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

Building a user-centric Ops, support, and engineering team

11:20am–12:00pm Wednesday, 06/22/2016
First time at Velocity Santa Clara, Organizational optimization
Location: Mission City Ballroom M1 - 2 Level: Non-technical
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 5 ratings)

Prerequisite knowledge

Attendees should be familiar with Amazon Web Services.


The old wisdom about keeping engineers away from customers is bunk. Your product team may be experts on the customer perspective, but everyone can benefit from developing user empathy. Using the Heroku Postgres team as a case study, Peter van Hardenberg explains how to build a highly scaled organization with world-class operations and support and a deep appreciation for the challenges users face. This talk is aimed at people who are tasked with building teams that operate 24×7 cloud services that are critical to their customers’ businesses, but any team that cares about their customers’ success will find that these techniques can be adapted to their domain.

Topics include:

  • Handling support within an engineering team and working with a support organization
  • Managing operations, monitoring, and on-call support
  • Doing product planning and making trade-offs between features and operational work
  • Evolving your project’s architecture over time (and how Heroku’s grew)
  • Working with contractors to supplement your team’s capabilities
Photo of Peter van Hardenberg

Peter van Hardenberg


Peter van Hardenberg was an early employee of Heroku and has seen the organization grow from a dozen people through acquisition and massive scale. During the past six years, Peter has held a wide variety of roles from engineer to senior management. In past lives, Peter was an oceanographer, a Shakespeare scholar, and a game developer.