Agenda 2020

This is the published schedule and agenda for Deserted Island DevOps.

All Times Eastern US

Introduction and Welcome
Katy Farmer (Developer Advocate @ Lightstep) | @thekatertot | 10:00 EDT


Welcome to Deserted Island DevOps! We’ll kick off with some words from the organizers then get into the sessions!

Speaker Biography
Katy lives in Oakland, CA (but has lived in lots of places from East Coast to West Coast), and loves to experiment with technology. Over the years, she's been an editor, juice bar barista, IT technician, and farm hand, so she's learned to fail and try again in a lot of industries. Ask her about video game development, Russian Literature, Star Wars, or Dragon Age--she'll be your friend right away.

KEYNOTE: Bridge Construction Kit: DevOps and Security Don’t Have to Be Islands
Ian Coldwater (Lead Platform Security Engineer @ Heroku) | @IanColdwater | 10:05 EDT


Devops and security have a lot to learn from each other, but there are gaps in communication and understanding between the two. How did these flaws come to be, and how can we work to remediate them? This talk contains ideas, a call to action, and some terrible puns. Let’s figure this out together, so we can build bridges between our islands, catch more bugs, and craft things better.

Speaker Biography
Ian Coldwater is a grown teenage hacker turned Lead Platform Security Engineer at Heroku, who specializes in hacking and hardening Kubernetes, containers and cloud-native infrastructure. In Animal Crossing, Ian runs The Cloud out of their basement data center. In real life, Ian lives in Minneapolis and tweets @IanColdwater.

No Dev is an Island: How to do serverless together
Nočnica Fee (Developer Advocate @ New Relic) | @nocnicafee | 10:30 EDT


“Don’t chop down trees.” “Do leave a hand-written notes.”

The very rules of visiting another player’s island in Animal Crossing also happen to be great rules for building serverless.

While serverless is easy to build, it’s also easy to step on each other’s toes, create unexpected dependencies, and alter configuration that breaks other services. This talk gives some guidelines on how to operate harmoniously, store configuration as code, and monitor performance to find problems early.

Speaker Biography
Nočnica Fee is a serverless developer advocate with New Relic. In her spare time, she enjoys hardware hacking and hand sewing. She’s the author of numerous articles and essays on serverless technology and culture, and writes regularly for The New Stack. She dislikes tarantulas no matter what they’re worth.

If You Can Wait 6 Months, You Should
David Sudia (Senior Swiss-Army Knife @ GoSpotCheck) | @thedevelopnik | 11:00 EDT


Or, how the real-time nature of Animal Crossing informs DevOps practices.

The current DevOps ecosystem is moving incredibly fast, and I’ve found that because of that it often pays to…slow down. You can start building off that cool new tool now, or wait until there’s a one-command CLI to deploy the whole thing for you.

Of course, sometimes you need feature X right now and can’t wait, in which case, get going!

I’ve learned this lesson over and over in the last three years of working in the Cloud Native ecosystem and would like to share my experience of when it’s been worth being an early adopter, and when, like planting those non-native fruits instead of immediately selling them for those sweet, sweet bells, it’s worth waiting.

Speaker Biography
David Sudia is a former educator turned developer turned DevOps Engineer. He's passionate about supporting other developers in doing their best work by making sure they have the right tools and environments. In his day to day he's responsible for managing Kubernetes clusters, deploying databases, writing utility apps, and generally being a Swiss-Army knife. David has co-organized a Cloud Native Meetup and presents regularly on the experience of migrating to Kubernetes.

Break - 15m

Building Virtual Community
Mia Moore (Developer Advocate @ IBM) | @xomiamoore | 11:45 EDT


At its core, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a game about building a community — literally — on a remote island. Right now, many of us are also experiencing our own version of remote living, though luckily with many of life’s modern conveniences. Without in-person events, meetups, and interactions, it’s crucial to create or maintain digital spaces for developer communities.

This talk will explore converting a face-to-face community to a virtual community, a few tools (like Twitch) you can use, and how to be a good citizen of these communities. You’ll leave with a few examples to hopefully inspire you and an answer to the all-important question — how is community building like Animal Crossing?

Speaker Biography
Mia Moore (they/she) is a Developer Advocate at IBM focusing on IBM Cloud and Kubernetes. They also run the IBM Developer Twitch channel at Previous roles include content creation and community management, and they are enthusiastic about good storytelling in digital content. They have played Animal Crossing games since the Gamecube and have already invested an embarrassing amount of hours into the latest iteration. Aside from Animal Crossing, Mia enjoys knitting, birding, and figuring out what to do with their sourdough discards.

