Nobody Has to Die Today: Keeping the Peace with the Other Meat Sacks - PuppetConf 2013


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"Nobody Has to Die Today: Keeping the Peace with the Other Meat Sacks" by Mykel Alvis
Sr. DevOps Consultant, MomentumSI.

Presentation Overview: A frank (and, frankly, loud) discussion about the kinds of miscommunication that arise between developers and operations, how it leads to trouble and possible ways we can avoid (figurative) violence in the workplace using both social techniques as well as tooling.

Speaker Bio: Mykel Alvis, Sr. DevOps Consultant, MomentumSI, has been a developer for over 34 years, primarily in assembler, C, Java and Groovy. Several years ago he switched from producing new features in software to producing new ways to deliver software.

Published in: Health & Medicine, Technology
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Nobody Has to Die Today: Keeping the Peace with the Other Meat Sacks - PuppetConf 2013

  1. 1. nobody  has  to  die  today   @AutomatnMonkey     keeping the peace with the other meatsacks
  2. 2. w4!?!  die!?!    are  you  serious?   ●  only  a  li9le   ●  nearly  2  million  reported  incidents  per  year  (   ●  threats  and  verbal  abuse  to  homicide   ●  in  2010,  546  of  4,547  fataliJes  were  homicides   ●  13,827  homicides  from  1992  and  2010  (   ●  homicide  #1  cause  of  death  in  the  workplace  for  women   ●  informaJon  technology  professions  are  not  immune    
  3. 3. my  favorite  subject   me  
  4. 4. who  is  this  guy?   •  mykel  alvis  (@AutomatnMonkey,  @mykelalvis)   •  lawful  evil  with  neutral  tendencies   •  frequent  violator  of  Wheaton's  Law   •  reformed  rageaholic   •  sr.  consultant  at  MomentumSI  (   •  MomentumSI  is  a  leading  IT  consultancy  focused  on   enterprise  transformaJon   •  h9p://   •  h9p://  
  5. 5. no  gain   ●  people  avoid  pain   ●  pain  is  not  the  sensaJon  of  weakness  leaving  the  body   ●  it  is  the  sensaJon  that  something  untoward  is  going  on   ●  pain  is  an  excellent  educator   ●  we  have  abandoned  pain  as  a  mechanism  for  instrucJon  
  6. 6. my  least  favorite  subject   you  
  7. 7. who are you? •  who  cares?   •  apex  predator  meatsack   •  one  of  the  great  apes;  probably  human   •  3  lb  wetware  processor  and  dual  5-­‐phalange  manipulators   and  some  form  of  locomoJon   •  geng  older  and  more  decrepit  by  the  minute  
  8. 8. there’s  just  something  about  you   you  suck   at  EVERYTHING  
  9. 9. no, seriously. you suck. •  you’re  bad  at  seeing,  hearing,  feeling,  interpreJng,   remembering,  analyzing  and  about  a  jillion  other  “-­‐ings”   •  you’re  really  bad  at  communicaJng   •  you’re  actually  not  so  bad  at  iteraJng  
  10. 10. think  you’re  percepJve?  
  11. 11. try  another  one  
  12. 12. context   ●  Webster’s  calls  “context”  the  parts  of  a  discourse  that   surround  a  word  or  passage  and  can  throw  light  on  its   meaning   the  interrelated  condi5ons  in  which  something  exists  or   occurs  :  environment,  se:ng     ●  the  container  whence  all  things  originate   ●  everything  ulJmately  is  taken  out  of  it  
  13. 13. over-­‐sharing   ●  everyone  everywhere  is  constantly  trying  to  disseminate   their  context  to  the  rest  of  the  world   ●  we  call  this  communicaJon   ●  again,  most  people  really  suck  at  it   ●  everyone  has  a  context  that  is  constantly  being  refined   ●  someJmes,  people  are  not  interested  in  your  stupid  context   ●  most  of  the  Jme,  actually   ●  mostly  they  just  want  what  they  want  
  14. 14. feelings  or  facts   ●  contexts  are  comprised  of  both  objecJve  and  subjecJve  parts   ●  subjecJve  -­‐  want/think/feel   ●  objecJve  -­‐  facts/math   ●  have  strong  opinions…  for  a  reason   ●  reason  doesn’t  discount  subjecJvity,  but  does  marginalize  it   ●  feelings  aren’t  bad  but  decisions  made  because  of  the   hormonal  soup  are  frequently  unsound  
