This is a companion podcast to the book "Achieving DevOps". Join us as we explore some of the winning methods some enterprises have found to deliver changes faster and more reliably, and the misconceptions and pitfalls that can trip us up.
A great interview with Betsy Beyer and Stephen Thorne of Google, coauthors of the incredible "Site Reliability Engineering Workbook". We cover a lot of ground in this interview, including how Google learns from failures, what toil is and how good organizations try to fight it, and when LESS reliability can be a good thing in software development. Betsy and Stephen's work around publicizing and breaking down the myths surrounding SRE have been huge boons to our industry; we find their work and thinking incredibly helpful and influential. You'll love it too!
So thrilled to have Gary as a guest on the Achieving DevOps podcast! Gary Gruver is one of my personal DevOps heroes and is very well known for his landmark books. His writing is powerful and pragmatic - revealing a solid background in the manufacturing field. He brings a process-driven engineer’s perspective that is always enjoyable and enlightening! He’s worked with HP, Macys, and a host of other enterprises in helping them achieve a stable quality signal and improve their delivery pipelines.
Had a great interview recently with Michael Stahnke of CircleCI! Back when I first met him, he was at Puppet – and I loved hearing his perspectives on continuous delivery and configuration management tools. Now he’s on to new things at CircleCI, as Platform VP.
As usual we range pretty far and wide. We cover communication and interpersonal relationships, the primary value of automation (hint – it’s not speed!), microservices, and hiring for compatibility. As he says – “One of my favorite DevOps tools is called ‘lunch’!”
Had such a great conversation recently with Tyler Hardison, the CTO of Redhawk Security. When I originally reached out to him for an interview in my book, I was primarily interested in what he had to say about DevSecOps and building security into the software lifecycle. What surprised me was the breadth of his experience – we talked about what the formations of the Roman army can teach us about ideal team sizes, how to build a workable (not mean, not toothless) peer review, and how to lure and select the best talent.
I got a chance recently to get reacquainted with a very prominent figure in the Oregon tech industry - Ryan Comingdeer from Five Talents Software, based out of Bend. What he told me about security, how to learn from failure with gamedays, and how microservices and security are not just the domain of the big boys might surprise you.
A great talk with John Weers of Micron Semiconductors. I think I interviewed about 2 dozen people for the book; John made more impact than anyone else. The Micron story intrigued me because it's not an "easy get" - fab facilities come with some unique constraints, including absurdly long lead times and absurdly expensive hardware, stringent security requirements, and a vast amount of legacy and technical debt to pay down. Not just anyone can successfully maintain momentum with that kind of environment; John's one of the best in the industry at engaging with software teams at their level and working cooperatively to meet goals. If you learn half as much as I did from our talk, you'll find this hour of time to be very valuable.
We have a nice little sit-down with Nathen Harvey, formerly of Chef, and now at a little mom-and-pop startup called Google! Nathen is a heckuva guy and has me rolling around a few times; he brings a ton of enthusiasm and experience to the table. Join us as we talk about the role of configuration management and provisioning tools alongside containers, how to go about getting executive buy-in, and the power of a small success story with something called a DevOps Dojo. We couldn't agree more with Nathen - no more horse manure with DevOps!
About a year ago I had the pleasure of meeting with Jon Cwiak, an enterprise architect at the insurance giant Humana. I love the Humana story and I’ve been watching them overcome obstacles and challenges along the way – they always move upwards and their cloud migration effort is really starting to gain traction.
Jon’s one of those hero architects I wish were more common in our industry; he’s a purist with a very strong vision of what cloud development and architecture means, but he’s pragmatic and engaging in how teams chart their course to get there. I think you’ll love this discussion, which explores some of the topics we covered in the book.
Here’s some of the topics we cover in the podcast:
Humana’s swing for the fences with their cloud migration
Why do good architects start with empathy – and what impact can this have on a project?
“DevOps isn’t a role or a title – it’s a set of practices that you do.”
How does Humana build a sense of community, and what 4 pillars do they look at in migrating workflows to the cloud?
Does Humana insist on a specific set of tools for monitoring, release, etc?
What does monitoring look like at Humana? And what about security – how does Humana handle their data stewardship without overloading engineers?
Does everything need to be a microservice? Where does Humana start in peeling off services and flows that would be a good fit for microservices?
On COTS products and buy vs build – “You buy for commodity and build for differentiation. I’m not going to build my own log analytics platform - that's a solved problem. Then I can go on and solve more interesting problems.”
Moving away from big, destructive tsunami releases: “Shipping is a feature – do so early and often.”
Sharing some lessons I learned from my local gym, and how to create lasting change by thinking small... tiny even! We pull some great stuff from "The Power of Habit" and the Crossfit craze, and talk about how this can help set you up for success - personally and at work.
We wrap up our 3-part discussion with Abel Wang of Microsoft. Here's where the rubber hits the road - Abel talks with us about the importance of testing, the power of feature flags (Abel’s a tireless advocate for LaunchDarkly, one of our faves), how eliminating flaky tests is key, and Dynatrace.
Our first 3-part interview! I love the energy Abel brings to the table, and his background as a serious coder makes his advice both pragmatic and spot on. He’s a fantastic speaker as well, if you’ve ever had the chance to catch him at a conference. (Check out his latest from Build 2018!) He wrote the foreword to my book, and with our conversation we got a chance to revisit some of the things we love most about DevOps and where we see the movement going in the future.
It's simply not true that the DevOps "unicorns" out there don't make mistakes. They simply do a better job of learning from and not repeating them, and this often starts with the art of the blameless postmortem. Join Jane Miceli and I as we bat around what makes blameless postmortems such a powerful - even fundamental - tool in your DevOps arsenal. For a longer written account, check out our blog article on the subject. Happy failing!
In the book, Ben's team makes a single list of the "nonfunctional requirements" and shortcuts they've had to make - technical debt - their first step. Why is this important? We'll talk about Plimsoll lines, the BTE ratio at Microsoft, and why exposing technical debt should be your first step to recovery.