Mob Programming From Home: A Case Study in Teaching Cloud Migration From YOUR Island Getaway
Tori Chu (Developer Specialist @ Nationwide) | @f00handle | 12:15 EDT


“Mob Programming” is a software development approach that goes beyond pairing to engaging your whole team and solving a problem together. See how this method is being used to teach cloud migration to dev teams that have rarely touched ops before - while migrating real-world enterprise apps in the process. With the sudden pivot to working from home, learn the best practices that were discovered to keep your now-distributed island villagers (coworkers and trainees) up to speed on new technology and concepts, whether WFH or not!

Speaker Biography
Tori is a Developer Specialist at Nationwide. She and her teammates coach development teams as they begin their DevOps journey to cloud offerings. Other interests include: dance, sci fi, Overwatch, FFXIV. She also made the #DIDevOps conference swag and an elaborate boba stand in Animal Crossing.

Lunch - 45m

Embrace the Wasp Sting: Why Failure Helps Your Team
Adrienne Tacke (Senior Developer Advocate @ MongoDB) | @AdrienneTacke | 1:30 EDT


It’s every developer’s worst fear…breaking the build! Or worse, bringing down prod!

Much like getting that first wasp sting (especially as a new Animal Crossing player), our first instinct when encountering failure is to run away from it and potentially change our behavior to avoid repeating our mistake!

In this talk, however, I’d like to talk about why that failure is important and how, if given the right environment, it can be the most valuable learning opportunity for all people involved!

Specifically, I’ll discuss:

  • How certain things can only be learned after a failure (like the fact that you can make your own medicine with the wasp nest!)

  • How others can help us when we discover a failure point (much like villagers helping us out with some free medicine!)

  • How fostering a psychologically safe environment to fail positively impacts a team (much like discovering the “worst” penalty for being stung twice in a row is a swollen eye and a trip back to your home!)

By the end of this talk, I hope that you’ll leave with a new outlook on failure and begin embracing the possible learning opportunities that await your team!

Speaker Biography
Adrienne Braganza Tacke is a Filipina software engineer, international speaker, and published author of the book Coding for Kids: Python. She is also a LinkedIn Learning instructor who specializes in Azure and Cloud Development courses. Currently, she is a Senior Developer Advocate for MongoDB where she happily educates and empowers developers to become great ones (perhaps using MongoDB in the process 😉). She takes great delight in solving complex problems, creating awesome things, and using the right tools for the problem at hand. Most of all, she relishes the opportunity to connect with developers from around the world. Bonus Fun Facts: her favorite PC/video games are Age of Empires II, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, and the Borderlands series; her favorite lipstick color is Bite's Aubergine; her favorite movies are Inception (really, anything be Christopher Nolan) and The Matrix.

Snakes on a Car
Kat Cosgrove (Developer Advocate @ JFrog) | @dixie3flatline | 2:00 EDT


Like a lot of engineers, I like to tinker. I also like hardware hacking, video games, and over-engineering the hell out of something. When my team at work decided to build a proof of concept demonstrating the possibility of fast over-the-air updates for edge devices, we settled on using a car as the example of an edge device. It’s flashy, you know? This also presented me with an opportunity to do all of the things I love, and call it work: build a self-driving RC car, and then let people race it around a track using a repurposed USB racewheel and whole lotta Python. Here’s how I did it, and how you, too, can build something fun to harass your pets and co-workers with!

Speaker Biography
Kat Cosgrove is a chronic early-adopter of new technologies and a real-life cyborg. Her professional engineering background is in web development, IoT, and programming education, but today she's a Developer Advocate for JFrog. She loves finding creative solutions for hard problems, especially if they're a little hacky. When she's not building demos or at a conference, she spends her time gaming, watching e-sports, and working on useless but entertaining side-projects. She also volunteers with area non-profits geared towards getting more women and other underrepresented minorities into tech.

Kick Em or Keep Em - Collaborating on our own Deserted Islands
Matt Stratton (Transformation Specialist @ Red Hat) | @mattstratton | 2:30 EDT


We know that DevOps is about people, empathy, relationships, and collaboration. And science supports that—studies have shown collaboration is critical to effective software development and software operations. But many times, collaboration is easier said than done. Which begs the question: How do we deal with people and learn to work with different personalities?

Don’t worry, we can learn to improve our human interactions. Over time, I’ve learned some techniques and approaches to enhance collaboration and interaction, which I’ll share so you can put them into practice yourself!

Topics covered in this talk include:

  • De-escalating conflict
  • Facilitating blameless meetings
  • Reframing conversations to be more productive
  • Encouraging psychological safety in teams
Speaker Biography
Matt Stratton is a Transformation Specialist at Red Hat and a long-time member of the global DevOps community. Back in the day, his license plate actually said “DevOps”. Matt has over 20 years of experience in IT operations, ranging from large financial institutions such as JPMorganChase to internet firms including He is a sought-after speaker internationally, presenting at Agile, DevOps, and ITSM focused events, including DevOps Enterprise Summit, DevOpsDays, Interop, PINK, and others worldwide. Matt is the founder and co-host of the popular Arrested DevOps podcast, as well as a global organizer of the DevOpsDays set of conferences. He lives in Chicago and has three awesome kids - Henry, Joey, and Sophia, who he loves just a little bit more than he loves *Doctor Who*. He is currently on a mission to discover the best pho in the world.

