4–7 Nov 2019
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Cultivating production excellence: Taming complex distributed systems

Liz Fong-Jones (Honeycomb)
11:3512:15 Thursday, 7 November 2019
Location: Hall A4
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 4 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Engineering and ops managers, directors, VPs, and tech leads




Taming the complex distributed systems you’re responsible for requires changing not just the tools and technical approaches you use, it also requires changing who’s involved in production, how they collaborate, and how you measure success.

Liz Fong-Jones explains practices core to production excellence: giving everyone a stake in production, collaborating to ensure observability, measuring with service-level objectives, and prioritizing improvements using risk analysis. Successful long-term approaches to production ownership and DevOps require cultural change in the form of production excellence. Teams are more sustainable if they have well-defined measurements of reliability, the capability to debug new problems, a culture that fosters spreading knowledge, and a proactive approach to mitigating risk. While tools can play a part in supporting a reliable system, culture and people are the most important investment.

Without a mature observability and collaboration practice, a system will crumble under the weight of technical debt and falter no matter how many people and how much money is ground into the gears of the machine. The leadership of engineering teams must be responsible for creating team structures and technical systems that can sustainably serve user needs and the health of the business.

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Experience writing software and running it in production

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to make complex distributed systems humanely manageable with appropriate reliability targets, tools, culture, and process
Photo of Liz Fong-Jones

Liz Fong-Jones


Liz Fong-Jones is a developer advocate, labor and ethics organizer, and site reliability engineer (SRE) with 15+ years of experience at Honeycomb. Previously, she was an SRE working on products ranging from the Google Cloud Load Balancer to Google Flights. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife, metamours, and a Samoyed/Golden Retriever mix, and in San Francisco and Seattle with her other partners. She plays classical piano, leads an EVE Online alliance, and advocates for transgender rights as a board member of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
  • Cloudflare
  • JFrog
  • Akamas
  • Aqua Security Software
  • Fastly
  • Google
  • Instana
  • JetBrains
  • LaunchDarkly
  • LightStep
  • OVHcloud
  • SignalFx
  • VictorOps
  • Wayfair
  • Blameless
  • Chronosphere
  • FusionReactor
  • humanitec
  • replex GmbH
  • StackState
  • Datadog
  • GitLab
  • Gremlin
  • StormForger
  • SysEleven GmgH
  • Vamp.io

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