That’s a Wrap! DevOps Enterprise Summit San Francisco 2017 Musings

It’s hard to believe the fourth installment of DevOps Enterprise Summit San Francisco (DOES17) is complete! We are honored to be partners with IT Revolution and Electric Cloud to support what we believe is one of the best (if not THE best) DevOps conferences out there. Every year seems to be better than the next, and it’s safe to say that DOES17 was the best yet. DOES has been selling out every year since it began, and this year was no exception. Almost 1,500 attendees took a deep dive into DevOps over the course of three days. Each day offered a variety of general and breakout sessions, workshops, exhibits to explore, analyst and media influencers to engage with, networking with peers from organizations of all types and sizes, intimate “Ask the Speaker” sessions, and more. Plus, the caliber of speakers at DOES17 was one of the highest we have seen. Leaders from Disney, Nationwide Insurance, Lockheed Martin, Key Bank, Nike, Starbucks and more took the stage to tell their DevOps transformation stories – some of them sharing updates for the fourth year in a row! It’s always interesting to hear from speakers like Dr. Tapabrata (Topo) Pal from Capital One who come back and update us on their journey and some of the challenges they still face. There’s almost this sense of calm that washes over when attendees hear that some of the largest global enterprises encounter similar problems their own organizations face. Truly, we are all in this together. One of the great things to watch at any DOES event is the connections being made between DevOps peers. Whether it is fellow attendees sharing ideas and stories in the hallways, or speakers opening up to attendees to help them brainstorm their most pressing challenges, it really is all about community.

While we had an incredible experience at DOES17, the amount that we learned should not be overlooked. From architecture to business buy-in, essentially every aspect of a DevOps transformation was covered in the sessions. At the end of the three days, three takeaways really stood out for us:

  • Systems-level thinking: If we had a dime for every time a speaker mentioned systems thinking or systems ownership…But, it is an interesting take on how an organization should view their software development. Essentially, it’s about involving more than just developers and operations – everyone in the organization should be involved in the software delivery process. Finance, legal, HR and the executive team should all have a stake in the company’s software to help align business goals and vision. Thus, the entire system, or organization, takes ownership on some level in the technology. Erica Morrison and Scott Prugh of CSG International talk more about this in their session.
  • Human factor: Sure, you need the tools and processes to get you there, but what’s behind them? People! People are what truly drive a DevOps transformation and everything that comes with it. Speakers J. Paul Reed and Sidney Dekker particularly spoke at length about this topic. If your teams are not inspired or on the DevOps train with you, nothing will get done. It’s crucial to have this alignment and buy-in from developers all the way up to the executives.
  • Transformational leadership: This ties in a bit to the human factor of DevOps, but something that Dr. Steve Mayner and many others made quite clear was that transformational leadership is a key to DevOps success. What does a transformational leader possess? As Mayner explains, they typically have four qualities: Vision, Authenticity, Growth and Creativity. Most importantly, and something we heard time and again, is a transformational leader does NOT lead by fear. They do not view themselves as being above their teams, but rather alongside them, helping and learning from them throughout the entire journey. What’s even better, is that statistics prove that transformational leadership can be learned – no genes required.

We are looking forward to learning more at DevOps Enterprise Summit London 2018 taking place June 25-26 at the exquisite InterContinental London (The O2). Stay tuned to the home page and Twitter feeds (@DOES_EUR and @DOES_USA) for the latest updates!


*Photo Credit: Bethanie Hines Photography