  15. 15. more  from  the  dept.  of  redundancy  dept.   ●  territories   ●  specifically,  your  territories   ●  those  parts  of  your  context  that  you  consider  yours,   geospaJally  or  responsibility-­‐wise  
  16. 16. since  we’re  talking  about  how  you  suck   ●  since  you  suck  so  much,  you  should  probably  try  harder   ●  language  is  a  mechanism  for  interacJon  with  those  other   meatsacks  that  you’re  forced  to  deal  with  every  day   ●  frequently,  the  ability  to  communicate  backfires  on  you   ●  miscommunicaJon  is  at  least  one  of  the  most  common   causes  of  every  sort  of  failure  
  17. 17. we  can't  all  just  get  along   •  people  have  incompaJble  desires   •  incompaJble  desires  cause  fricJon   •  fricJon  erupts  into  conflict  and  the  viscous  red  liquid  flows   freely  across  the  co-­‐lo  floor   •  conflict  is  not  necessarily  bad   •  conflict  shows  the  places  where  fricJon  exists  
  18. 18. communicaJon   ●  who   ○  the  idiot  i’m  trying  to  school   ●  what   ○  the  ludicrously  simple  crap  that  this  idiot  didn’t  already  know   ●  where   ○  right  here   ●  when   ○  right  the  fuck  now   ●  why   ○  because  i  want  that  idiot  to  do  something  for  me  
  19. 19. communicaJon   ●  how ○  via the help of Mr. L. Jackson and whatever language is appropriate
  20. 20. c-­‐c-­‐c-­‐c-­‐communicate   ●  correct   ○  it  needs  to  be  as  factual  as  you  can  make  it   ●  clear   ○  understandable  and  as  unambiguous  as  possible   ●  concise   ○  as  short  as  necessary,  but  no  shorter   ●  consistent   ○  immutable   ●  comprehensive   ○  complete  
  21. 21. you  are  such  a  [solware  development]  tool   •  voice   •  email   •  documentaJon/wiki   •  issue  tracking   •  versions   •  silence   •  acts  of  destrucJon,  contriJon  or  appeasement   •  events   •  body  language  
  22. 22. process   •  process  exists,  whether  you  like  it  or  not   •  documented  processes  can  be  more  easily  comprehended   •  comprehended  processes  can  be  more  easily  internalized   •  internalized  processes  are  more  likely  to  get  followed   •  processes  that  are  not  internalized  typically  get  circumvented    
  23. 23. passive  aggression  at  its  finest   ●  you  want  something  from  someone   ●  you’re  worried  that  they  might  say  no   ●  if  they  say  no,  whatever  shall  you  do?   ●  maybe  you’ll  have  to  kill  them   ●  (don’t  do  that)  
  24. 24. asserJveness  training   ●  give  as  clear  an  understanding  of  your  needs  as  possible   ●  allow  them  to  quesJon  your  needs,  someJmes  extensively   ●  once  they  have  a  clear  understanding,  they  can  make  an   informed  decision  about  what  to  do   ●  then,  if  they  decide  not  to  give  you  what  you  want,  you  won’t   lose  any  sleep  about  the  horrible  things  that  they  clearly   deserve  
  25. 25. •  you  suck  at  everything,  especially  communicaJon   •  you  typically  need  other  people   •  be  willing  to  absorb/entertain  someone  else’s  context   •  confrontaJon  that  stops  discord  is  good   •  have  good  reasons  for  your  opinions,  but  be  willing  to  change   •  correct,  clear,  concise,  comprehensive,  consistent   communicaJon   •  violence  is  generally  not  an  opJmal  soluJon   last  night’s  highlights  
  26. 26. go  and  sin  no  more   namaste,  bitches   The preceding program contained scenes of extreme violence and should not have been viewed by humans nothing that was said here should be taken as license to execute violence, especially against a bag of chips or other people