A little bit about what made DevOpsDays Sydney 2019 (my first!) so great as an attendee.

I went to DevOpsDays Sydney 2019 this month, the first DevOps focussed conference I’ve been to thus far. It was a good time, and though I don’t have a lot of discrete outcomes from it, I think it was a good chance to learn about stuff outside my usual remit.

Stuff I really liked

The open spaces

To be honest, this is the best part of the conference, and the drawcard for my attending. They’re the reason I heard about the power of launch checklists from a colleague whom had attended DoD previously. They comprise two half days of the two day conference, i.e. half of the whole conference is dedicated to this.

I’m gonna nick the description of what open spaces are straight from the DoD Sydney website:

Open Spaces give attendees the opportunity to talk about anything they’d like. A person might suggest a topic they want to learn about, or one they feel like they can help others with. The topics range widely, from highly technical, to pure culture, to board games for networking.

Anyone in the conference can get up and write down topics to discuss; we vote and go into different rooms for 30 minutes a session to talk about them!

It’s basically group therapy for devs and ops folks.

The spaces are as diverse as the people, though the ones I attended were:

  • 🎌 Feature flagging
  • 😱 Testing in prod
  • 🤙 Devs on call: yay or nay?
  • 💀 Kubernetes is not the answer - reminded me a lot of “Containers Will Not Fix Your Broken Culture (and Other Hard Truths)”
  • 🚦 What does operational readiness mean to you?
  • 📃 Docs for DevOps
  • 🐰 Pet care (looking after non-reproducible systems) (I left this one early)
  • 👯‍♀️ Smashing the glass ceiling
  • 🐤 Canarying for fun and for profit (made me think about using scientist.js at work)
  • 🕵 How many pillars are there in o11y?

The hallway track

There were lots of breaks, and plenty of time for bites, coffee and meeting new folks with different missions. This was how I heard about the Four Key Metrics of high performing teams - metrics that most of the teams I’ve worked on in the past few years have been heading towards without my knowledge 😅.

Devops people are pretty rad

Most of the folks were really lovely and welcoming to the space - reminded me a lot of the community vibe of PyCon, which I’ve previously waxed lyrical about and I love.