Back in late 2013 I joined what was jokingly referred to as the Red Hat IT “DevOps” team. We didn’t like that name, so we changed it and there-after became officially known as Team Inception. From the time the team was formed, we all accepted that the team was to retire in 18-24 months. We were totally cool with that too! To us having a pure “DevOps” team in perpetuity just didn’t make sense.
Over the course of the team’s lifespan I feel like I experienced incredible growth, both personally and professionally. I’m proud to look back at all the cool things we accomplished as a team, and I’m even more thankful to have had the opportunity to be a member of that team. Here’s a taste of some things we did as a team publicly:
Two week ago (2015-06-20 → 2015-06-24) the DevNation and Red Hat Summit 2015 conferences were held in Boston, MA. Of the many excellent speakers and panel groups [S|D] that held sessions during the conferences, there’s one group I am especially fond of: My old team, Inception.
On Wednesday, July 24th we held a panel session called Bootstrapping a DevOps Movement in Red Hat IT. This was our final activity together as Team Inception. During this panel-style session Jen Krieger, our Product Owner/Scrum Master, facilitated a look back at some of our experiences during our 18 months as the Red Hat IT “DevOp Team”.
We began the initial round of questions with what our individual perceptions of “DevOps” were before the team had formed. We followed that with what ended up being a great Q&A with the audience (thank you everyone who participated!). We ended the panel with our closing thoughts on what “DevOps” means to each of us now.
Here’s a snippet from the official session description:
Topics will include
Between ourselves, we casually referred to this as our final team retrospective, an honest (and very public) look-back at lessons learned over the last year and a half.
Click play below to watch the full video now, or go directly to it on YouTube.
This is an update to my previous post about my (then) upcoming conference presentation.
The slides from my session at Red Hat Summit 2014, JBoss in the Trenches, are now posted online. Most of the slides have generous amounts of extra material in their notes.
And as a bonus, here’s a select few pictures from the trip to San Francisco:
Gave the Open Source Scholarship talk today with @akbutcher. It was a smash hit. We were lucky to get a lot of great promotion around the internet for this event:
I also want to give Michael Dehaan a huge thank you for his cameo today. The students loved it!
The presentation is available online: Open Source: A Guide. I was referring to it as our self documenting presentation, in that virtually everything Andrew and I touched on during the talk was linked from within the preso slides.
Thanks to all the students who came out (especially the folks who asked questions). We’re doing this for you!
I’m super proud to be able to say this today:
The Problem: Paying for school is hard, when you’re finished you haven’t learned enough skills to set you apart from your peers, and your resume is unimpressive.
This is a scholarship to motivate young adults to become involved in open source communities.
Committee members working professionally in the open source market will use their collective 30 years experience to recommend students based on the impact of their contributions.
We’ll show you what open source is all about: how to negotiate the open source ecosystem, show you were to get started, and walk you through your first contributions.
On April 23rd of this month @akbutcher and I will taking a few days off from work to fly back to Morgantown, WV where we’ll make the official announcement to the students. Immediately following the announcement we’ll give the what open source is about and how to become involved in it prezo. We’re hoping that if we pull it off right the students will feel comfortable enough to go out and start looking for ways to become involved.
We know what we’re asking the students to do isn’t trivial, so we’re not going to leave them all on their own! After the announcement has been made we’ll be maintaining an IRC channel on freenode.net and handing out our contact information.
The students will have from the day of the official announcement through the Friday before Thanksgiving this year to make contributions. We’ve put together a simple submission portal where they can enter and track their contributions.
I am so excited to see this take off! Check out the official scholarship website for all the details:
When I started considering my “long-term” goals I realized it’s important that the goals are not trivial, or even just “hard”. I believe that long-term goals should require a great effort on one’s part to attain. For me they should represent stretches of my abilities that will result in improvements to my person, both generally and professionally.
And so, after a few years of casual contemplation and meditating, I’ve discovered the only serious long-term goals that I believe in and would follow through with. While describing them I’ll try to explain why I decided each is important to me.
The first is the most achievable, given my tenacity (read: hardon) for documentation. I want to author a technical book. The stretch part of this is thus: ideally the produced work, in the years to follow, would become regarded as a seminal tomb of knowledge with respect to its topic. As Brooks wrote “The Mythical Man Month“, and Dave Thomas & Andrew Hunt wrote “The Pragmatic Programmer” on software engineering, and Edward Johnson wrote the “Red Hat RPM Guide” on the all aspects of the packaging format, it would become a title people instantly associate with a topic.
I decided this goal is realistic (and something I really should do) because of the unsolicited feedback I regularly receive about the quality of my documentation. In our technical community I have the uncommon ability to write documentation which is accessible, non-threatening, thorough, correct, and clear; while still maintaining appeal and value to both newcomers and advanced users. I am able to anticipate questions about projects or tools, which I was involved in creating or use regularly, and I consistently produce relevant reference material on the subjects almost reflexively.
And I Enjoy Doing This.
For simplicity though, lets summarize this goal as “becoming a published technical writer.”
The second goal is one I only understand at much more of a superficial level. I want to be first-author on an RFC. Perhaps, I can relate this goal as such: it is the standards-driven-specification-geek version of being first-author on a published research paper. It is a goal which focuses a community of thought (perhaps not yet even realized by the thinkers themselves), encourages further analysis, and leads to useful implementations of the paper’s contents.
In my career as an IT professional I have been able to identify areas needing standardizing and formalization. I understand that approaching these kind of problems is best done not in a Cathedral style approach. As I’ve matured I’ve begun to understand what it is that made the best standards, the most adopted ones, earn such respect. Now, when I work on something which is intended to make peoples lives better I have a very Bazaar style approach. I actively solicit feedback and discussion throughout all phases: planning, early prototype development, initial adoption and testing, and on through actual adoption.
Over time in my workplace, and only because of the value gained through this transparent collaboration process, have I been able to produce “solutions” (ick, that feels like such a buzzword now) that have, sometimes vastly and unexpectedly, improved the consumer’s relationships in the respective areas.
I have learned that what I think is the best approach to a workflow or task doesn’t count for shit if the person (who, by the way, is actually hoping it solves world hunger, fixes their depression, oh — and happens to makes their job easier by cutting 20 minutes off a repetitive task) runs into an “obvious mistake” when they try to use it for the first time.
Standards, whether they be in the form of a tool, methodology, policy, or what have you, should be obvious. Anything you produce is worthless if people don’t look at it and say “well yeah, duh”. The point of a standard is having the idea that was on everybody’s mind already (or obvious if prompted to think about it), produced and available in a format which is agreeable to a broad community of consumers.
This is the right goal for me because we don’t have enough people in the world who naturally identify areas which would benefit from the introduction of standards, while at the same time, working with their peers to create something that other people benefit from as well. I consider myself lucky to be one of those people.
And I Enjoy Doing This.
That is my second goal. Lets just summarize it as “becoming the author of an RFC.”
I’m unsure of exactly how to close a blog post like this. It goes without question that this is the most personal thing I’ve posted on this otherwise technical space. I know now what my goals are. The next step will be equally as difficult as discovering and accepting them was: I’m going to have to figure out how to reach them.