Engineer for the future of Cloud
June 10-13, 2019
San Jose, CA

How I failed to build a runbook automation system and what I learned

Tim Bonci (Vistaprint)
1:15pm2:00pm Thursday, June 13, 2019
Average rating: ****.
(4.40, 5 ratings)



Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with DevOps or SRE concepts (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Understand how a solution failed and learn from the experience


Our intentions can be good, the technical ability and time may be there, and we’re going to build the thing to make work easier and more productive, allowing everyone to apply their labor to only the most valuable tasks—yet sometimes it’s still not enough. This is a postmortem of a solution that was designed to solve a common operational problem but failed.

Tim Bonci examines the scars and hopefully provides insights into finding and addressing the right problems in the right places that should be broadly useful in building and deploying your own transformational processes and tools. This is particularly relevant to brownfield teams looking for ways to modernize their processes and anyone who struggles with needing humans to change how they work. Tim explains why shifting human processes to computer automation does not always produce the expected results and how treating nonurgent alerts as a work queue is an anti-pattern.

Photo of Tim Bonci

Tim Bonci


Tim Bonci is a lead operations engineer and an IT adrenaline junkie focused on working across teams to enable Vistaprint engineers to deliver software quickly and safely. Tim is passionate about staffing, problem solving, and systems-level thinking. His life before IT was as varied as biotech, broadband engineering, and wine, leading to a jack-of-all-trades approach.