The DevOps Mini-conference at Salesforce.com

Affecting a DevOps transformation at a large enterprise like salesforce.com is no small endeavor. Being one of the leading cloud companies in the industry however, well positions us to bring more DevOps practices into our organization. We practice DevOps principles every day, but a few times a year we set aside time to really level up. Tomorrow marks one of these times as we host our third internal DevOps mini-conference. We’ve found that spending this time together to discuss DevOps principles and to share knowledge on a level that reaches far beyond our daily interactions can pay dividends throughout the rest of the year.

Affecting a DevOps transformation at a large enterprise like salesforce.com is no small endeavor. Being one of the leading cloud companies in the industry however, well positions us to bring more DevOps practices into our organization. We practice DevOps principles every day, but a few times a year we set aside time to really level up. Tomorrow marks one of these times as we host our third internal DevOps mini-conference. We’ve found that spending this time together to discuss DevOps principles and to share knowledge on a level that reaches far beyond our daily interactions can pay dividends throughout the rest of the year.

For our DevOps mini-conference, we follow a format very similar to the regular #DevOpsDays conference at which many of us have either presented, or attended. We hold our mini-conferences from 9 a.m till 1 p.m. PT spaced out over two days. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Not everyone wants to lose an entire day’s work. Having two half-days for the conference gives attendees the flexibility to exchange with their peers in the morning, and still keep projects moving in the afternoon.
  • It gives groups the ability to to continue conversations from the conference into the afternoon if they’d like.
  • Given that we are a global organization, the set time also allows for the maximum amount of participation for the most amount of Technology & Product employees.

We typically begin each day with a keynote or a panel, to set the tone for the day. Usually this is some kind of big picture view of the world that grounds everyone in the DevOps concepts that they’ll be exploring that day. At our October mini-conference, we talked about The 7 Habits of Human DevOps by Ian Varley and Servant Leadership by Mauricette Forzano. This time, both days will start with a panel. On day one, we’ll have an internal CTO panel discussing resiliency featuring our own Scott Hansma, Fiaz Hossain, Vishal Sharma, and Keith Stoble. Day two will have an external panel of DevOps practitioners to learn more about how others in the industry use the DevOps principles in their organizations. Panelists will include:

After a short break, we have Ignite talks on a variety of topics. Ordinarily Ignite talks are great for conveying a few key concepts in a short amount of time. Given that we have a common vernacular at salesforce.com, these talks are even more powerful, as everyone already has at least a passing familiarity with the ideas being presented.

We then like to end on something that everyone looks forward to – the unconference sessions. Topics are proposed and voted on, and the winning topics become breakout sessions. We always plan to include remote offices to ensure we’re thinking globally on things like where security fits into DevOps, what could be made better in our deployment pipeline, or how do we use the latest new feature of our monitoring framework.  

Some of the best unconference discussions turn into projects during the following week’s Hack Day!  While we have PTOn projects where engineers can work on projects like this as part of their regular job, the Hack Day is another opportunity to really get going on that great idea that came out of a mini-conference discussion.

Check in later this week when I post a summary of the conversations that took place at our 3rd DevOps mini-conference. We’ll also share the results of our Hack Day next week as well!

At salesforce.com, we’re always trying to find ways to get better at what we do, find new ways to bring people together, and make our #dreamjobs that much more satisfying for everyone, everyday. If you want to be a part of our DevOps journey, your #dreamjob might be waiting for you too!

What do you think is the best way to engrain DevOps principles into an enterprise organization? Comment below!

Published
April 21, 2014

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The DevOps Mini-conference at Salesforce.com