Organizing for Diversity

Diversity can improve the bottom line of companies and lead to unfettered discoveries and breakthrough innovations. (Katherine W. Phillips, Scientific American, October 1, 2014) Sure, it’s great for business, but it’s also the right thing to do.

It all started last year at DevOpsDays Tel Aviv, when Leon Adato told me that there were definitely more women in attendance than at DevOpsDays Ohio. I had noticed that, too. What had they been doing? What can we do? Through our journey as a DevOpsDays Committee we discovered that there are specific steps that we can all take to increase diversity in our own DevOps World.

  1. You’ll find out step 0 in the talk.

  2. When Em-Campbell Pretty was at Telstra she talks about when they started on their DevOps transformation, there was a noticeable difference in employee morale. Not only did they stop leaving, but other people wanted to started joining in on the “fun”. While technology and process are important, DevOps culture is the key.

  3. In the State of DevOps Report 2016, those who practice DevOps principles are 2.2x more likely to recommend their organization as a great place to work​.

  4. Blameless Post-Mortems: Crystal Huff suggested that when a someone leaves the company, have them come back, pay them as a consultant, ask the questions and then shut up and listen. Don’t justify actions. No defense. The only thing you should do are to clarify things.​ She didn’t call it a Blameless Post-Mortem, but that’s what it is.

  5. Go to where under-represented groups are, and invite them to attend. When DevOpsDays Tel Aviv was looking to increase women in attendance one of the places they looked was the military. In Columbus we’re working with the Girls Develop It Meetup group. And I just got in contact with the Women in Tech group.

  6. Soosie Choi tells us to use “small batches”. Our sphere of influence is smaller than our sphere of concern. Don’t try to change the world. Change the things that you can.

  7. Coach Them Up - After the NFL draft finishes, teams are looking for diamonds in the rough (UDFA). They look in “unusual” places to find talent that perhaps has not yet blossomed. They often feel that with some excellent coaching that some of these players can make their roster, and might even become starters.

  8. In a blog post, Heidi Waterhouse, said that conferences should seek a balance in their speakers. While some conferences have a great mix, others are not so good. Obviously, this is for conference committees, but the principle can be applied at companies.

  9. Find a mentor. Be a mentor.

  10. And finally, be a role model.



David Laulusa


“David Laulusa has worked at Bell Labs, SAP and whole slew of companies in between. Three years ago when he started working at SAP, his boss handed him The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim and