It’s hard to believe that DevOps Enterprise Summit London ( DOES18 ) is right around the corner! The conference, which takes place June 25-26 at The InterContinental – O2, is guaranteed to provide two jam-packed days of learning around architecture, next-generation operations, spanning business and technology divides and much more. If you haven’t already registered, there is still time to secure your spot! Receive 20 percent off registration using the Friends of Gene Kim code (FOG20) at checkout. And, if two days of DevOps just isn’t enough, Electric Cloud is hosting post-conference workshops for a full immersion experience:
- From New Learner to Executive Leader—Gary Gruver (Electric Cloud strategic advisor, author of “Scaling Agile” and “Leading the Transformation”) and Helen Beal (product owner at the DevOps Institute,) build up your knowledge and transformational leadership potential in this full-day, hands-on workshop geared toward business leaders.
- You Build It, You Secure It: DevSecOps Workshop—John Willis (Electric Cloud strategic advisor, co-author of “The DevOps Handbook” and vice president of DevOps and Digital Practices at SJ Technologies) hosts this full-day, hands-on, technical workshop to help build and incrementally improve DevSecOps pipelines.
Prior to DOES18 and upcoming workshops, we caught up with Beal and Gruver to learn a little more about their DevOps background and what attendees can expect during their workshop:
Alan Shimel: First, for those who don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself?
Gruver: Hi, everyone – glad to be here. In my professional career I’ve worn a lot of hats—I’ve been an engineering executive, a coach, an author. My experience in this space come from leading large-scale transformations in big organizations with complex tightly coupled systems. I think this gives me a unique perspective that is valuable to any managing large systems that aren’t in a position to just go and “re-architect everything to microservices in the next few months.”
I started out by leading a group of 800 developers in the HP LaserJet firmware team through a transformation that delivered a 2-3X improvement in productivity. The results were so great that we decided to document the journey in my first book, “A Practical Approach to Large Scale Agile Development.” This book, coincidentally, echoed the same ideas and was finished about the same time that Jez Humble and David Farley published their book, “Continuous Delivery.”
After that, I joined Macy’s.com as the VP of Release, QA and Operations to apply these same concepts to their very large-scale journey to CD. It helped that Jez worked down the street and we could share ideas back and forth over beers. During this period, the term “DevOps” started getting real traction, and I realized I was one of few people actually helping to roll out those practices in large, complex organizations. At the end of that experience, I published my second book, “Leading the Transformation,” where I documented everything I wish I had known to help others avoid the same mistakes I had made.
After my experience at Macy’s, I began coaching executives in other large organizations in order to help them transform their own software development and delivery processes. Each one of these engagements was unique, with very different challenges—although I could definitely see commonalities among them. I compiled that knowledge into my third book, “Starting and Scaling DevOps in the Enterprise,” where I lay out the approach I use in working with these organizations.
Beal: Hi, I’m Helen and I describe myself as a “DevOpsologist”—that is, I study DevOps. I coach, train, write and talk about all aspects of DevOps and help organizations use DevOps principles to deliver value outcomes faster, better and more reliably. I do this at Ranger4 through assessing capabilities, developing improvement roadmaps and then implementing those road maps through workshops, training and facilitating value stream-mapping exercises and games like The Phoenix Project Game. I’ve been working in the software industry for nearly 25 years and have spent most of them specifically focused on helping organizations make improvements in the software delivery life cycle. I also work with the DevOps Institute on content improvement and creation and am a DevOps editor at InfoQ.
Shimel: How did you “get into” DevOps? Why is it so important to you?
Gruver: I didn’t get into DevOps to “do DevOps,” because the term hadn’t yet been invented. Instead, I applied the concepts of what later became known as deployment pipelines to my particular situation because they were the process improvements we found had the biggest impact on our efficiency. The group I managed (at HP) was just starting a complete re-architecture of a 10M line code base when the economy crashed (2008), resulting in me being told I had 30 days to come up with a plan to drop my R&D spending by 50 percent but I still had to deliver the new architecture on time. This transformation was critical to the health of the business, so I took it as a personal mission to get this done so we could maintain staffing levels and keep the jobs of all my friends and co-workers.
Every day I came in and got to work with an amazing group of people that were focused on doing everything possible to help the company survive by improving the efficiency of our software delivery process. We ended up implementing a lot of changes that were later called “DevOps.”
It was such a huge breakthrough for the business that I have spent the next decade of my life trying to help others realize the benefits of these process improvements. And over time I have focused more on DevOps because I think it best represents the process changes that provide the biggest benefits for large organizations.
Beal: Working on the whole software delivery life cycle led to four years closely focused on deployment automation just as DevOps was becoming a “thing.” At Ranger4 we decided to build our business around helping organizations understand how to use DevOps principles and practices to make improvements. At Ranger4 we like to say we are fanatical about making life on earth fantastic and that’s the core of why it’s so important to me—we are trying to take pain away from the work people are doing and make them more successful and their organizations more successful.
Shimel: Tell us about your workshop. Who comes to your workshops? What will people coming to your workshop learn?
Gruver: My workshop is a combination of the “Leading the Transformation” and “Starting and Scaling DevOps in the Enterprise” books. We start helping executives understand their roles in leading a successful transformation and provide a framework for that effort. Next, we deep dive on DevOps, helping executives understand how implementing DevOps in large, tightly coupled organizations can and needs to be different from what you hear about being recommended by the unicorns with loosely coupled architectures. The workshop also shows the executives how to analyze their current deployment pipelines to identify the biggest sources of waste because I strongly believe if you don’t start delivering real business benefits early your transformation will start losing momentum.
This workshop gives people the opportunity to integrate everything they learned at DOES and put it together with an approach they can take back to their organization and start making changes that will improve the effectiveness of their software development and delivery processes.
Beal: My workshop is the DevOps Institute’s “DevOps Essentials,” so kind of what it says on the tin: the fundamentals of DevOps in half a day. So we’ll be covering things like where DevOps has come from, why people are doing it and what they are actually doing; the Three Ways; CALMS; changing culture; the relationship between Agile, Lean and ITSM; and building DevOps toolchains. People that come to my workshop will leave with a solid understand of the core practices and principles and DevOps vocabulary.
Extra insights from Beal:
Shimel: What’s the hottest topic in DevOps for you right now?
I’ve always been particularly interested in the cultural side of DevOps and right now I am most interested in the neuroscience of behaviors.
What did you learn this week?
I learned this thing about pigs and chickens in agile the other day which made me laugh, and also helped make an improvement in a particular team we are working with.
Ready to get your hands on DevOps? Register now to join Beal and Gruver June 27 at The InterContinental London – O2.
If you’re looking for a more technical hands-on experience, register for Willis’ workshop here.
Plus, there is still time to register and save for DOES18! Gene Kim is giving out his “friends of Gene” discount – use code “FOG20” at checkout for 20 percent off the ticket price.