Thursday, October 13, 2016

First Impressions and Recap: DevOpsDays Detroit Day 1

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience I had at DevOpsDays Detroit 2016. While I didn't quite have the easiest time getting into the event, once there, I was treated to a number of good talks and a wildly different format from what I had experienced previously.

One of the first things that struck me was that the vendor area was smack dab at the entrance. Get your badge and first thing is all the vendors that sponsored the event. For an event entering its second year I have to say I was amazed. I am assuming that this had partly to do with the well established network already out there, but even so, its great to see sponsors take so quickly to the event.

The next thing that took me a little off guard even though I kind of knew that it would be mostly the case was that nearly everything was in one room. It maintains focus which is good, though I suppose doesn't give much option. Either way I was a fan. On that same note there were a few things called "Ignite" sessions which were 5-minute rapid fire talks. Which covered topics including Women in Technology and Infrastructure as Code.

The final section which I thought proved to be the most valuable were the Open Space discussions. The way it works is explained in the link, but in short the whole group is given the ability to provide topics. Once a topic has been suggested, it is voted on, and then based on a somewhat subjective although seemingly accurate sizing we were able to divide topics into different rooms and time slots.

Two of the them functioned very well. We had a pretty continuous conversation, and I was able to pick up a few tidbit, while at the same time I was able to provide some tips of my own. The last one however, was not so successful. I was definitely not in the camp of an expert for the particular talk, which happened to be about Effective Postmortems. The group in this case was smaller than the rest and it sounded like most were in the same boat. This is an inevitability in this sort of process. However, I still think I and others were able to draw some value out of this, and even if it hadn't turned out as well 2 out of 3 is actually pretty good for a conference.

Open Space Discussion Schedule
One thing that I'm not sure is an issue or not was that some mentioned it did not feel very DevOpsy topics. Didn't get a qualification on that, but I think that's largely due to the fact that not all topics were highly technically, which make sense given that the target is somewhat broad.

Either way I look forward to Day 2 which will be starting soon, and I hope to meet even more people today, and hearing some more great talks.

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