GeneKim

Early in my DevOps Journey, I was introduced to a book of great significance circulating within the Web Operations industry titled The Phoenix Project.

(You can read our review of Gene’s book, if interested.)

Written as a novel and loosely based on many of the same principles explored in The Goal, this book has been read and referenced by many who have adopted DevOps into their continuous improvement and software delivery processes around the world.

As I began planning my travel schedule last summer, I learned of a workshop taking place in Nashville by Gene Kim, co-author of  The Phoenix Project. I jumped at the chance to not only meet and speak with Gene, but absorb as much as possible from his workshop.

phoenixproject After a full day covering a broad range of topics and reference material, I walked out having a much deeper understanding of what DevOps meant and how to continue advocating for its best practices.

I left Nashville not only with a head full of ideas to bring back to VictorOps, but great tips from Gene on how to evangelize and continue spreading the ideas and advocacy of DevOps. Not to mention a signed copy of his book, which I promptly read through in just a few sittings.

When it came time to begin reaching out to folks in the DevOps community who have been influential to me, as well as great mentors, and friends…of course, Gene’s name came up.

I’m thankful for what I’ve learned from Gene over the last year and look forward to everything he has planned for 2015. Here’s a little bit more about Gene and what he’s up to:

Q: For those out there who are unfamiliar with who you are, can you give a quick intro?

I’m the co-author of  The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win, and one of the authors behind the upcoming DevOps Cookbook to be released later this year.

My journey studying high-performing technology organizations began in 1999, when I was at Tripwire, Inc., where I served as founder and CTO for 13 years.

Q: Are there any projects or events that you’re really excited about?

I’m really excited about  DevOps Enterprise Summit 2015, This is the second year of the conference where we’re assembling leaders of large, complex organizations who are adopting DevOps, to have them share their transformation stories.

The conference will be twice the size as last year, and the talks are even more amazing.  The conference  is focused on the top five problem areas that were identified by the community last year.

● Creating automated tests for legacy applications
Culture and leadership issues
● Roles and responsibilities
● Information security and compliance
● Metrics for driving DevOps improvement

The programming committee is about 75% through the selection process, and holy cow, I’m so excited  by the  transformations that are going on right now It’s going to be a fantastic conference!

For those of you who want to see what DevOps Enterprise is all about, you can find all the talks and slides from 2014 here:

Slides
Videos

Q: What are your thoughts on the biggest impacts or benefits teams can gain from adopting DevOps practices?

Our goal as a DevOps organization should be to maximize our organizational learnings from any accident, gain the best understanding of how the accident occurred, and empower everyone to create the most effective countermeasure to prevent it from happening again, or enable quicker detection and recovery. In addition, we must foster a culture where the entire organization learns from it, so that any local improvements can be turned into global improvements.

By valuing learning, we create an organization where we no longer expect “leaders plan our way to greatness.” Instead, leaders help foster and develop routines, test them in practice, recognize which don’t work, and reinforce those that do. Leaders do this by reinforcing the value of learning and ensure that obstacles are removed so that whatever got in our way yesterday and today won’t get in our way tomorrow.

Q: What conferences or events are you looking forward to attending this year?

In addition to DevOps Enterprise Summit 2015, I’m also really excited to be at Jenkins User Conference in San Francisco — it’s a fantastic community of people building the tooling that helps enable developers to be wildly productive, and integrate Ops into their daily work in a way that simply didn’t exist ten years ago. It’s always fantastic to reconnect with friends and fellow travelers who are also on the DevOps journey.

One of my favorite events in 2014 was the DevOps Enterprise Summit. It was fascinating and refreshing to hear stories of how large companies have been able to adopt DevOps into their day to day efforts. I very much look forward to this event as well as the forthcoming DevOps Cookbook.

Lately, Gene has been a vocal advocate of identifying and addressing burnout within the IT community. John Willis’ “Karōjisatsu” article was originally posted on Gene’s IT Revolution blog, which thankfully brought attention to this very serious and important subject.

Since then, many in our space have helped to keep the conversation going in hopes to educate and empathize with those who suffer and display symptoms of burnout. As we continue to spread helpful information on how to identify and prevent burnout, we can make a difference in the lives of our co-workers, friends, and family. Thank you Gene for playing an important role in not only the Devops movement, but the effort to keep our community healthy and safe.

Follow Gene on Twitter and check out the DevOps Enterprise Summit taking place in October 19–21, 2015 for an awesome lineup of speakers and content.

*Use code GENEKIM10 to save 10% off your ticket to the DevOps Enterprise Summit until September 1.*

Check out previous DevOps interviews with:
Patrick Debois
Alan Shimel
Ryan Frantz
Matt Stratton
Jimmy Cuadra

… with more to come!