My Leadership Approach

cliff hanger obstacle at Tough Mudder Tri-State 2010
“Cliff Hanger obstacle at Tough Mudder Tri-State 2010” by Dmitry Gudkov is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Becoming a better leader has become a lifelong journey and passion for me. Regardless of what my official role description or title says, I’ve realized being a leader is what my real job is. Leadership is an awesome privilege and responsibility so I want to be the best leader I can. I’ve also realized I’m far from perfect as a leader (just ask my team). But I’m a better leader now than I was last year and hopefully I’ll be a better leader next year than I am now. For me, getting better starts with getting clear on what I’m all about. And getting clear starts with writing stuff down, so here you are.
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Philosophy on Metrics

GSFC_SpaceTelescopeOperationsControl.jpg

I love spreadsheets, charts, graphs, and numbers. Tracking quantifiable metrics gives me comfort and a sense of control (those two feelings go together for me). Metrics help me understand what’s going on and give me insights to take action. In that respect, I’ve often felt I would fit right in at Etsy. In my experience, I’ve also discovered that clearly identifying who is accountable for something and establishing the metrics you’ll use to evaluate success for that something are powerful clarifying tools in actually achieving the outcomes you want. The “how” and “when” usually fall into place after establishing the “who” and the “what”.

I’ve also discovered some pitfalls with metrics. I’ve recently challenged my thinking about metrics and their value. Here are some of my insights.
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We’re Better Together: DevOps, Security, Audit, and Compliance

nomnomnom from Katheirne Hitt
“nomnomnom” by Katheirne Hitt is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I’ve been on a kick recently about how DevOps, security, audit, and compliance all fit together. Spoiler alert: they all do fit together. In fact, we’re better off individually and collectively when we bring security, audit, and compliance into the DevOps tent and treat them like we would any other function that has valuable expertise to contribute to help our organizations win. We’d all benefit from what we can learn from each other.

I wrote about a few ways to do that on Excella’s blog. You can also get more information from a talk I gave a couple months ago on this same topic.

5 Tips for Leading a DevOps Transformation in Your Organization

Red-Green Leaves from Garry Knight
“Red-Green Leaves” by Garry Knight is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I wrote for XebiaLabs on leading a DevOps transformation within your organization. It’s based on a white paper I co-authored with a bunch of really amazing people at Gene Kim’s DevOps Enterprise Forum in 2016. The post covers five simple (but not easy) tips for making progress on adoption of DevOps patterns and practices within your organization. The tips include understanding other people’s goals and the problems they face, identifying a target mindset, and then developing and executing a plan with the most effective tactics.

In retrospect, I’ve been writing a lot for other blogs and less so for myself. Whatever gets the word out and advances the cause, right?

Top 3 Insights from the 2017 State of DevOps Report

2017 State of DevOps Report

The 2017 State of DevOps Reportis out. As in previous years, it provides a lot of information about the state of DevOps within the industry and some of the important factors that differentiate high-performing organizations from their non-high-performing peers. I noted a few highlights from this year’s report: the impact of leadership, the continued misconception about the perceived tradeoff between throughput and stability, and autonomy with teams and architectures.

I wrote about my insights from this year’s report on Excella’s blog.

You can also see my insights from 2015 and 2016.

Book Review: “The Manager’s Path” by Camille Fournier

The Manager's Path book cover

I wish I had read The Manager’s Path by Camille Fournier twenty years ago when I started down the path of being a manager. I could have avoided a lot of pain, confusion, and conflict for myself and those I was managing. I agree with much of what is in the book about what works mainly because I learned the hard way about what doesn’t work.
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