Ken Mugrage

Title: What we’re learning about burnout and how a DevOps culture can help


One of the most overlooked advantages of converting to a DevOps culture can be the reduction of stress. This could be due to “sharing the load” as a whole team, the feeling of joint ownership in solving a business problem, or many other things.

If you’re asked to support somebody else’s application without any insight to how it was built and what problems it’s trying to solve you’re likely to experience more than a little stress. The same is true if you’ve toiled away creating the perfect application only to see it deployed in a way that makes it unable to perform.

The combination of stress and burnout is perhaps the biggest health threat in our industry. In fact, recent research has found that burnout–and the related concept of “vital exhaustion”–increases your risk of cardiovascular disease as much as body mass index, smoking and lipid levels. Unfortunately there are also well-known stories of burnout-related suicides in our industry, making this literally a life and death issue.

If that isn’t reason enough to address the issue, we also know from the State of DevOps survey that the #1 indicator of company success is job satisfaction.

In this talk Ken will go over some of the leading research in the area of burnout. We’ll talk about some of the more common causes of burnout as identified by clinical research and talk about how you can learn from organizations with solid DevOps cultural practices to help alleviate them.


Ken Mugrage

Ken Mugrage


Ken Mugrage started his own web development company in 1994. Since then he’s held almost every position in a software development company, from developer to system administrator, sales engineer to development manager. This varied experience enables Ken to look at issues with a holistic view.

Ken is currently a Technology Evangelist at ThoughtWorks, responsible for teaching others about DevOps and Continuous Delivery.