Inspiring approaches to Continuous Delivery & DevOps
The Continuous Delivery and DevOps Conference took place in Stockholm for the third time. It brought together scientists, thought leaders, and practitioners to share their experiences and thoughts on CoDe and DevOps.
At Praqma, we believe in community and knowledge sharing. We take pride in it! So, we were really excited to host our annual Continuous Delivery and DevOps (CoDe) conference in the Venice of Scandinavia, Stockholm! The theme of this year’s talks concerned DevOps data and metrics, quality and stability, culture adaptation, and the importance of people and professional development.
After a light breakfast and a good supply of coffee, Jenny Björneberg and Lars Kruse welcomed the audience and showcased the Praqma vision. They described the ongoing commitment to bringing the software community together through CoDe Alliance. They also touched on CoDe Academy, Praqma’s free training program for university students on the latest industry approaches to CoDe.
The first speaker was Nicole Forsgren from DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA). After checking the early morning coffee levels in the audience (were some a little sleepy from the previous evening’s meet-up?), Nicole inspired everyone with a host of metrics and statistics showing the impact DevOps makes on businesses. These metrics were scientifically studied by DORA and published in their 2017 State of DevOps Report where they measured commercial and noncommercial metrics.
The results show that DevOps practices drive dramatic improvements in organizational performance. For example, high performing DevOps teams are more agile (with 46x more frequent deployments) and more stable (with 96x faster time to recover from a downtime). “Continuous Delivery increases software delivery performance leading to increased profitability and also makes our work feel better by decreasing deployment pain and burnout.”
Nicole ended her keynote by emphasizing the importance of workplace culture. By incentivizing and rewarding innovation, businesses can create an environment where their employees can really see their ideas coming to life.
Next on the stage was Henk Kolk who shared his experience of leading the transformation to DevOps at ING, a huge project which involved several reorganizations to increase speed and agility. Henk highlighted how ING moved to an engineer-centric control framework and reduced manual work and wait times. However, Henk concluded that this move also created a need for more staff training and human development.
After a short break the conference split into two parallel sessions. Anders Lundsgaard talked about Scania’s connected services evolution from spaghetti code to monolith applications before adopting microservices. As part of this evolution they had to find a way to “walk through the walls” between the Dev and Ops teams. So, they got their feature teams and support teams to share responsibilities which removed bottlenecks and waiting times.
Next on the stage was Mieke Deenen from the Dutch public employment service (UWV). Mieke described the journey of UWV’s transformation from being a process-oriented organization to an agile one. The process was far from smooth. When the first attempts failed and UWV suffered a major outage the UWV team’s confidence in agile dropped. To overcome this, Mieke and her team had to find the balance between the old world and the new DevOps world to gradually rebuild confidence. She concluded her experience by saying: “If you want to start with DevOps, start with creating a team of motivated individuals… be persistent, build bridges, create trust and keep learning and improving.”
Ryan Sheldrake from Sonatype took the stage to warn that there is a single security expert for every 100 developers out there. In the DevOps landscape open source tools and libraries are particularly popular. However, as Ryan demonstrated, open source software comes with lots of components which we don’t have any control over. “We use open source software to be able to deploy faster and faster and faster. That brings in all the vulnerabilities.” He concluded: “[for secure development] Empower the developers from the start [by informing them about vulnerabilities and best components version], make access to precise quality information easy, keep a complete list of what you use in your application and make security testing fun.”
The third keynote of the day was delivered by James Grenning, founder of Wingman Software and signator of the Agile Manifesto. He argued that technical excellence is badly needed today and that agile teams need to employ engineering practices that support the tight iterative cycles of Agile and Scrum. Further, he added that we need to continuously learn and develop our technical practices to avoid having the “Expert Beginner” developers. James concluded his keynote by reiterating the importance of people as the “third half” of Agile in addition to technical excellence and iterative planning.
The last session gave the audience an opportunity to put questions to a panel consisting of all the speakers who had spoken during the day. One attendee raised the question of whether you can influence an organization’s culture if you are not in a management role. The panel agreed that anyone can definitely influence your organization’s culture regardless of your role, for better and worse, and referred to some examples including the recent incident of the Google employee’s memo about gender inequality.
Another question was about the impact DevOps is having on HR and the way engineers are recruited. The panel agreed that it is no longer important to test a person’s abilities in specific languages/tools! Rather, it is more important to test their ability and willingness to learn. This did not come as a surprise after many of the speakers called for “continuous learning” in their talks.
As the conference came to an end, the clear takeaway was that people matter. Organizations need to empower them by adapting innovative work cultures and supporting them to learn and unlearn continuously.
You can find more information about the conference and the speakers’ slides on the conference website.
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