As my colleague and mentee Mark had to travel to a faraway destination to attend to important private business, I replaced him in a DevOps SPoC workshop that had been planned several months ago and for which he was registered.
He told me that the workshop would take place in Copenhagen on The 4th and the 5th of July. I was looking forward to enjoy a couple of days in “CPH”, one of my favourite destinations in Europe, and told him not to worry – I would be happy to help him out and take his place.
He subsequently asked me if I can deliver a 30 minute presentation on the relation between DevOps and resilience. I said ‘Okay’ planning to share the outcomes of the ‘resilient DevOps’ initiative that I discussed in ‘my DEVOPS journey ’ and that we had conducted in the first months of the year.
Two weeks before the workshop the location was changed to Berlin, also an interesting European city, making it difficult to book non-stop flights for a decent price…but that did not stop workshop registrants from joining…
I arrived on wednesday night late, not knowing what to expect. We started the next morning at 9:00 in one of the conference rooms in the business center of the hotel. I had only met three of the participants before, the rest of the group were new to me…
Although this international team had been working together for almost two years and had met in various European cities such as Rome, Copenhagen and Zürich, they were very welcoming and it wasn’t difficult at all to blend in and contribute. We started with presentations from various team members.
Especially the presentation from Maite Gonzalez helped me understand how IBM sees the business perspective and the positioning of DevOps amongst its service offerings.
The question to what extent DevOps (as well as the related topics of Agile and SRE) lends itself for clearcut offerings is, in my view, an interesting one. One could argue that DevOps (and Agile or SRE) is just a ‘way of working’; the end goal of an IT project always is to deliver some functionality, i.e. one or more (micro-)services and DevOps (and Agile or SRE) is one approach towards achieving that goal. In theory there could be other approaches… Looking at it from that angle, DevOps falls in the category ‘method and tools’ in terms of offering positioning.
My presentation was scheduled for later that afternoon and arose good constructive discussion. The point that I made was that best practices to engineer IT solutions for resilence (and performance) remain valid, irrespective of the ‘way of working’ chosen, and that with ‘chapter 2 of the journey to cloud’ resilience (and performance) are becoming more important rather than less…
The bulk of the work was done in the breakout sessions. I decided to join the team that was preparing education materials for executives. Our first task was to finalize the agenda of the new education module. I figured that my experience as leader of the operational resilience education workstream in a UK based financial institution would come in helpful.
The first question to be asked was : ‘who are the intended audience, what are the messages that they will need to pick up and what is their attention span?’ The previous experience of team members Maite and José as executives helped to impersonate the audience and make the right choices in terms of agenda and length of the education module. Jan-Paul, our team leader, guarded the quality of the content that we were planning to share and walked us step by step through the draft agenda.
While we were chewing on the setup of the executive education module, the other teams were investigating DevOps tools and finetuning deep dive education for technical professionals.
Another topic that received plenty of attention was the DevOps learning path and the badges that can be earned by technical professionals to formally certify their knowledge and experience in this area. We investigated the possibility to reach out to IBM’s large community of certified architects and explore common ground to find fastpaths to increase skills in DevOps architecture.
All in all it was a positive experience to work with like-minded technical professionals and some executives as well.
Thanks Frank Hollenberg for organising and leading this initiative – I think it is a good example of technical community empowerment and I am happy to help, going forward! And, by the way, apologies for finishing this ‘July Proudmoments’ blog on August 3rd, i.e. three days late…