ChefConf 2013 Keynote Session – Opscode – Adam Jacob


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Adam Jacob's keynote at ChefConf 2013.

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ChefConf 2013 Keynote Session – Opscode – Adam Jacob

  1. 1. You are more important than you have everbeenAdam Jacob, Chief Customer OfficerEmail: adam@opscode.comTwitter: @adamhjk
  2. 2. Who am I?•  Adam Jacob•  Chief Customer Officer, Opscode – secret code name for “Dude that wrote the first pass at Chef”•  17 years as a Systems Administrator•  As Opscode has grown, I’ve become the guy that helps customers with gnarly problems find solutions•  A bit of advice: awesome work if you can get it
  3. 3. Why are we here?
  4. 4. The obvious reasons
  5. 5. I’m feeling more philosophical than that,
  6. 6. We care about two things, apparently…2
  7. 7.
  8. 8. ContinuousDelivery
  9. 9.
  10. 10. And for me, personally, how was becoming a critical problem
  11. 11. Getting to Why
  12. 12. The map is not the territory•  Devops is a response to, and post-facto justification for, a shift in thefunctional meaning of IT.•  Continuous Delivery is aresponse to, and post-facto justificationfor, a shift in expectations about thepace of innovation in applications byconsumers of those applicationsMagritte - The Pipe
  13. 13. Globalization•  Integration in commodity, capital, and labor markets•  It took 40 years for container ships to move 70% ofsea-borne trade by value (from 1968 to 2008)•  It took 22 years for internet access to reach 78%penetration in North America (1990-2012).•  Online retail sales are 7% of all retail sales•  75% of 2011 Thanksgiving shoppers did so online•  42% of all retail purchases were influenced by online research– accounting for ~50% of total retail spending.
  14. 14. Internet penetration continues to push forward globallySource:Wikipedia, via the Internation Telecommunications Union
  15. 15. 95% of the western world own cellular phones• 42% are Smartphones• 58% will be on the nextpurchase.• 4.2 Billion Phones globally, for7.09 Billion People.
  16. 16. Software is the interface for consumption
  17. 17. Let’s talk about bananas for a second•  Uganda has a huge, mainly subsistencebanana farming culture•  Cell phone coverage expanded from 46%of the population in 2003 to 70% in 2005.•  Japanese study covered 856 householdsin 96 communities.•  41 of those had coverage in 2003, 87 didin 2005.•  50% to 69% increase in participation forpeople who live 20 miles or more fromcenter
  18. 18. What really happened?•  Traders had better access tofarmers•  You didn’t even have to own acell phone to benefit!•  Still not perfect – there is still alarge information asymmetrybetween the traders (who knowthe prices) and the farmers (whojust want to sell their dangbananas)
  19. 19. So how long before we get this?Private BananaTrader NANA
  20. 20. This is the future of the global economy
  21. 21. The world of IT moved from the back office to the front•  In every business we talked about except bananas, IT washistorically a source of internal efficiency•  As more and more customers prefer digital consumption, that roleshifts to one that is increasingly customer centric – the front of thebusiness, not the back•  Every technology that previouslyimpacted only internal business functionsnow directly supports customerinteractions!
  22. 22. Devops•  Is the cultural and professional movement that grewdirectly from the collective experience of the pioneers ofthis transition•  It’s application to traditional IT is 1:1 – the shift inconsumption will be ubiquitous.•  This means the need for the business adaptationsencapsulated in Devops will eventually be essentiallyubiquitous as wellAt least, if you want to be great at the next coupledecades of global economic growth
  23. 23. Applications became customer service vehicles•  Prior to this transition, customer serviceproblems were mitigated by human beings“The goal as a company is to have customerservice that is not just the best, but legendary.”– Sam Walton (Walmart)•  They are now mitigated by software andinfrastructure updates“If you make customers unhappy in the physicalworld, they might each tell 6 friends. If youmake customers unhappy on the Internet, theycan each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos(
  24. 24. Continuous Delivery•  Is the discipline that grew out of this reality•  Businesses needed to be able to deliver on a bettercustomer experience as quickly, and safely, aspossible.•  Safety matters! Simply moving quickly towards failure is anawfully bad customer experience, which is why we spent solong building crazy blockades to progress in the name ofsafety in the first place.•  Failure to do so will have serious impacts oncustomer satisfaction and loyalty – just like it didwhen Sam Walton was the Ghengis Kahn of ruralretail.
  25. 25. The only difference is one of perspective
  26. 26. How can we learn to be great at this?None of us should be thought of as anything less than our potential to change theworld – Jesse Leach
  27. 27. First: we don’t confuse the map for the territoryWe are here because we are building the bestpossible customer experience. These things are not good in and ofthemselves – they are not ice cream. But ice cream is delicious.
  28. 28. 5
  29. 29. Strong cultures of personal empowerment and accountability•  The number one indicator of success•  Focus on responsibility and accountability, rather than authority, controls, and process.•  Software teams have responsibility for design, implementation, and administration of their products and services –cradle to grave.•  Architecture, Security, Systems Administration, and QA become universal responsibilities, with experts who setstandards and build tools to enable the business to do the right thing.•  Business leaders set priorities and direction, and have close communication loops with teams doing implementationwork.•  Companies that get this wrong…•  Have a strong reliance on centralized decision making and environmental gates.•  Cannot ever point at individuals who are responsible for outcomes•  Have few, if any, capable “full stack” engineers•  Have a crap-ton of “Architects” responsible for high level design, but no real commitment to implementation
