were particularly proliferated. “You’ve got to pick technology that transforms,” he said. “You need to find tools that change the way you think.”

Jason Cox, Director and Systems Engineering at The Walt Disney Company speaking at DOES14
So, yes, you must invest in people before process, but if you stop your investment in DevOps, Agile, Continuous Delivery or other lean practices, you’re ultimately wasting your efforts. You cannot “automate all the things” without automation tools. Invest heavily in your people and then elevate them from as many processes as possible. For more on Cox’s presentation, read this blog post from Puppet Labs.

3Sharing Failures is as Important as Successes

From massive telecom companies, to national not-for-profit organizations or financial institutions, failure is a part of any large enterprise’s attempt at scaling DevOps. When speakers such as Bill Donaldson and Aimee Bechtle of MITRE Corp shared real-life experience about what they did wrong vs. just celebrating what they succeeded at, attendees were able to learn from their errors as well as become more comfortable with the idea that failure should be expected and embraced. “We want to have you takeaway two things from this presentation: The emotional roller coaster that we went on, and then second, what we did after the system was up and running,” said Bechtle.

That “emotional roller coaster” was not that much different from that we heard from Agile Coach, Em Campbell Pretty and her work with an international telecom company, or, that of Owen Gardner, Director at Barclays. With these massive organizations, made up of national or international distributed teams and legacy infrastructure that is often decades old, failure will happen. There is no “two-day Agile training” that will result in an enterprise immediately “doing DevOps” or “being Agile.” It takes time, effort, failures and then learning from those failures to complete a transformation.

4DevOps is a Forcing Function for all Organizations

As outlined in the first post in this series, Nicole Forsgren shared extremely compelling data proving the ROI of enterprise DevOps initiatives in commercial efforts, but the evidence of the importance of agility in large scale organizations didn’t stop there. Mark Schwartz, CIO at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a department that processes more than 7,000,000 immigration applications a year, asked in his presentation , “Can we have a lean bureaucracy… can we make it agile?”
The answer is – we have to. Eight months to change what Schwartz described as a few code lines on the website is no longer acceptable. Organizations processing the amount of information and serving the number of users as Schwartz cannot afford to have such long delivery cycles. So, Schwartz described the process of mapping Agile requirements to meet the regulatory needs that are unavoidable in organizations, such as the government. Agility is required in every enterprise to keep up with the data and demands technology faces these days, even those it seems impossible in.

5We’ve Got to Do it Again this Year!

The DOES14 event was a blast. We hope everyone walked away from the inaugural DevOps Enterprise Summit as energized, inspired and informed as we did. The sold-out event and amazing sessions were almost more than we could have hoped for in a first year event. With Gene Kim and IT Revolution, we are very pleased with the success of the event, and excited to make the second annual DOES event an even larger success.
With planned space for twice as many attendees (more than 1,000), a new location in San Francisco and our Call for Papers open, we cannot wait to see what the DOES event will turn into this year. Early Bird registration is open , make sure you snag your spot today!

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