It was on my radar last year, but I decided not to go, but to go to Techorama instead. But, after hearing good stories about the first edition of the DevOpsDays Eindhoven, I decided to skip Techorama and go to the DevOpsDays Eindhoven 2023.
In this post, I will explain what the DevOpsDays are, and share some of my learnings. I hope you will enjoy it and, maybe, I might inspire you to join me next year!
What are the DevOpsDays
From the DevOpsDays site:
Devopsdays is a worldwide series of technical conferences covering topics of software development, IT infrastructure operations, and the intersection between them. Each event is run by volunteers from the local area.
Most devopsdays events feature a combination of curated talks (see open Calls for Proposals) and self organized open space content. Topics often include automation, testing, security, and organizational culture.
The first DevOpsDays were held in Ghent, Belgium, in 2009, and by now they are organized all over the world.
There were quite a few talks, especially in the morning. I didn’t go to any of the topics in the afternoon, because I attended the open spaces. What really surprised me was the mix of topics, they were not very technical, a lot of personal development and platform engineering, about the environment and happiness. If I am correct, only one about AI (where I learned how to trick ChatGPT into giving dangerous information):
Personally, I really enjoyed this mix of topics, it was just what I hoped for. Some people expected some deep technical talks, but, in my opinion, DevOps is more about social engineering than technical engineering. I am not sharing a lot of insights from the talks, I really need to do some deep dive in some of the topics. My notes, a bit cryptic:
If you want to know more about the subjects or the speakers, please check the program for the full list of topics.
Open Spaces Technology
Open Spaces Technology is one of the many Liberating Structures, mend to give all visitors a chance to bring or seek knowledge. Maybe you have questions about a talk or about a certain topic, or you want to pitch an idea or share some thoughts, you can use open spaces to talk with others about just anything. During the conference, the audience gets the time to write down subjects, quickly pitch them to the group and, depending on the number of topics, the audience can vote about which subjects will be on the schedule.
One thing I like about open spaces is the “Law of mobility”. When you are not learning or contributing, feel free to leave and go to another open space (or for a coffee). We should practice this principle in our day-to-day meetings!
The Law of mobility — a foot of passion and a foot of responsibility — expresses the core idea of taking responsibility for what you love. In practical terms, the law says that if you’re neither contributing nor getting value where you are, use your two feet (or available form of mobility) and go somewhere where you can. It is also a reminder to stand up for your passion.
The open spaces I attended:
Creating healthy and sustainable communities
How can you start and grow a community, make sure it is sustainable. Partly focussed on open source communities, but also in developer communities inside organizations.
Who is responsible for the architecture, how can you involve everybody, and should it be democratic or not. Quite an interesting discussion, with different opinions. Learned: using a Technology Radar with a voting system to drive technology and architectural changes.
How to grow DevOpsDays Eindhoven
This was the second edition of the DevOpsDays Eindhoven and we learned that it was hard to sell tickets for this edition. At one point, they had a meeting to decide if they were calling it off or not. We shared some ideas and thoughts on what could help to grow the DevOpsDays Eindhoven. They are going to organize meetups, so make sure you follow them on Meetup!
Cross-charge in Enterprises
At Philips, there are some initiatives from a platform team, teams can use technology they deliver for free. Is this sustainable, how can you start charging teams for what they use. An interesting discussion, albeit not something I am currently worrying about.
The open spaces I pitched (and facilitated):
DevOps and Scrum (or Batman and the Joker)
The idea was to have a discussion about Scrum being a small waterfall, and, many times, a reason for teams to focus on short time goals (finishing their sprint), instead of improving themselves. Can using other ways of working (Kanban?) help to really focus on improvement? What does the group think?
I think this was a great open space, with quite a large audience. A lot of people were with me, but also a lot were not. I still believe that sprints are in the way of relentless improvement, although it does depend on teams and individuals. I am definitely not done with this subject!
DevOps and Team Topologies (or Batman and Robin)
The second day, but I wanted to continue my comics theme. Once again the room was full, we even didn’t have enough chairs (note: with such a large audience it is getting harder to get a good dialog going). We started with an introduction about Team Topologies, there were a few practitioners in the group. We even used a flip-over to write things down. After the introduction, we shared ideas and practises, good and bad experiences and answered some questions from the audience. I think the time was too short, we could easily have filled an hour.
The open spaces really brought new insights. It also helped in meeting new people and quickly getting to know their ideas too. Although it was new for me, it didn’t stop me from pitching my own ideas, and the format and the way how it is organized makes it a really save way to share your ideas or ask questions to a group.
An Ignite presentation is a presentation where a speaker gets 20 slides and 5 minutes only, with the slides advancing every 15 seconds. It is a fun way of presenting knowledge, for the audience, but the speakers seemed to have a lot of fun doing it too.
My favorite ignites:
- 5 ways to burn out your engineers - by Suzanne Daniels
- The Stoic Engineer: how a 2300 years old philosophy can help you thrive in your job - by Alessandro Vozza
- Stop adding business value and become an artist with your IT skills - by Marc Duiker
- PostgreSQL - Long Live Sustainability - by Boriss Mejias
- Flying Blind - Accessibility in Monitoring - by Fue Mourek
I am already looking forward to next year. The mix of talks and open spaces, the open and welcoming community, I really enjoyed it all. Many people seemed to be doing the same stuff as I am doing, so I had a lot of interesting conversations. Good food and drinks, even a dinner for all at the end of the first day, with their own DevHops beer, it was just a perfect conference!
- DevOpsDays Eindhoven 2023 Program
- DevOpsDaysEindhoven Meetup
- Open Spaces Technology - Liberating Structures
- Open Spaces Format - DevOpsDays
Some more photos