Skip to content

Putting people first at SEACON 2019

Devoteamer Olive Brady gives her take on SEACON 2019

This November Devoteam attended SEACON 2019, held in The Plexal building in the heart of Stratford. Just in case you were wondering, it was the £3 for a flat white coffee side of Stratford, not the old east end Stratford. Fun fact: The Plexal was the building which housed all of the international journalists for the 2012 Olympics. There is your bit of useless knowledge covered for the week, you are welcome.

The speakers for the day varied hugely, the majority of them were experienced heavyweights in their professions. The keynote speaker was Mik Kersten, a Polish-Canadian ex-developer now turned author, who was giving away signed copies of his book: “Project to Product”. He spoke about witnessing the fall of Nokia (from the inside), the disconnect in viewpoints between business owners and technologists on how to use tech, the benefits of companies treating their employees like human beings (seriously), but the core point of his talk was how to measure success.

At Nokia the directors created targets which in theory were being achieved, however on the floor of the development teams an extremely different picture was being painted. This story appeared to resonate with many of the attendees, I overheard several groups speaking on the lack of cohesion between the c-suite & developers and it would seem communication still has a long way to go for most companies.  

Next up was Simon Wardley from Wardley Maps, an eccentric fellow who used war logistics together with war maps to explain to the audience the difference between er, maps & graphs. His talk was extremely engaging, the audience appeared to genuinely enjoy (plus understand) what he was saying but most importantly, he spoke again about people and their importance in projects. Where blame is usually cascaded upon someone, it should (and rightly) be pinned to the failing process. You could then turn around and say ‘well, why can’t you blame the person who created the process?’ to which I would reply ‘well you could, but you still end up with the same outcome, which is nothing!’ You can watch his presentation here

One of the key areas of DevOps is encouraging people to create safe work environments.  If you make a mistake, own it & move on. Finger pointing hostile environments make for uncomfortable & unproductive working days. With Netflix and TFL raising their prices every year, the last thing we need is Terry from testing telling us our code is rubbish and buggy. Give us a break Tezza.  

Treating employees like humans and not cogs in a wheel was the common theme throughout the day, with all of the speakers touching on personal experiences as to why things must change. As it was SEACON, they rightly attempted to sell it to the managers/c-suite people in the field by backing it up with: statistics and fancy graphs showing the increase in productivity within happy employees compared to miserable humanoids. 

Our stall was strategically placed and throughout the day we enjoyed a healthy stream of foot traffic, we proved very popular due to our fabulous swag and engaging conversation about how we at Devoteam are a tech consultancy who know what we’re doing. But it was mainly the swag!

However the highlight of the day was our very own Head of DevOps Graham Zabel talking to the lunchtime crowd about the ‘Death of DevOps – as we know it’. Having gone viral earlier this year with his video on YouTube, he again explained why evolution is key to surviving in tech but DevOps especially. 

Having attended SEACON last year, which was just as fantastic as this years, there was a noticeable increase of women in the crowd and on the speakers’ line-up. With inclusivity always being a hot topic in tech, SEACON is managing to strike the balance perfectly. Overall a great day for Devoteam and its DevOps squad, roll on SEACON 2020!


Check out videos of the presentations at SEACON 2019 here.

Find out more about Agile IT with DevOps at Devoteam.