Service level agreements used to be the domain of commercial internet service providers and other utility-like organizations. But as our industry has moved into the cloud and more toward software-as-a-service-based models, SLAs have become something many operations teams have to grapple with (whether the Sales team let them know or not!).
Given that SLAs often contain financial penalties, they can directly introduce stress and chaos into socio-technical systems at times when those systems are already fatigued by a service degradation or outage. This often inhibits the team’s ability to cope with the problem in the most effective way possible, as The Business inserts itself into the foray to assess the problem.
Additionally, SLAs often create incentives for the organization that are in direct conflict with activities that would help them create resiliency in their systems. Activities such as holding game-days, Netflix “Chaos Monkey”-like software, and actionable, healthy operational retrospectives can be difficult to propose or implement, with the specter of a draconian SLA hanging over everyone’s head.
In this talk, we will:
J. Paul Reed is the founder of Release Engineering Approaches, a consultancy incorporating a host of tools and techniques to help organizations “Simply Ship. Every time.” Paul has worked across a number of industries, from financial services to cloud-based infrastructure, with teams from 2 to 2,000 on everything from tooling, operational analysis and improvement, and team culture transformation to business value optimization. He is also the chief delivery officer and a visiting scientist at Praxisflow.
Jim Kimball is the chief technology officer at HedgeServ. As CTO, Jim looks for ways to foster the growth (in a biological way) of the technology organization, as well as how to improve how they leverage technology to solve customers’ problems. Recently, he’s been exploring a range of topics, from applying Theory of Constraints to the technology delivery pipeline, to thinking about how application architecture influences an organization’s efficiency and effectiveness (sort of a reverse Conway). Jim has a BA in philosophy from Brandeis University. He blogs at sharinglunch.tumblr.com.
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