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Sam Guckenheimer on Microsoft Developer Division’s Journey to Cloud Cadence

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Core information:


Why Cloud Cadence?

  • Customers value regular improvements
  • Maximize investments in what customers want
  • React to changes quickly: market/competitive/regulatory
  • Change engineering dynamic from “validation” to “flow”

OPENING KEYNOTE: Journey to Cloud Cadence by Sam Guckenheimer, July 28, 2014  [Agile2014 by Agile Alliance, July 28 – Aug 1, 2014] ⇒Browse 184 photos, videos and tweets about @samguckenheimer, microsoft, adopting cloud cadence at Agile 2014 (#agile2014), on Seen

ABSTRACT:  Sam describes a ten-year transformation at Microsoft Developer Division from a waterfallian box product delivery cycle of four years to Agile practices enabling a hybrid SaaS and on-prem business, with a single code base, triweekly delivery of new features in the service, and quarterly delivery for on-premise customers. He presents three waves of improvement and learning: first, the reduction of technical debt and other waste to gain trustworthy transparency, second, the increase in the flow of customer value, and third the shortening of cycle time to allow continuous feedback and continuous business improvement.

The current scale of the business is that there are millions of customer accounts each on–premise and in the cloud. This hybrid situation will exist for many years, and is a necessary part of the business.

Sam will discuss both the organizational issues of transformation and give examples from monthly service reviews of key practices and metrics, such as hypothesis-driven development, funnel analysis, performance monitoring, MTTD and MTTR improvement, log analysis, root cause remediation, scale unit replication and canarying, common code base, testing cycles, georeplication, feature flags, compatibility and compliance testing. He will share his thoughts on the lessons learned in moving from a traditional software delivery team to a modern DevOps team.



A few excerpts from a recent  [Oct 17, 2014] InfoQ interview:

… the big news is that – the new realization is that the old view that there were two life cycles, one for development, one for operations has been replaced by the realization that there is one life cycle for both and that has been forced to some extent by the improvement in development which leads to faster delivery of working software to deploy, in part by the public cloud that removes the impediments to deployment, in part by the visibility of the consumer facing web, in part by mobile, in part by the “build – measure – learn” affinity practices which connect business learning to tactical learning and in part by the broader shift to the realization that we can now have hypothesis-driven development instead of a notion of requirements or user-story (or whatever you like) product owner driven development. The idea that you can actually use data to drive what to do next.

… as the hyper-scale cloud vendors like us do go literally worldwide on datacenter location, we become worldwide utilities. I mean, I remember for example – was it 4 years ago that tsunami in Japan? In 2009? – I remember the tsunami hit Japan on a Friday, I think. There were three fiber links to Hong Shu at that time and because of the aftershocks they kept going up and down and no one could get reliable information about Fukushima. The center of the tsunami was in Sendai and our data center was between Tokyo and Sendai, as was Fukushima. So we made the decision on the weekend to evacuate our data center and run it “lights out” because Fukushima was too dangerous. So, by Monday we were holding hourly Scrums between Redmond and Hyderabad, which were the two NOCs (network operations centers), basically 12 hours apart in time zone. We were moving all of the network services off of the Japanese data center remotely, including Hotmail which was considered quite critical by the Japanese government because they were telling everyone to stay indoors and use email and we have 10 million Japanese subscribers. That was the first point for me where I really truly understood that this need to run like a utility, or better than a utility given the way Fukushima was unfolding.

I think in five years’ time the default question for any new project of scale will be “Why not public Cloud?” I think the “buy” versus “build” question will be different. So you will buy anything that is context as SAAS or rented and you will be very conscious of where your differentiators are that you want to build, what Forrester calls “systems of engagement” or Gartner calls “systems of innovation”. I think that there will be more reliance on those things being distinct.

Additional information from the earlier Transforming Software Development in a World of Services — Keynote by Sam Guckenheimer, April 3, 2014 [ALM Forum 2014, Seattle WA, April 1-3]: The new world of services enables a much tighter “build-measure-learn” loop so that you can deliver value in small increments and adjust rapidly to feedback. In order to do this, you need to make significant changes to your customer data collection and engineering processes to avoid any debt accumulation and to streamline delivery into production. This talk will look at lessons learned from the transformation of a traditional development organization to a cloud cadence and the practices for continual delivery of customer value.

… Presenters and Biographies — Sam Guckenheimer Product Owner Microsoft Visual Studio Microsoft

Sam Guckenheimer is the Product Owner for Microsoft Visual Studio. Sam is also the author of Software Engineering with Microsoft Visual Studio Team System [there is a newer edition of this: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012: Adopting Agile Software Practices: From Backlog to Continuous Feedback (3rd Edition) (Microsoft Windows Development Series)]. He has 25 years experience as architect, developer, tester, product manager, project manager and general manager in the software industry in the US and Europe. Currently, Sam is the Group Product Planner for Microsoft Visual Studio Team System. In this capacity, he acts as chief customer advocate, responsible for the end-to-end external design of the next releases of these products. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2003, Sam was Director of Product Line Strategy at Rational Software Corporation, now the Rational Division of IBM. He holds five patents on software lifecycle tools. A frequent speaker at industry conferences, Sam is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard University.


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