“The Value of RelEng” Keynote at USENIX URES East 2014

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I was honored to give the opening keynote for USENIX URES14 East in Philadelphia in June 2014.

“The Value of Release Engineering as a Force Multiplier” keynote built on top of the “RelEng as a Force Multiplier” presentation I gave at RelEngConf 2013 and as then as a Google Tech Talk. (To get the slides in PDF format, click on thumbnail. Happy to share the original 25MB keynote file, just let me know and we’ll figure out a way to share without hammering my poor website.)

Anyone who has ever talked with me about RelEng knows I feel very strongly that Release Engineering is important to the success of every software project. Writing a popular v1.0 product is just the first step. If you want to keep your initial early-adopter users by shipping v1.0.1 fixes, or grow your user base by shipping new v2.0 features to your existing users, you need a reproducible pipeline for accurately delivering software in a repeatable manner. Otherwise, you are “only” delivering a short-lived flash-in-the-pan one-off project. In my opinion, this pipeline is another product that software companies need to develop, alongside their own unique product, if they want to stay in the marketplace, and scale.

Its typical for Release Engineers to talk about the value of RelEng in terms that Release Engineers value – timely delivery, accurate builds, turnaround time, etc. I believe its important to also describe Release Engineering in terms that people across an organization can understand. In my keynote, I specifically talked about the value of RelEng in terms that people-who-run-companies value – unique business opportunities, market / competitive advantages, new business models, reduced legal risk, etc.

Examples included: Mozilla’s infrastructure improvements which reduced turnaround time for delivering security fixes as well as helped deter future attacks… Hortonwork’s business ability to provide enterprise-grade support SLAs to customers running mission critical production “big data” systems on 100% open source Apache Hadoop… and even NASA’s remote software update of the Mars Rover.

People seemed to enjoy the presentation, with lively questions during, afterwards… and even into the end-of-day panel session.

Big thanks to the organizers (especially Dinah McNutt (RelEng at Google), Gareth Bowles) – they did an awesome job putting together a unique and special event.

Oh, and one more thing! Next week, USENIX URES14 West will start on Monday 10nov2014 in Seattle. If you are in the area, or can get there for Monday, you should attend! And make sure to see Kmoir’s presentation “Scaling Capacity While Saving Cash” – if you follow her blog, you know you can expect it to be well worth attending.

[Updated to include links to usenix recordings. joduinn 08nov2014]

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  1. Casey Becking (@caseybecking)
    07 Nov 2014 @ 06:48:03

    John O’Duinn: “The Value of RelEng” Keynote at USENIX URES East 2014 – http://t.co/SkKk0D9aNY #mozilla #mozillians mozilla

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