DC 2015 - Program


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Leading people in devops

Facilitator: Holly Bazemore (@hfanelli)

Scribe: Marc Esher (@marcesher)


  • Started the conversation with talking about remote work from the last session
  • Importance of ground rules
    • test your mic... know your tools; can you log in to all the tools you need. If you can't, then you can't work remote that day b/c you can't do your job
    • If you see me wearing headphones, don't come into my space... don't interrupt me
    • The "chair problem": ask everyone in a circle to describe your ideal chair; everybody's idea of what a perfect chair is is different; say "Chair!" to identify when you're in violent agreement
  • In meetings, identify a facilitator
  • "developers hate meetings"... that means they hate nonproductive meetings.
  • all meetings are optional; all meetings must have an agenda. you have the right to deny a meeting if it doesn't have an agenda

    • But that's not enough... people need to know why they're there
    • What needs to come out of this meeting... what decisions need to be made, etc.
  • "Death by Meeting" -- book; helps people understand why they may or may not need to be in meetings; help understand different roles, why conflict is beneficial

  • meeting behavior: passive aggressive vs aggressive aggressive; people need to learn how to be confrontational in a constructive manner

  • Document the results of meetings; this is where you're starting from the next time

  • engineers in meetings: sometimes tough because they have trouble articulating themselves; engineers might need help with that, especially when they get steamrolled by people who are better communicators

  • it's also a people manager's job to realize when someone is getting steamrolled because of that, and they should pull back and help facilitate: "engineer, I heard you say XYZ...."

    • again, why facilitators are so important
  • You need to manage the individual; everyone's different. You need to know their different styles

  • "Strength Finder", book. Might be called "Find your strengths" -- by Gallup; stop focusing on weaknesses and double down on strengths

  • Executives (everyone?) starting to put their "Top 10 list" publicly... "here's how I like to be communicated with..."

  • Jessica: at their company, they're putting their personal develpment plan on the wiki; PDP also focus of 1:1s

  • At comcast, they're encouraging people to move around the org; better to move around and learn new things than have them leave

    - have handoff planning, handoff meeting, for that individual. Very transparent, documented... "here's everything we talked about"

  • Shifting topic: leadership in devops, and also: is a devops team a bad thing?

  • "My title is devops manager; we have a devops group"

  • guy runs the boston devops group, has seen two patterns:

    1. temporary devops group, to learn and spread the knowledge
  • "guild": way to keep devopsy-types loosely aligned and learning together, but those people are embedded in different teams

  • Chuck tells the story of bringing engineering and operations into one team

  • "We want devops, but you can't fail". Execs who want results but none of the pain

Platinum & Venue Sponsor


Platinum Sponsors

Excella Consulting Sumo Logic Netuitive Ansible Chef CustomInk Delphix Red Hat Elastic VictorOps Fugue Sonatype FireEye

Gold Sponsors

InfoZen Comcast Circonus Opus Group, LLC BlackMesh PagerDuty govready

Silver Sponsors

Puppet Labs