Build resilient systems at scale
May 27–29, 2015 • Santa Clara, CA

Bootstrapping a world class Ops team

Charity Majors (Honeycomb)
11:50am–12:30pm Thursday, 05/28/2015
Location: Mission City Ballroom B1
Average rating: ****.
(4.86, 7 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

Best for managers, startup founders, early hires, team builders, and anyone who has an interest in building great team culture.


So you think you need an Ops team (or DevOps, systems engineers, site reliability engineers, etc). But you don’t know how to interview, hire, and grow a successful Ops team, maybe because that’s not your skill-set and maybe because it’s just hard. Or maybe you’re an early hire and you’re struggling with how to rapidly grow your team with quality candidates and a healthy culture. Or you’re fortunate enough to have hired some excellent systems engineers, and you want to know how to retain them and keep them happy and challenged as your business grows.

This talk is for you.

We’ll cover the basics: how do you know when you genuinely need an Ops team, and when you just need your developers to step up and do a better job? Operations engineering at scale is a specialized skill-set, not “software engineering lite,” and you don’t need an Ops team until you have hard operational problems.

We’ll also talk about how to interview and hire strong Ops candidates, whether you personally know much about Ops or not. We’ll examine some good interview questions and bad interview questions, dig into strengths-based hiring, and give special attention to what qualities you particularly need in your founding hire for any new team.

Finally, we’ll talk about what comes next. How do you keep your shiny new operations engineering team happy and challenged? How do you create a healthy, mutually-thriving DevOps culture? Whether you’re a startup founder or a manager or an early stage employee, there is nothing more powerful than having a valley full of ex-coworkers who want to work with you again, and culture is key.

Photo of Charity Majors

Charity Majors


Charity is a systems engineer at Parse/Facebook and is happily building out the next generation of mobile platform technology.

Charity is co-author of O’Reilly Media’s Databases at Scale. Learn more.