Training: June 20–21, 2016
Tutorials: June 21, 2016
Keynotes & Sessions: June 22–23, 2016
Santa Clara, CA

Containers will not fix your broken culture, and other hard truths

Bridget Kromhout (Microsoft)
9:50am–10:00am Wednesday, 06/22/2016
DevOps, Organizational optimization
Location: Mission City Ballroom Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ***..
(3.45, 11 ratings)

Bridget Kromhout explains why containers will not fix your broken culture. Microservices won’t prevent your two-pizza teams from needing to have conversations with one another over that pizza. No amount of industrial-strength job scheduling makes your organization immune to Conway’s law.

Does this mean that DevOps has failed? Not in the slightest. It means that while the unscrupulous might try to sell us DevOps, it’s not something we can buy. We have to live it. Change is a choice we make every day by listening empathetically and acting compassionately. Iterative improvement has to start somewhere; let’s talk about it.

Tools are essential, but how you implement the tools and grow the culture and practices in your organization needs even more attention. Whether you’re just starting to implement technical and organizational change or facing the prospect that you already have legacy microservices, it’s worth considering the why and the how of your behaviors, not just the what.

Making thoughtful decisions about tools and architecture can help. Containers prove to be a useful boundary object, and deconstructing systems to human-scale allows us to comprehend their complexity. We succeed when we share responsibility and have agency—when we move past learned helplessness to active listening. But there is no flowchart, no checklist, no shopping list of ticky boxes that will make everything better. And as The Princess Bride teaches us, “Anyone who says differently is selling something.” Instead, Bridget outlines practical, actionable steps that will help evaluate your progress, know when to course correct, and react when it seems like there’s always something new you should have done last month. Part rant, part DevOps therapy, Bridget’s talk explains in the nerdiest of terms why CAP theorem applies to human interactions too, how oral tradition is like never writing state to disk, and what we can do to avoid sadness as a service.

Photo of Bridget Kromhout

Bridget Kromhout


Bridget Kromhout is a principal cloud advocate at Microsoft. Her CS degree emphasis was in theory, but she now deals with the concrete (if the cloud can be considered tangible). After 15 years as an operations engineer, Bridget traded being on call for being on a plane. A frequent speaker and program committee member for tech conferences, she leads the Devopsdays organization globally and the DevOps community at home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She podcasts with Arrested DevOps, blogs at, and is active in a Twitterverse near you.