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From Zero to Sixty: Driving a DocOps Based Approach to APIs at Ford Motor Company


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How does a 115 year old automaker transform into a Mobility company? Platform Enablement! The session take a look under the hood at Ford and will highlight Ford’s ongoing journey into building and cultivating a DocOps and developer centric approach to APIs.

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From Zero to Sixty: Driving a DocOps Based Approach to APIs at Ford Motor Company

  1. 1. From Zero To Sixty Driving A DocOps Based Approach To APIs At Ford Motor Company CHICAGO 8 April, 2019
  2. 2. 2 Is Ford Really An API Company?  Established in 2016 as a subsidiary of Ford  Mission: Design, build, grow and invest in new mobility services
  3. 3. 3 Mobility Services Require An Ecosystem Built Around APIs
  4. 4. 4 Yes: Ford Is An API Driven Company City Solutions Infotainment Telematics Location Services FinTech Autonomy Predictive Systems Ride Sharing Fleet Services Charging Networks Smart Ownership Parking Data Analytics Vehicle History
  5. 5. How Does Working In A Global Company Impact Our APIs And DocOps?
  6. 6. 6 Ford Has A Global Footprint And 116 Years Of Technical Debt 166,000 people working in plants and offices around the world
  7. 7. 7 Alignment Requires Much Effort Global Enterprises Are One Big Person, Made Up Of Many People
  8. 8. 8 Various Guardrails Are In Place To Protect Purchasing Contracts Information Security Policy Open Source Architecture Financial Policy Regulations
  9. 9. 9 Yet Mobility Has The Need To Sometimes Go Off Road
  10. 10. 10 Finding Content Is Often Difficult I know that there it is somewhere around here…..
  11. 11. 11 Legacy Information Is Not Always Easily Consumable
  12. 12. Why Are We Doing DocOps?
  13. 13. 13 Developers Believe It is Important Source: Programmable Web 0 1 2 3 4 5 Presentation Navigation Consitency Across Products Clarity Non-Tech speak Discoverability Consistency Within Product Preqs/Dependencies Present Source: Ford Hackathon Survey of developers InternalExternal Ford developers value the visibility of a product’s prerequisites and dependencies above everything else Developers value complete and accurate documentation more than uptime in their API decision making
  14. 14. 14 A Good Developer Experience Is Based on Content Source: Acrolinx The hidden C behind CX ontentIt is almost too obvious to say out loud, but customer experience has become the most important determinant of success or failure
  15. 15. 15 However, Agile Practices Can Be in Opposition To Good Docs Many developers focus on the 4 items on the left and take them as license to completely ignore their counterpoints on the right
  16. 16. Ford Mobility Approach to DocOps
  17. 17. 17 Approach: Conducted An API Scavenger Hunt Complete An “As Is” Assessment For Your API Products
  18. 18. 18 Approach: Exposed Our Hidden Factories Charlie Chaplin Modern Times Document The “Work-Arounds” Developers Put In Place To Get Their Jobs Done
  19. 19. 19 Approach: Changed Our View On What Is Content Static Dynamic Real-time DocOps Practices Must Encompass ALL Content Types
  20. 20. 20 Approach: Exposed APIs With Meaningful Metrics Visualize API Consumption, Re-use, Error Rates, And Other Key KPIs
  21. 21. 21 Approach: Enabled Self Service API Onboarding Establish A Culture of Self-Service
  22. 22. 22 Approach: Provided Meaningful Developer Assistance Eliminate Developer Pain Points Via Automation and Education
  23. 23. What Have We Accomplished So Far?
  24. 24. 24 Established Internal Developer Personas
  25. 25. 25 Picked A REST API Standard what do our APIs and I have in common? we both have SWAGGER Evangelized The Standard
  26. 26. 26 Launched An MVP Developer Portal Catalog Get Started Home Landing Page Develop Ask The Community What’s Inside?
  27. 27. 27 Content: Created A Unified API Catalog Mobility needs to build docs on top of large and sometimes fragmented ecosystem Multiple API gateways Multiple API managers APIs not managed via an API Manager APIs buried in legacy apps Swagger Postman Collection Sequence Diagram API 1 Pager Geospatial API
  28. 28. 28 Content: Developed API 1 Pagers To Help API Discovery Static
  29. 29. 29 Static Internal contacts are very important Non 24x7 systems, languages, volume Regional availability Adoption Upstream and downstream Preconditions and hidden gotchas Key Artifacts Content: API 1 Pagers Internal developers have greater content needs vis-a-vi external developers
  30. 30. 30 Automate: Hooked API Publishing Into CI/CD Pipeline
  31. 31. 31 Automate: Implemented API Linter Into CI/CD Pipeline Open API 2.0 + API Style Guide
  32. 32. 32 Content: Implemented Visual Factory Principles (Radiators) Static Enable public visualization of vital product activities, services and performance Content = Static + Dynamic + Real-time
  33. 33. 33 Talent: Hired A Content Strategist and Technical Writers Help/FAQs UI Text User Guides Quick Start Guides Glossaries e-Learning and Classroom DevOps Guides Videos API Documentation Software Engineer Product Designer Product Manager Challenge of hiring writers into an organization that’s never really done professional tech writing for software products Tech Writer
  34. 34. 34 Outreach: Use Hackathons To Gather Developer Feedback Static Evangelize
  35. 35. What Have We Learned?
  36. 36. 36 DocOps practices are transformational changes and change management is key What Have We Learned?
  37. 37. 37 Change Only Occurs When Work Together With Your Product Teams What Have We Learned?
  38. 38. 38 Don’t Just Focus on Static Content (Swagger is Not Enough) What Have We Learned? - A Living Ecosystem STATIC DYNAMIC REAL-TIME
  40. 40. 40 Above All: Don’t Seek Perfection  Don’t spend too much time searching for the perfect tools… because there are none, and they change all of the time  Get a few early wins, provide something that people can see, touch, and interact with  Utilize lean startup principles, an iterative process, and willingness to experiment The Ford Edsel has become synonymous with the real-life commercial failure of the predicted "perfect" product What Have We Learned?
  41. 41. Darren Shelcusky Ford Motor Company