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DOES SFO 2016 - Mark Imbriaco - Lessons From the Bleeding Edge


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DevOps news is dominated by discussions about tools, and with good reason. It's not unusual for the amount of infrastructure-related code in a system to approach or even exceed the amount of code dedicated to the actual problem the system is solving, even in small systems. As our systems scale in size and complexity, we invest an ever increasing amount of resources into building solutions to help manage our our complex technical systems. And rightly so.

What's often overlooked, however, is the human component of our systems. All too often our approaches to tools, processes, and systems management attempt to remove humans rather than empower them.

I'll make the case that humans are not a source of entropy to be safeguarded against in our systems, but rather a fundamental source of resilience and even efficiency. We'll discuss ways that we can use this point of view to our advantage when constructing our systems to move faster without sacrificing safety. We'll look at things like tools and our interactions with them, team collaboration, and even organizational structure and policies.

We've had plenty of talks about building for web scale, cloud scale, and even planetary scale. Let's spend some time talking about designing for human scale.

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DOES SFO 2016 - Mark Imbriaco - Lessons From the Bleeding Edge

  1. 1. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco Lessons From the Bleeding Edge What I learned leading Ops at GitHub, Heroku, DigitalOcean, and more... Mark Imbriaco
  2. 2. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco • Building and operating Internet services for over 20 years. • TechOps leadership at 37signals, Heroku, LivingSocial, GitHub, and DigitalOcean. • Founder of Operable. • Frequently opinionated. Who am I?
  3. 3. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco
  4. 4. #PDSummit16Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco
  5. 5. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco Break large decisions into smaller decisions whenever you can. Not only is it easier to make small decisions, it's also easier to change them when you find out you're wrong. Make tiny decisions.
  6. 6. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco Engineers have a hard time leaving problems unsolved, but there are always more problems. Push back and enforce healthy balance. Fight hero culture.
  7. 7. #PDSummit16Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco
  8. 8. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco If you haven't practiced your plan, you don't have a plan. Build deliberate practice and feedback mechanisms into your processes to increases confidence when working under stress. Practice makes perfect.
  9. 9. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco Be prescriptive where possible to allow people to focus on the areas where they provide the most value. Don't make me think.
  10. 10. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco Learn from both successes and failures. Learning reviews should be a habit, not an opportunity for assigning blame. Make it safe to learn.
  11. 11. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco • Apologize. And mean it. • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the problem. • Explain what you're doing to reduce the likelihood of similar problems. Don't over promise. ... and share the results publicly.
  12. 12. #PDSummit16Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco
  13. 13. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco Go the extra mile to understand the problems that your internal customers have and demonstrate that you understand them, especially when you have to say no. Empathy is a core value.
  14. 14. #PDSummit16Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco
  15. 15. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco Design collaboration into your processes. Make sharing the default and bias toward visibility. Remember, visibility is the ultimate compensating control. Collaborate by default.
  16. 16. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco If you're building a web tool, enlist help from a friendly designer. If all else fails, pick a UI framework like Bootstrap and fake it. A little bit of visual design goes a long way. Ops tools don't have to be ugly.
  17. 17. #PDSummit16Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco
  18. 18. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco Celebrate your wins and share in the celebration of others to build a virtuous cycle of forward progress. And remember, shipping isn't just for software. Build a culture of shipping.
  19. 19. #PDSummit16Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco
  20. 20. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco Big design up front does not work well in software. Processes are no different. Be flexible, adaptable, and constantly apply what you learn. Do the simplest thing that could work.
  21. 21. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco Beware the illusion of agreement and be explicit. Make sure that your hard won knowledge is shared across your entire organization and deliberately considered in new projects. Close the feedback loop.
  22. 22. Mark Imbriaco @markimbriaco If you're interested in ChatOps and have security or audit requirements, I'd love to talk to you. Mark Imbriaco Thanks!