As you know, F5 (and especially we here on the DevCentral team) are invested in supporting healthy technical community. It is a treat for us to better know the existing devops community around the world, and to learn about the similarities and differences the global technical community has in particular geographic regions.
Like before, we wanted to provide value beyond simply throwing money at a great conference and hosting our sponsor table, so we again chipped in to have White Coat Captioning provide live captioning. We do this in order to make community more accessible not just for our hearing-impaired colleagues, but also colleagues who may have difficulty with accents, and colleagues who may miss a phrase here or there as they take notes.
As you can imagine, we had a fairly large amount of F5ers at this conference, not just at our sponsor booth, but also attending as many sessions as possible over both days. While it is impossible to choose a single favorite session given the high content bar set by the speakers (and I won’t be doing justice to nearly enough of the great sessions given), I heard a lot of folks talking about how Karthik Gaekwad’s session “Mental Health Studies in Devops” was particularly relevant to both our technical and non-technical attendees. Lucy Wyman made us think with her presentation, “What Not To Automate.” Peter Chestna made us think about devsecops in his presentation called “Make Shift Happen.” I particularly appreciated Jeffrey Snover’s reminder to support colleagues and team members – don’t tell them, “I’ve been rooting for you the whole time” after the fact, because it means a lot more to hear that encouragement/appreciation while they’re in the thick of things. Here are some folks deciding which Open Talk to attend:
From our anecdotal observations, it seemed as if at least 75% of attendees had been to at least one other devopsdays conference before this one. Given the fantastic job that the organizers and volunteers and speakers do, combined with the supportive environment… we completely understand why devops professionals go out of their way to attend these conferences! One of the things we have especially noticed at the devopsdays conferences we’ve been to is how visible the Code of Conduct is – not just physically (though there is that, too), but also by way of shout-outs from the stage, and people discussing things and referencing the CoC in non-snarky ways when catching themselves starting to accidentally violate it. There was really a safe, collaborative, encouraging, and positive atmosphere for attendees and sponsors.
We are getting closer and closer to admitting that we have a swag problem. Admitting it is the first step, right? Well, we had lots of swag, and are very happy to say that it is still proving to be popular swag. We’re bringing the same swag to most of the devopsdays events we’re sponsoring this year; poseable wooden robots, stress balls, stickers, t-shirts… and this time we managed to give away everything except for a single box of shirts and a few robots. We gave extra boxes of robots to folks who said they wanted to bring goodies back for teammates and networking colleagues, as well as folks who told us that they were teachers (or married to teachers).
This is part of the F5 team who supported the booth (between attending sessions). What you can't see are the 300 t-shirts on the floor behind us, sorted into stacks by size and cut (crew and v-neck options).
For those of you reading who weren’t there, the Pain Pebble survey is our way of better-understanding what challenges are at the top of attendees’ minds. In exchange for telling us if they were more on the DEV side, more on the OPS side, or OTHER, attendees got 3 pebbles of their corresponding color to vote on pain points/challenges. All 3 votes could go into a single jar, or be spread out across 2 or 3 jars. It was really fun to see folks come by the table repeatedly throughout both days just to see how the votes were stacking up. We had some fun conversations around the vote topics, vote mechanics, brainstorming in general, and pain-points in general.
As promised, here are the Pain Pebble survey results (with a hearty thank-you to all 216 folks who participated)! I’ve highlighted the biggest frustration for each persona in red. Remember: everyone got 3 votes.
As you can see, most respondents self-identified as being on the dev side, and technical debt was the biggest obstacle for all folks who participated at our table, followed by bureaucracy.
We’re going to be surveying the same Pain Points at most of these upcoming events, and doing trip recaps for each event to share what we learned at that event and include a running total of all votes at all the events so we can see how each location compares to the overall.
It was our second time (as a company) at a devopsdays, and I’m very happy to say that it won’t be our last. While offline engagement can provide unique opportunities to share ideas, we’ll continue building community and content here on DevCentral, and continue rotating content over at f5.com/devops
Going back to the topic of getting and sharing community feedback for a quick sec; is there anything you'd like to read more about in these recaps? Any kinds of photos or links which would better help you feel more included in the experience?
See you at the next event!