I had the wonderful opportunity to attend and speak at the Nashville DevOpsDays 2017 Conference last week. So I wanted to share some quick thoughts from my first DevOpsDays experience.
The venue (The Bell Tower) was a really cool and intimate space. Not too big/small it was just the right size. The food was also above average for most conferences I attend. The hot chicken (a Nashville original) was especially good!
On the first evening the venue was transformed to host an attendee party which included food, live music, open bar and a whiskey tasting! This was the perfect setting for continued conversations and a good time.
From my count, there were around 200 DevOps practitioners in attendance. This included an above average number of minorities represented compared to most technical conferences. It was nice to see and interact with a diverse crowd.
The conference started off with a keynote from Michael Cote of Pivotal speaking about the state of DevOps and the success he is seeing with it in the industry. Michael was funny and presented interesting content.
There were a lot of good talks but a few stuck out to me like “Don’t call it a post mortem unless someone dies!”, “Impact of CI/CD on Audit and Compliance” and “Moneyball and the science of building great DevOps teams”. Too much goodness to attempt to summarize here but the conference organizers recorded all the talks and said they would post them to the Internet soon.
There were also Ignite talks on day 2. Ignite talks are short (5 min) talks presented by multiple presenters in rapid succession. These were mix of informational and entertaining but all good as well.
Open Space discussions were held each afternoon of the two day conference. Open Spaces are self-organized group discussions without a pre-defined agenda. Participants place discussion topics on post it notes and then everyone votes on the topics they want to discuss. The topics with the most votes are discussed in groups and participants are encouraged to move around the various groups as they wish.
This was my favorite part of the conference. I met and spoke with so many intelligent people with interesting experiences and ideas. Some of the topic discussions I participated in were:
- DevOps for Databases
- Mapping Value with a Wardley Map
- Intro to Complexity Theory with Cynefin
- Managing Technical Communities
There were also a nice mix of sponsors at the conference. Lots of recognizable names but also smaller shops looking for talent. I was able to speak to most of the vendors and learn about some new products/services. It so great to see these companies investing in and supporting the DevOps community!
Overall the conference was incredibly valuable to me and I look forward to coming next year. If you’ve never attended a DevOpsDays event, I highly encourage you to. You won’t regret it.