DevOps – how we do it at Microsoft, with Aaron Bjork.

Two great interviews I found today and enjoyed very much, between Donovan Brown and Aaron Bjork (who is head of the DevOps part of VSTS).

From the first video:

  • We treat our development teams as adults – “I’ll trust you until you give me reason not to.”
  • How does Microsoft structure their product teams?
  • How do we keep to a consistent UI? i.e. checkboxes versus radio buttons – what design guidelines do we use?
  • How to tie together 50 teams with one weekly meeting of six people
  • How big of an advantage it is to dogfood it – be your own first customer.
  • “Our engineers write code, test code, and deploy code.”
  • Feature flags – we don’t use these for just one customer. The boundary to turn on the flag is during the current sprint, and then turn off the following sprint.

Second video notes:

  • (minutes into program) 1:27 – Why 3 week sprints? Goldilocks principle. Donovan mentions a physician product owner where 4 weeks was the best he could get.
  • 5:46 – Dogfooding, and customer driven features.
  • 13:09 – We used to have all these plans that helped me sleep at night – but did we ever ship on time? (i.e. waterfall and requirements planning as a security blanket)
  • 16:32 – importance of monitoring. DevOps is not automation. Most of their DevOps discussions end with Agile.
  • 19:03 – distrust between Dev and Ops. The chasm grows. Now we are improving with TDD, unit testing – but the distrust is still there.
  • 20:27 – treat your deployment pipeline as a feature of your product.
  • 27:54 – Do we deliver mid-sprint at Msft?
  • 32:57 – “You can’t cheat shipping.” Scenarios, features, stories and tasks.
  • 39:10 – Feature flag litter and documentation.
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