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DevOpsDays Des Moines 2019

05/13/2019 By Jodi Jones


You’ve heard that Des Moines has a great technology community. We certainly do. I see it every day on the teams I work with and at the companies we partner with. One of the things that excites me the most is getting involved in the community and co-organizing events (like DevOpsDays DSM) that strengthen our community and connections. It was an overwhelmingly rewarding experience to see nearly 500 people attend and participate in this year’s conference.

DevOpsDays is a worldwide series of technical conferences that started in Belgium in 2009. Since then, it has grown to over 50 DevOpsDays events across the globe. These events cover topics such as software development, IT infrastructure operations, automation, testing, security, and organizational culture. The goal of DevOpsDays is to provide an environment within the devops community to learn, share and collaborate.

During the first week of May, the second annual DevOpsDays Des Moines conference took place. This year we broadened the topics offered on the program since DevOps reaches across business, product and engineering work. We continued to offer a technical track with talks on security, cloud engineering, chaos engineering, and site reliability engineering. This year we expanded into product thinking and covered principles from lean manufacturing.

Keynote Highlights

The morning keynotes were some of my favorites. You can watch them here. Pete Anderson, How to Avoid Building the Wrong Thing 2-Weeks at a Time Ryan Bergman, Walking into Mordor: The History and Future of DevOps

My big takeaway from Pete Anderson’s talk was his model for Product Values. At the center is humility with the premise to “assume we are wrong until proven right”. This resonates strongly with my approach to working with and creating healthy teammate interactions. I appreciated the reminder to apply this to our product thinking as well.

Next, Ryan Bergman took us on a journey to Mordor (I had to google that). His storytelling of the history of software development was captivating. He walked through all the things (so many things) needed to get an app to production highlighting all the dev/ops/customer and the enormous complexity it has become. I appreciated his optimism that things will simplify.

Key Takeaways

A big takeaway of teammates attending was observability. As we create applications it’s equally important to understand and decide how to monitor them. Often times this is via logs and/or metrics. Logs can contain information about the application that can be used to later help debug problematic situations. This can include information about the request, user, client, app, environment, and even traces to connect messages and provide a sequence of events.

Other takeaways discussed by teammates have included chaos engineering, auditing, automated testing, and incorporating DevOps into security to avoid adding it in as an afterthought. All of the talks, including the breakout sessions, were recorded and you can watch them here: https://devopsdays.org/events/2019-des-moines/program/

One thing that I enjoy most about attending a conference like DevOpsDays is the opportunity to meet new people and have a discussion outside of the sessions. For me, that generally takes the form of a conversation in the hallway or at a networking event. I enjoy talking to the speakers after their session or getting an introduction to someone new during a break. The conference tries to create an environment where these connections can occur whether that be during the breaks, Open Space, Park Bench Panel, or networking event.

Events like DevOpsDays Des Moines highlight the great tech community that Des Moines is cultivating and I expect participation to only increase as the years go by. We’re proof that you don’t have to live in a big city or have geological features in your city name to develop meaningful tech.

DevOps continues to be a heavily debated topic and something that our teams are constantly iterating and improving upon. I look forward to seeing others’ conference takeaways travel back to their teams and push the DevOps culture forward.

Be sure to check out upcoming DevOps events within the community, and join us next year for DevOpsDays DSM 2020!

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