Month: July 2019

Interview with Abel Wang, Part 1!

On our podcast this week, we get a chance to chat with one of my good friends Abel Wang from Microsoft. This one was so GOOD we had to stretch it out into three parts to make it fit our podcast. You’re gonna love it!

(Click the links here for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)

I love the energy Abel brings to the table, and his background as a serious coder makes his advice both pragmatic and spot on. He’s a fantastic speaker as well, if you’ve ever had the chance to catch him at a conference. (Check out his latest from Build 2018!) He wrote the foreword to my book, and with our conversation we got a chance to revisit some of the things we love most about DevOps and where we see the movement going in the future.

A little bit about Abel – he’s a Senior Cloud Developer Advocate specializing in DevOps and Azure with a background in application development. He is currently part of Donovan Brown’s League of Extraordinary Cloud DevOps Advocates. Before joining Microsoft, Abel spent seven years as a Process Consultant and a Certified Scrum Master helping customers globally develop solutions using agile practices and Team Foundation Server. Prior to that, Abel founded and sold his own software company. Abel’s a lifelong coder and I think you’ll find this conversation very interesting… We cover a lot of ground in this episode, so much so that I split our talk into three parts.

Part 1 includes the question that got Abel first thinking about DevOps, how to get CXO buyin, the power of one success story, the #1 pitfall he sees with change efforts, and do we really need QA?

  • [1:00] – How little habits build up to success
  • [2:24] – The question that got Abel thinking about DevOps (why do some projects succeed and others fail?)
  • [6:30] – Getting CXO/director buy-in
  • [10:20] – All you need is one team, one success – it catches on like wildfire!
  • [13:20] – Start with what hurts the most! And Abel’s #1 rule for success
  • [17:55] – Do we really still need that QA department?
  • [19:26] – Knowing what we don’t know, and experimenting.

 

Click below to check out the podcast. We’re on all the major platforms now, including Anchor, Apple, Google, Spotify, PocketCasts, and RadioPublic.

 

Links to live by:

Interview with Abel Wang, part 2!

On our podcast this week, we get a chance to chat with one of my good friends Abel Wang from Microsoft. This one was so GOOD we had to stretch it out into three parts to make it fit our podcast. You’re gonna love it!

(Click the links here for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)

Check out Part 1 and Part 3 for more…

  • [1:00] – Painful! Dave finally pronounces “hypothetical” correctly…
  • [2:24] – How does Microsoft power their experiments with telemetry? Abel talks about “doubling down” on success.
  • [5:39] – Engineers, stop negotiating on quality! Abel covers how to deliver estimates so unit testing and telemetry aren’t always on the chopping block.
  • [12:16] – “Quality is nonnegotiable… Quality has a cost. You have to be willing to pay it.”
  • [14:40] – “Not enough people are adding security to their release pipelines.”
  • [16:00] – We talk about pipelines, and how to handle managing interdependencies with versioning. “The complexity is well worth the cost!”

 

Click below to check out the podcast. We’re on all the major platforms now, including Anchor, Apple, Google, Spotify, PocketCasts, and RadioPublic.

 

Links to live by:

Achieving DevOps!

Most of the companies we engage with are stuck in neutral when it comes to DevOps – and for good reason. DevOps involves change, and that carries with it a huge amount of risk. And most of the people we engage with are not directors or CEO’s, but can only control one part of the company.

There’s hundreds of books out there on the subject of Agile, DevOps, and improving the flow of value with software delivery. But the vast majority of them come with some assumptions: that our company is small, can pivot quickly, and has minimal legacy software to support; and secondly, that we have sweeping powers to create lasting change across an entire company. Following this advice blindly leads to overoptimism and defeated expectations, just like with a New Year’s resolution – we are trying too much, too fast, and thinking in terms of outcomes versus habits. The result, predictably, is disappointment and frustration, and a shortened career path.

This book helps answer those two big questions – “Where do I start?”, and “How can I improve the way things work around here without risking too much?” We follow one development team as it begins to build momentum with small, safe, progressive steps across a single year. Here’s some of the topics we discuss in the book:

  • What can we learn from Alcoholics Anonymous, and the power of using tiny habits to change behavior?
  • Taming the legacy monster with a truly effective test layer – without flaky or long-running tests
  • Using Hypothesis-Driven Development to multiply your development firepower 5x
  • Finding the pinch point with a few hours, a permanent marker and some sticky notes
  • What is the BTE ratio, and how has Microsoft been able to use that to control runaway technical debt?
  • Are cross functional teams really necessary? Do we really need to break up a successful, long-running organization to make DevOps work?
  • Building security into your development lifecycle
  • Runbooks, automation and livesite support – building the best possible triage system

Along the way, we feature interviews and case studies with thought leaders from Chef, Google, Humana, Micron, Microsoft, Puppet, Raygun, and others. The lessons and stories in this book can help you get unstuck and get your software delivery and support teams deliver more value with less waste!

Interviews

Case studies and interviews with thought leaders make up a significant portion of the book. Here are some of their quotes:

  • “The saying we live by goes, ‘you can’t cheat shipping.’ If you deliver working software to your users at the end of every iteration, you’ll learn what it takes to do that and which pieces you need to automate.” – Aaron Bjork, Microsoft
  • “DevOps isn’t art, it’s just hard work. Focus that hard work on the things that really matter.” – Nigel Kersten, Microsoft
  • “DevOps is an emergent characteristic. It’s not something you buy. It’s something that emerges from a team when you are doing all the right things behind the scenes, and these practices all work together and support each other.” – Jon Cwiak, Humana
  • “There was no magical fairy dust for us. It required progressive change, some very conscious hard engineering changes, and walking the walk.” – Sam Guckenheimer, Microsoft
  • “Often times CTO’s and CIO’s catch fire and announce that they’re going to reorganize with cross functional teams. Don’t do that! Think about your DevOps or SRE transition in the same way that you’d release software.” – Seth Vargo, Google
  • “One of the biggest failure points I see is that people often don’t make their work visible enough. If you don’t know what people are working on across the team, that creates a natural siloization which reduces your ability to collaborate.” – Michael Goetz, Chef

Achieving DevOps In The News

Contact Information and Bio:

Bio: I’m a Senior Application Development Manager (ADM) working for Microsoft Premier. As a development lead and project manager, I’ve spearheaded cultural revolutions in several large retail and insurance organizations making the leap to Agile and Continuous Delivery. I’m an enthusiastic promoter of Azure DevOps, Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Docker, and all other tools – but I believe very firmly that, as with Agile, the exact tool selected is less important than having the people and processes in place and ready.

On a personal note, I’m the proud father of two beautiful girls and have been married to my lovely wife Jennifer for 24 years, and am based out of Portland, Oregon, USA. I enjoy fishing, reading history books, and in my spare time often wonder if I should be doing more around the house versus goofing off. I’m on LinkedIn, post to my blog semi-frequently, and am belatedly on Twitter too… 

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Production Information:

  • Title: Achieving DevOps

  • Author: Dave Harrison and Knox Lively
  • Contributors: Ron Vincent, Abel Wang (foreword)
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Publication date: May 23, 2019
  • Available at: Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble
  • ISBN: 1484243870 ISBN-13: 978-1484243879 (include both your e-book and paperback)
  • Retail Price: $24.55 ($23.32 Kindle)
  • 532 pages
  • Genre/subgenre: Software engineering / Enteprise development