Seattle 2017 in review

by Ken Mugrage - 30 April, 2017

this post was written by Ken Mugrage and represents my views of the event

DevOpsDays Seattle 2017 was held at McCaw Hall on April 26th and 27th. Around 400 participants saw a mix of internationally known and local speakers talking about their challenges and successes.

After the end of the event, we sent around a survey. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Some things we think went well:

  • The speakers all did a great job. You can watch a recording of each session by clicking on the title on our program page.
  • Most people said they liked the balance between chosen sessions and open spaces

Some things that could have been better:

  • We did an experiment where we asked a couple people who had submitted sessions with too narrow of a focus for the entire audience to do them in the afternoons during open space times. It may have been due to a complex venue layout, but those sessions weren't as well attended as we would have hoped.
  • We could have done a better job letting people know where to go for the various open space sessions. As mentioned, the venue had a complex layout and not everyone was able to find the session they wanted to attend.

The Talks

As I mentioned above, the speakers all did a great job. I'm sure I shouldn't point out personal high points, but I'm going to anyway…

  • A little over 8 years ago I started a new job and was introduced to continuous delivery pipelines by one of my new colleagues at the time, Jez Humble. This was before the CD book he co-authored was released, and at the time I didn't realize just how privileged I was to be learning it from him. It was great personally to hear some of the things people have been telling him in the years in between.
  • Speaking of learning since a book came out… I also really enjoyed the talk by Gene Kim about the top things he's learned since The Phoenix Project came out.
  • I highly recommend you don't watch the talk by Jeff Smith in an area where you'll be embarrassed to literally laugh out loud. In an industry where we all want to play with the new shiny thing, Jeff has a great way of reminding us that we might still want to know how our companies do little things like make money.
  • Sarah Shewell and Suzanne Nielsen proved that you don't have to travel doing talks for a living to be great at sharing information. I'd love to see more talks from local businesses on their challenges and successes at all events!
  • The ignite talk from Soo Choi affected me quite a bit more than I expected it to. Soo gives us a very personal glimpse into what it can be like to be a woman at a technical conference. It's hard for me to type about this without using language I don't want to here, so you can see my more detailed rant here.

The Open Spaces

I hate to type this, as open spaces are usually my favorite part of a DevOpsDays event, but I didn't make it to very many. I've heard from many people that they had great discussions, but were hampered somewhat by a confusing layout and background noise. We'll work to make that better next year.

Next Year

I'm pretty sure we'll do it again next year, but don't have any details yet. I'd guess it would be roughly the same time frame. It might be the same venue. I think most (if not all) of the organizers will be back.

I know it's gonna be awesome.