A recap of the devops track at Open World Forum 2014

Last week in Paris, the Open World Forum took place over two days and I was asked to organise the devops track of this event.

The event itself was beautifully organised in a lovely space right in the centre of Paris (just off the Champs Elysées with several metro lines nearby). Many local companies were around as sponsors, including Normation (see why we were in a village dedicated to real free software – in French). Coffee, croissants, lunch and evening drinks were provided, and even some regional specialties from south west France (Bordeaux wine, Bayonne ham and Basque cheese – yum!).

The devops track took place on Friday morning, and I must say (as humbly as it possible to do so in a blog post about something I organised myself) that I’m very pleased with how it turned out. We were lucky enough to have one of the larger rooms in the venue, with a solid 60-ish attendees throughout the morning, and a video capture of all the talks.

The morning started out very tool-oriented, with two talks in French about Ansible and how to contribute to it, and Docker and how to manage it:

Fabrice BernhardAfter a short break (where I was happy to see several of the folk from the devops room come to our booth and chat :D), the morning moved on from tools to a much more culture-centric topic, with a talk in English from Fabrice Bernhard (@theodo) titled Digital transformation in large organisations – A real-life journey to devops in a French bank. This talk got a lot of attention, opening the eyes of many in the audience. The real-world talk about changing habits, questioning rules and introducing quick, iterative, development pushed to production servers in real time, within a large organisation got a lot of people thinking. I was particularly impressed that this French bank had taken the idea to heart and actually managed to get the CISO on board with the effort, helping them circumvent his own security policy when it made sense for the team and the business.

 

devops panel at Open Worl d Forum
devops panel at Open World Forum

Last but not least, I closed the track by animating a panel discussion with some of the previous speakers and a “guest star”, Daniel Maher (@phrawzty). After covering the panelists background stories, we opened with a few questions I had prepared, on trying to show the way to “get started with devops” via some concrete actions. This got the speakers warmed up and sparked some questions from the audience. Across a varied selection of topics, I was very pleased to see a theme emerging: our panel was now talking more about culture, sharing and aligning to the business than technicalities and tools.

I feel this was a real success – after fighting to get some non tool-based talks into the devops track (which is in the “Code” theme at Open World Forum…), we managed to talk culture and empathy and everyone there loved it. I even had some students come up to me later in the day to say the devops panel was “amazing, the best part of the whole event”!

The videos from the track should be online shortly. I’ll post back here when they are – and in the mean time, book your tickets for next year’s event!

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