Mistakes Were Made

Presentation: Mistakes Were Made Presentation [PDF]
Average rating: ****.
(4.12, 16 ratings)

Ever have a code release go horribly wrong? Have a routine system upgrade turn into 12 hours of downtime? Had to field angry phone calls from engineers, customers and your boss?

Sometimes things go horribly wrong. This talk will teach you how to plan for the worst, minimize risk and recover gracefully from failure.

In an ideal world, code would have complete test coverage, releases would be seamless and databases wouldn’t require downtimes to upgrade. The fact is, most companies still have to manage systems upgrades and code deployment that includes downtime. This talk is for you.

Elements to successful downtimes include: proper testing, automated checks for success, completely failback plans, and a timeline. We’ll go over useful tools for keeping track of what is going on before, during and after a downtime, and talk through good and bad communication for employees and customers.

We’ll also talk about how non-technical people can evaluate technical change. And how having the right stakeholders involved from the beginning of the planning process reduces risk.

Stories to illustrate success and failure will come from Selena Deckelmann’s 15 years in education, public and private sectors, as a consultant, DBA and IT manager.

Photo of Selena Deckelmann

Selena Deckelmann


I am a major contributor to PostgreSQL, run conferences, and keep
. I also give a lot of technical talks.

I blog, tumble, and tweet.

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Picture of Ricardo Signes
Ricardo Signes
07/31/2011 11:27pm PDT

Lots of talks that cover “stupid mistakes and brutal failures” end up just being boring handwaving about what might have helped instead, presented as concrete and tested advice.

This talk actually presented real failures as lists of “don’ts” with only the obvious conclusions presented as “dos,” rather than questionable speculation. At the end, the audience was invited to give their own horror stories or suggestions, and these were just as interesting, entertaining, and potentially useful as the content of speaker’s talk itself.

I look forward to “More Mistakes Were Made.”

Picture of Brian Martin
Brian Martin
07/29/2011 4:20am PDT

Selena gave a great presentation. She’s a lively speaker that clearly speaks from experience.

Tony Pisarenkov
07/28/2011 6:18am PDT

While the speaker was good and the material was presented effectively, much of the material itself seemed like it should be common sense to anyone with any significant experience in IT (whether development or ops). If it is not, our profession is in serious trouble. Perhaps the fact that the talk was necessary at all is a telling, and alarming, sign.