The original blog first appeared on Electric Cloud.
We recently hosted a special episode of our Continuous Discussions (#c9d9) podcast, featuring Gene Kim and speakers from the upcoming DevOps Enterprise Summit San Francisco (DOES17). This episode is the first in a series of c9d9 episodes around DOES17 – where Gene and the speakers share tips for scaling DevOps initiatives in the enterprise, the latest stage in their transformation journey, and a bit about what to expect at the conference coming up next month.
The panel for this episode included Gene Kim, Erica Morrison, director of software development and operations at CSG International; Ray Krueger, VP of engineering at Hyatt; Ross Clanton, DevOps fellow at Verizon; Scott Prugh, software architect at CSG International; and, our very own Anders Wallgren and Sam Fell.
During the episode, the panelists shared DevOps advice, challenges and anecdotes to tide us over until their presentations this November. To keep with the DOES17 theme, below is a list of 17 of quips and tips!
Kim on up-leveling technical practices: “When you can up-level the technical practices, and it’s across a large engineering organization, it’s a significant competitive advantage.”
Morrison explains that KPI’s are different for every company, but it’s good to follow this advice: “It’s about aligning with the business and having an understanding for your business and for your customers what metrics are the most important.”
Dojos have made a significant impact at Verizon, in terms of getting business leader buy-in, explains Clanton: “The teams are doing a good job at pulling their business partners in. So a lot of the teams that come through, we have a presence from the business that’s in the Dojo with them, either from the leadership perspective or some kind of business owner perspective.”
One of Prugh’s biggest recent wins was getting business stakeholders’ buy-in of DevOps: “I’ve been able to influence all the business stakeholders in my organization about how important this is, to really think about the entire lifecycle of how developers and operations need to be integrated in everything from product management, security, development, building it itself, and running it.”
For the past 20 years, the hospitality industry has remained relatively stagnant when it comes to technology. But, Krueger and his team have changed that with their DevOps initiatives: “My proudest achievement is the work that we’ve done in the past two-and-a-half years. We’ve been having the leadership buy-in and the engineering and operational buy-ins.”
It’s important to have an open mindset when it comes to DevOps, says Wallgren: “All of the maneuvering and thinking large organizations have to do around the legacy, the politics, the economics, the shared communication – it’s great to see that people are taking it on. I come in with an open mindset, with eyes open in terms of, ‘Look, this is not an overnight thing. This is a journey.”
Just because you want to move on from legacy, doesn’t mean you can ignore those applications, explains Prugh: “Everyone wants to invest in fancy new applications, but you still have to operate the old ones. There’s been a lot of work that we’ve undertaken to transform our legacy applications in place by modernizing them with new practices – having end-to-end testing around applications that were written on Coderwall and AIX maybe, and adding automated unit testing and automated builds.”
The goals of the business are tied to the success of the technology organization, says Kim: “The product manager, the business organization, they know that the achievement of goals is dominated by how good the technology organization can execute with the capabilities the business is trying to create.”
Referring to removing legacy systems and increasing security at Hyatt, Krueger says starting small is what helped the most: “Establishing a path that shows that we can take these small steps and prove that we’re on the right path, without ripping off a giant Band-Aid.”
Wallgren’s definition of legacy: “What a lot of people mean when they say legacy is they mean code I didn’t write or infrastructure I didn’t design.”
Be careful when bringing in new execs to your transformation, advises Clanton: “I’ve seen what happens when new senior executives are brought in, like C-level executives, and if they aren’t kind of tuned into how to really operate this way and how to support the DevOps transformation, I’ve seen years of work get undone in weeks.”
Morrison on the importance of having architects with a holistic view: “We expect our architects to be do-ers within the system as well. That means they’re rolling up their sleeves alongside other team members, they’re helping to write code, they have that higher level holistic view. But they are helping to absolutely solve problems alongside team members. They’re the production too, they’re supporting our operational engineers.”
Kim on the resurgence of architects: “10 years ago, architects were kind of viewed as not being very relevant for how daily work was performed. It seems like now, DevOps has created the re-emergence of architecture as a critical concern.”
Clanton has what he calls a “Center of Practice” at Verizon: “I have a team that basically helps other people figure out how to learn and apply Agile practices, DevOps practices and Cloud practices. That’s a service that’s available to them inside the organization. People love that because they’re getting help and they aren’t necessarily having to directly pay for it either.”
Prugh on the importance of making operational features just as important as customer-facing features: “When we deliver a release, we have a showcase where we demonstrate the features and the value we’re delivering for a customer. In the latest showcases, we have the operations features to showcase as part of that investment that we’re demonstrating to the organization. You get the features that we’re delivering to the customers, but also the operational improvements and the value that they brought. Whether it’s driving down mean time to recovery (MTTR), getting rid of legacy technology that’s hard to support, investments in security complaints that aren’t in control – those all get face time during the showcase.”
Morrison details the “service owners” she has implemented at CSG: “There’s that one person who’s kind of responsible now for the end-to-end holistic view, and making sure that we’re systemically looking at issues versus duct taping individual issues. And then being able to use that framework to then demonstrate to our business partners that we are making progress on these KPIs.”
Implementing a set of standards can reduce developer stress, per Krueger. “We define standards and we provide the governance that keeps us on those standards, but more importantly, we provide the tools and frameworks that allow people to sort of transparently stay within the standards.”
Watch the full replay here.