Many have asked me what I’m looking forward to at DevOps Enterprise Summit 2016 in San Francisco. It is the third year of our conference, and I think it will be our best conference yet! Here are three of the things I’m looking forward to most.
1. Where Are They Now?
First off, we will have seven speakers coming back to present for the third time at the conference. Having this pattern of repeat speakers is a bit unusual for a conference, but I love that we’re following these leaders on their continuing journey. For me, it’s almost as if we have front-row seats of an unfolding documentary of the ongoing transformations that they are helping drive in their large, complex organization.
Why do I think this is important? My belief is that in the DevOps enterprise community, many of us are on a common journey and are increasingly being asked to help elevate the state of the practice for the entire technology organization (which often involves thousands of engineers). To see the journey unfolding for other pioneering leaders is often a glimpse into our own future.
The third-time speakers include:
Heather Mickman from Target; Scott Prugh and Erica Morrison from CSG; Tapabrata Pal from Capital One; Carmen DeArdo and his colleagues Jim Grafmeyer and Cindy Payne from Nationwide Insurance; Terri Potts from Raytheon; Courtney Kissler in her new role at Starbucks; and Jason Cox, who is giving the closing keynote about the DevOps journey at Disney.
Each of these leaders will recap on their DevOps journey so far, whether and how their roles have changed, the new challenges that have emerged since last year, and what they’ve done to overcome those challenges.
We’ll also be hearing from four people who have had a tremendous influence on the entire DevOps community: John Allspaw, CTO at Etsy; Mark Imbriaco, who led the Ops organizations at 37signals, Heroku, GitHub, LivingSocial, and DigitalOcean; Adrian Cockcroft, who led the migration of Netflix into the public clouds; and Michael Nygard, author of the seminal book, Release It!
2. Transformations From Different Industry Verticals
We always want to hear about DevOps transformations at all stages of the journey. I’m particularly looking forward to three of them that that are outstanding on their own merits but are also interesting because of the industries in which they operate: airline, hospitality, and insurance. These are three industry verticals that we don’t typically associate with DevOps.
Susanna Brown and Ben Chan will talk about how DevOps is changing how American Airlines works (and doing it in the middle of their merger and integration with US Airways); Matt O’Keefe will talk about speed becoming the prime directive at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts; and Opal Perry will talk about her efforts to transform culture at Allstate Insurance (which, like Nationwide Insurance, operates in an industry famous for its centuries-old, risk-averse traditions and decision-making styles).
I’m also excited about another conference first for us, which is the joint presentation from Suzette Johnson and Robin Yemen from Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, respectively. I met Ms. Johnson at an Agile conference for the Federal Government community and I was so inspired by the work that they’ve done within their firms and the broader community at large to improve outcomes for federal programs — both civilian and military.
3. New Session Format: DevOps Workshops
As adult learners — and this is especially true for leaders — we tend to learn more effectively from observation, experimentation, and group exercises and group learning as opposed to didactic lectures and descriptions of theory.
I’ve observed that the DevOps Enterprise community is truly a group of people who are helping each other. To help further enable the spontaneous and serendipitous interactions that make great communities great, we are adding a set of sessions called DevOps Workshops.
These are 60-minute sessions that run alongside the conference talks, and each workshop will focus on one of the community’s top problem areas:
- How can we better lead change in our organizations?
- What are the modern architectural and technical practices that every leader in our organization needs to know?
- How do we design our organization to best enable DevOps outcomes?
- What are ways that we can more effectively bridge the information security and compliance gap?
Each of these workshops will have a 10-minute introduction, which will be followed by 45 minutes of small-group discussions. To help ensure that each small group achieves its learning objective, as well as to ensure open and healthy dialogue, we have decided to have trained facilitators who use the Lean Coffee format.
Lean Coffee helps achieve this through a democratic selection of topics and rigorously enforced time-boxing of each topic. I’ve always been amazed at how effective this technique is at creating good outcomes.
(Why Lean Coffee? In my personal experience, all it takes is a bad facilitator or one person who loves hearing themselves talk to ruin the small-group session for everyone. I can’t think of a better mechanism than Lean Coffee to neutralize these risks.)
In addition to the amazing lineup of repeat speakers, expert talks, and new stories, my hope is that these DevOps Workshops will be of tremendous value and create fantastic learning and networking opportunities for all attendees. The collaboration and relationships that result from each of the DevOps Enterprise Summits never cease to amaze me, so we’d like to give attendees a variety of opportunities to engage with our speakers and with each other throughout all three days.
I’m looking forward to the best DevOps Enterprise Summit ever! I hope to see you there!