ChefConf 2018 CFP: Delivering Delight

ChefConf 2018 will take place May 22-25 in Chicago, Illinois and we want you to present! ChefConf is the largest community gathering and educational event for teams on the journey to becoming fast, efficient, and innovative software-driven organizations. We are proud of the role this event plays in giving community members a chance to share their stories and best practices with their peers to help move forward the entire DevOps community. I’m personally inviting you to submit your stories for our Chicago event through our ChefConf call for presenters (CFP). In particular, this blog post is designed to give you some thoughts and inspirations for building a proposal for the Delivering Delight track.

Delivering Delight

Continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment are all about delivering value throughout the software development life cycle. There is tremendous pressure to deliver new innovations faster and more frequently. Doing so requires new approaches to software development, application packaging, deployment management, and infrastructure automation. Continuously delivering changes to your customers requires that you adopt new workflows, new tools, and new ways of working as a team.

So What Exactly Is Delight?

Delight is what happens when the experience exceeds the expectation. Delivering customer value starts with understanding who the customer is and what they value. When the entire team puts a maniacal focus on delighting the customer amazing things happen: work is aligned toward a single-purpose, collaboration is rewarded, and, most importantly, customers are happier and more successful.

  • How do you know what your customers want?
  • How are you measuring and tracking customer delight?
  • Are your technologists and engineers working directly with customers?
  • What surprises have you encountered as you focus on customer delight?

Build the Right Toolchain

From the developers’ integrated development environment (IDE), to the version control system, to the build system and beyond, there are many tools that are used to continuously deliver delight to customers. Some of these tools come from Chef others are often used in conjunction with Chef. Share your experience of integrating tools for continuously delivering delight.

  • What tools are used along the deployment pipeline? Who is responsible for building and managing those?
  • What build system(s) are used to build application artifacts?
  • How are changes deployed into various environments?
  • What changes to the applications, such as feature flags, have been instrumental in your increased velocity?

Craft a Team for Success

Of course, tooling alone is not enough. Team structure plays a large role in collaborating toward the single purpose of delighting customers. Separation of duties may allow for focus but handoffs and silos can cause a lot of drag. Teams take many different shapes may be better than others at delivering delight.

  • Have you organized into release teams?
  • Have new teams, such as developer services, emerged?
  • What approaches have helped ease transitions between organizational structures?
  • One pipeline to rule them all? Or as many pipelines as you have applications? What has worked and what has failed?

Achieve and Maintain Velocity

Moving faster has a lot of benefits but does not come for free. Businesses and customers burned by years of faulty deploys and rollbacks may scoff at the idea of deploying more frequently. “This burns us every six months and you want to increase the frequency to weekly?!”  As velocity increases, customers are asked to consume updates and changes faster, something they may not be ready for.

  • How have you built trust across the internal organization that faster, more frequent releases are good for everyone?
  • What things have you do to ensure you can detect and respond to failures faster?
  • Have you run into challenges with customers being able to stay up-to-date with the changes you are rolling out?
  • More frequent releases can lead to shorter feedback cycles. How is your organization responding to more frequent feedback?

Share Lessons Learned

First, you moved slow, then you moved faster. You do not need to be an expert to help others get started. Your experiences getting started with continuous delivery are worth sharing, even if as cautionary tales. ChefConf is a great place to help fellow community members get started on the right foot.

  • What criteria do you use to determine which applications are good candidates for continuous delivery?
  • Did you start with a certain phase of the process and roll that out across various applications or start with one application?
  • How do you share the lessons learned across your organization?
  • What advice do you have for those hoping to increase velocity?

Pay it Forward

Your story and experiences are worth sharing with the community. Help others learn and further your own knowledge through sharing. The ChefConf CFP is open now. Use some of the questions posed here to help form a talk proposal for the Delivering Delight track. Besides this track, we are encouraging submissions across these tracks as well:

Submit your talk proposal now! The deadline is Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 11:59 PM Pacific time.

Nathen Harvey

As the VP of Community Development at Chef, Nathen helps the community whip up an awesome ecosystem built around the Chef framework. Nathen also spends much of his time helping people learn about the practices, processes, and technologies that support DevOps, Continuous Delivery, and Web-scale IT. Prior to joining Chef, Nathen spent a number of years managing operations and infrastructure for a number of web applications. Nathen is a co-host of the Food Fight Show, a podcast about Chef and DevOps.