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

Rock stars, builders, and janitors: You're doing it wrong

Alice Goldfuss (New Relic)
1:15pm–1:55pm Thursday, 06/23/2016
First time at Velocity Santa Clara, Organizational optimization
Location: Ballroom GH Level: Non-technical
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 13 ratings)

You know these roles: the rock star, who is always rolling out a new demo or installing a new technology in your stack; the builder, who makes it reliable and makes it scale; the janitor, who cleans up all your messes, writes your docs, and tweaks your configs. Grow an engineering team to a certain size, and these roles reveal themselves and cement themselves into your processes.

You come to rely on these roles and the people who fill them. And that’s bad.

Yes, rock stars get the spotlight, while builders toil away in the background, and janitors are forgotten. But it’s not all about glory. Pigeonholing engineers hurts everyone and can slow down your engineering organization in the long run. If you’re only a rock star, you’ll never understand scale or user experience. If you’re only a builder, you’ll never learn to write clean configs or care about future use cases. If you’re only a janitor, you’ll never appreciate change or technical growth. You need to be all three to succeed.

Photo of Alice Goldfuss

Alice Goldfuss

New Relic

Alice Goldfuss is a site reliability engineer at New Relic, where she spends her days wading through containers, comforting servers, and performing dark sacrifices to the network tier. You can find her on Twitter ranting about feminism or trying to kidnap every cat she meets.