How Officiating Football Prepared me for DevSecOps

My fall avocation for the last 17 years has been officiating football. For the last 10 years, on every Saturday in the fall, you could find me at a college stadium somewhere in the Northeast part of the country. I’ve had the privilege of working with a multitude of officials, all with differing opinions on what they might consider holding, but all with the unifying attitude of working the best game we’ve ever worked for the 2 teams that are playing that day. In college football officiating we are a 7 man team, all with specific responsibilities, all dependent on each other to work together as a unit.

My full time job is as a solutions engineer for a software company focused on cloud security. In every engagement we work with multiple buying personas. When you’re dealing with cloud security, you have to understand what that means to everyone you’re speaking to. I’ve realized that Developers, Operations team members, and the Security team all of have differing ideas of what security is and what it means to an organization. Ultimately, they have to work as a team, to achieve the goals of the organization that they are working to protect.

What I will do in this talk is discuss how football officiating has prepared me to address different personas within organizations. Who is looking at what (a question frequently asked by football coaches)? How can we, as IT professionals, overcome perceptions of our roles by our peers? How do those perceptions relate to the different officiating positions on the football field? How can we use these new levels of understanding to work together in a more cohesive fashion.