Break - 15m

You Will Not Go To Space Today
Jacquie Grindrod (Developer Advocate @ HashiCorp) | @devopsjacquie | 3:15 EDT


When your application is mission critical, DevOps can feel a lot like fixing a spaceship to go to space. It can be hard to get all the right pieces in the right places at the right time, & sometimes all you can do is take a step back and have a little fun with what you’ve learned. That’s how a software engineer & a devops practitioner who have neither been to space nor built a video game before found themselves swapping roles as well as building a game about making it to space to bring people together during a time of unprecedented virtualization.

We’ll share our progress & mistakes made as well as some of the highs & lows of our game development foray (featuring challenging moments such as “why is it green in my terminal and pink in yours??” & “what are tilesets and why are they so hard?!”)

Topics you can expect to hear in this talk:

  • XKCD’s “You Will Not Go to Space Today” as a metaphor for devops
  • Prototyping jump start vs learn-as-you-go development
  • Raft in a Game for dynamic room generation and scaling
  • DevOps concepts applied to (amateur) game design
  • Some things we used: Godotengine & GDScript, Go & termbox, Jenkins-X, AWS, Nomad, Consul, Vault, Terraform
Speaker Biography
Jacquie Grindrod is a developer advocate for HashiCorp where she’s able to apply her passion for solving problems with a holistic approach by bridging the gaps between teams and systems. From making making healthcare accessible to creating a winning networking application for women in tech at ElleHacks 2018, Jacquie works to collaborate and empower communities around her. In 2019, Jacquie was recognized as Canada's Top 30 Under 30 Developers and spoke at DevOpsDays Toronto. A notable ACNH moment for her was shouting 'Yay I finally paid off my house loan!' to which her partner promptly responded 'why do you even play this game??'

Sticking Together while Staying Apart: Resilience in the time of global pandemic
Aaron Aldrich (Advocate @ LaunchDarkly) | @crayzeigh | 3:45 EDT


Everything is a little bit broken all of the time. Sometimes, like recently, as in right now, the core truths and assumptions about the universe seem to be shifted out from underneath us without warning. And yet, Netflix streams movies, GitHub serves code, we all keep going and working from home and surviving. These systems, both technical and social, are resilient. And through their resilience they are able to handle all those one-in-a-million occurrences that crop up nine-times-in-ten. But what does it mean to be resilient? And further, how can we recognize and grow this resilience to better deal with the systemic surprises we’re dealing with right now and in the future? What does a resilient team look like, and how do you foster that?

This talk will answer:

  • What is Resilience?
  • How can we create resilience in ourselves, teams and systems?
  • How do our networks of systems (people, teams, organizations, applications) create resilience for each other?
  • What happens when major systems and networks fail?
  • How can we discover and foster resilience in our people, teams and systems?
Speaker Biography
Aaron Aldrich is a Developer Advocate at LaunchDarkly and a founding organizer of DevOpsDays Hartford and organizer of DevOpsDays NYC. He is passionate about the connection points of humans and technology and how we can consistently use one to help the other. Find him online @crayzeigh on twitter or

You've Got A Friend In Me
Katy Farmer (Developer Advocate @ Lightstep) | @thekatertot | 4:15 EDT


Communities and relationships affect how we work, why we work and what we work on, so it’s natural to feel unproductive or unmotivated at a time when they are at risk. Lets talk about productivity while working under quarantine, the risks and symptoms of burnout, and how we take care of ourselves in a uniquely difficult time. I’ll share some of my own strategies and open up discussion for others to share theirs as well. We’re all in this together!

Speaker Biography
Katy lives in Oakland, CA (but has lived in lots of places from East Coast to West Coast), and loves to experiment with technology. Over the years, she's been an editor, juice bar barista, IT technician, and farm hand, so she's learned to fail and try again in a lot of industries. Ask her about video game development, Russian Literature, Star Wars, or Dragon Age--she'll be your friend right away.

Closing Remarks
Austin Parker (Principal Developer Advocate @ Lightstep) | @austinlparker | 4:30 EDT


A final message from the organizers to wrap up the event!

Speaker Biography
Austin Parker has been solving - and creating - problems with computers and technology for most of his life. He is the Principal Developer Advocate at LightStep and maintainer on the OpenTracing and OpenTelemetry projects. His professional dream is to build a world where we're able to create and run more reliable software. In addition to his professional work, he's taught college classes, spoken about all things DevOps and Distributed Tracing, and even found time to start a Twitch channel. Austin is also the co-author of Distributed Tracing in Practice, published by O'Reilly Media.