Reflections on Agile Enterprise Rome 2018


I spent the last couple of days at the Agile Enterprise conference in Rome organised by New York Java Special Interest Group (NYJavaSIG) founder Frank Greco. It was a much more intimate event that I’m generally used to, with only thirty-something attendees.

The best part was the ‘ask me anything’ panel of all the speakers at the end, and the best question boiled down to:

I’ve spent the last couple of days learning about microservices, serverless, Kubernetes, service meshes and blockchain – how do I possibly pull all this stuff together into a coherent solution?

My answer was to repeat the advice from Accelerate and suggest that this issue at hand was one of strategy, best approached by first achieving situational awareness using Wardley Mapping. Looking back I should have also referenced Amazon’s practice of ‘working backwards‘ where they start with a press release and FAQ as a way to crystallise what it is they’re planning to do that customers would actually care about.

Frank closed the panel by asking for thoughts on what might be most important over the next 2-3 years, which meant that the last words were gifted to me. Obviously everybody was there to learn about technology, and how new trends are emerging, but my suggestion was to follow the ‘3rd DevOps way’ of ‘continuous learning by experimentation’ by going and trying stuff out. The Istio Katacoda covers a lot of ground for a 10 minute beginner level course – so that was my suggested place to start.

The slides from my presentation ‘Ops and Security in a PaaS and Serverless world’ are on SlideShare (though they probably make little sense without the narrative). It’s the first time that I’ve done such a long presentation (70m), which had the advantage of allowing time for storytelling, though I fear that it asks a lot of an audience to pay attention for so long (especially when most are listening to a live translation).

This was my second trip to Rome, and for the second time I barely saw the place (not helped by some pretty atrocious weather that didn’t really encourage exploration). It’s a city I’d like to see more of, and I was also impressed by the airport (FCO), which rivals Zurich for being clean and efficient.

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