  30. 30. Treating failure as a learning opportunity, not as a dangerousthing to be avoided•  This is a close second.Progress on safety coincides with learning from failure. This makes punishment and learning two mutuallyexclusive activities: Organizations can either learn from an accident or punish the individuals involved in it,but hardly do both at the same time. The reason is that punishment of individuals can protect false beliefsabout basically safe systems, where humans are the least reliable components. Learning challenges andpotentially changes the belief about what creates safety. Moreover, punishment emphasizes that failuresare deviant, that they do not naturally belong in the organization...SIDNEY W.A. DEKKER, TEN QUESTIONS ABOUT HUMAN ERROR: A NEW VIEW OF HUMAN FACTORS ANDSYSTEM SAFETY (HUMAN FACTORS IN TRANSPORTATION)•  Failure to do this causes the responsibility for a robust, fault tolerant, highly available infrastructure toalways belong to the organization, not individuals.•  Accept that failure is a normal part of the business•  No blame post-mortems
  31. 31. Service Oriented Architectures•  This is a little fuzzier, but essentially still true. They are converging towards it, if they don’t, almostcertainly.•  Service Orientation in the simplest sense!•  Several practical benefits:•  Easy to partition along failure domains•  Easy to scale (if they are built right)•  Easy to segregate work for development teams•  Not really the “Enterprise SOA”, more the fuzzy, Web 2.0 SOAWebsite API Database
  32. 32. Cultural allergies to things that make you slow“The number 1 thing we can’t do is get inpeople’s way.”- Phil Dibowitz, Facebook•  You need to be empowering each other tomove fast – that means trusting eachother to do the right thing, buildingprocesses that support that trust, andrefusing to settle for ponderous, byzantineprocess that creates safety through beingsluggish.
  33. 33. Addicted to data – about their internal performance and usersperceptions•  Metrics are collected obsessively•  Business and Service metrics•  They try and make decisions on data rather thanemotional arguments – they measure, evaluate,tweak, and iterate based on observable outcomes.•  Stop arguing, start measuring.
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  35. 35. Understand the full scope of the transition•  Successfully navigating this transition meanschanging the fundamental workflows bywhich the business operates•  Software Development Life-cycles•  Quality Assurance•  Operations, Security and IT Life-cycles•  Audit and Compliance controls•  Business Owner relationships•  How much or how little depends on theshape of the company - but they are alldeeply impacted
  36. 36. Do not confuse existing structures for hard businessrequirements•  Existing business structures and technology choicesare reflections of the problems of their era•  A fundamental shift in the problem necessitatesallowing a re-consideration of those choices, bothstructural and technological•  Example:•  3 teams: Operating Systems, Middleware, ApplicationDevelopment•  3 isolated solutions: Operating System installation andpatch management, Middleware configurationmanagement, and Application deployment•  Are these choices being made because of solidtechnical reasons? Or faux business requirements?
  37. 37. Confine the blast radius, but don’t limit the magnitude of theexplosion•  With a scope of possible change that is so large, organizationscannot try and transform the entire organization at once•  Doing so will lead to an emotionally loaded and painful bureaucraticfailure•  Reasonably so, because this approach is likely to be highly disruptiveto gross productivity•  Similarly, undertaking smaller changes organization wide oftenleads to mediocrity•  This is great advice for incremental improvement•  It naturally detracts from the huge benefits that come from allowing forwhole-systems design - you’re not allowed to think holistically, onlypiece-meal•  It leads to mediocre outcomes, if you want revolutionary results•  Successful transitions happen in sections of the business
  38. 38. Take a whole-systems view of your technology platform•  As the technology platform becomes theprime delivery vehicle for customerexperience, it requires a whole-systemperspective to design and implement•  For example, choice of source code controlsystem deeply impacts the availabledevelopment workflows and continuousintegration platform, which can impactasset creation and storage, which canimpact production deploymentmethodologies, which impact audit andremediation, etc.•  They think about the holistic workflowand business process they want toengender - then select tools toimplement, and re-enforce, that process
  39. 39. Re-enforce culture with technology, and vice versaTooling is cultureinstitutionalized•  Attempting to change how a business operates culturally with the same tools and processes thatenforced the previous culture leads to worse results than doing nothing at all•  Consider the cultural traits you want to engender or discourage, and build a technology platformthe enforces those considerations
  40. 40. Every success story I found shared these traitsEvery failure lacked one ormore of them.
  41. 41. I have given you bad advice, and I am sorry.•  Tools don’t matter, culture does•  Only true if you understand the tools and the culture•  The tools matter as much as the culture – in a broken culture with a desire to change, the tooling can often lead theway to cultural changes easier than starting with big picture human change.•  Start small and wide•  Great advice for incremental improvement. Find the bottlenecks. Fix them.•  But if your goal is revolutionary – if you can’t close your eyes and see the future clearly, with the path intact – thisleads to a slow, agonizing journey to mediocre results.•  You can bring your executives along•  You can do this if you don’t want revolutionary change.•  But this is heavy stuff – business wide, strategy changing, global economics stuff. If they don’t understand or agree,you are doing the business a disservice by shoving it down their throat•  They’ll be happier drifting slowly into failure with incremental improvements.
  42. 42. You are the right people to transform your business
  43. 43. Your skillsincreasinglyare thebusiness
  44. 44. Your knowledge is the critical knowledge
  45. 45.