Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Jamie Madison, Dalibor Siroky, PagerDuty Blog, Stackify Blog, Matt Lonstine

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Loops On Loops: How Feedback Enables Improvement By @JasonHand | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps

The volume and frequency of errors in data increase conversely with the path size and time in which it passes

Loops On Loops: How Feedback Enables Improvement
By Jason Hand

We all remember the game from our childhood where one person whispers a phrase to the person directly next to them, who in turn shares the phrase with the following person in line. This continues through a group of people until it makes its way back to the original source. The game went by many names: Telephone, Grapevine, and Operator, among others.

16214699701_55072899bb_z

The point of this exercise was primarily to demonstrate how easily information can become corrupted by a lengthy path through which it passes. Minor and major alterations to the information occur naturally, and in some cases intentionally, as details and facts associated with information are diluted by way of indirect communication with the original source.

Rarely was the original phrase provided back to the source and it was clear that the more people the information passed through, lengthening the loop, the more errors were inevitably introduced.

Another more obvious but important observation from this exercise is that the time in which it takes for information to return to the originating source varies greatly and increases with each new point in which the information must pass through.

In short, the volume and frequency of errors in data increase conversely with the path size and time in which it passes.

Feedback loops are used in every industry and social science. A common example used to illustrate complex systems and the way in which we manage them through feedback is the O.O.D.A. Loop first developed by US Air Force Colonel John Boyd.

OODALoop

Adopted and utilized far beyond military operations, the O.O.D.A. Loop helps us to simplify and understand the process in which we make decisions in a recurring cycle. Through observation, orientation, decision, and action, huge advantages are gained regardless of the context in which decisions are being made.

Continuous Improvement
Agile and DevOps principles teach us that removing friction in our processes and communications is a critical component to success in modern software delivery. Shortening feedback loops allow for quicker responses to situations as well as a reduction in opportunities for errors in data.

Shortening the time and steps is the most efficient and thorough way to truly understand if our choices are facilitating and encouraging the desired impact. Companies that have found a competitive advantage know the secret of shortened feedback loops very well. Not only have they adopted the principles of Agile and DevOps within their IT teams, but throughout the organization. It’s part of an ongoing effort towards continuous improvement.

Today’s best practices quickly become outdated as new processes and tools become available and mature. There are many contributing factors, both positive and negative, that emerge as technology and ideas evolve over time. Much of this is a result of trial and error. Embracing the feedback loop allows us to respond, learn, and improve from those factors, which in turn allows us to innovate our own products and services.

No More Waterfalls
Waterfall planning and delivery methods where software releases take place in long cycles are no longer acceptable. The demands of competition and innovation require much shortened cycles for every phase of the process. The goal of the waterfall approach is to structure everything such that the schedule, scope, and resources can be determined upfront.

Unfortunately, this approach means companies can’t respond quickly. When the needs of customers or the landscape of markets inevitably change, IT teams aren’t equipped to receive that feedback and immediately apply it to new decisions and choices. There is no way to self-correct other than by throwing out an immense amount of planning and work only to start from scratch.

Human Feedback Through a Systems Thinking Lens
Feedback doesn’t take place only within systems. Verbal and non-verbal communication between co-workers, partners, and customers are other forms of feedback. Looking at that feedback through a systems lens is a far more accurate method of evaluation. By taking a step back and examining the feedback and data we receive, we can understand it much clearer. It has a unique ability to move us away from needless judgement while also enhancing accountability.*

There are three main questions to ask in order to accomplish this:

  1. Are differences between the giver and receiver creating friction for the feedback?
  2. Is the feedback partly related to the differing roles between giver and receiver as it relates to the common system?
  3. Are processes, policies, physical environment, or other factors within the system reinforcing problems with the feedback?

Examining feedback in this manner allows for a deeper understanding of the information flowing to and from the human inputs and outputs. By allowing ourselves to view feedback through a Systems Thinking model, we can begin to look for patterns, understand the feedback loop with more accuracy, and identify contributing factors to both failure and success. Emotions are removed and the data is examined in its truest form, further enhancing our ability to know, understand, and eventually learn.

These ideas are a big reason why so many high-performing IT teams have adopted blameless postmortems. Understanding the events that took place during a disruption from a Systems Thinking model provides a much higher return, not to mention a large sample of possible improvements to be made.

PathToLearning

Learning & Innovation
The inevitability of failure has a unique ability to absolve us from the effort of trying to engineer failure out of systems. Because of this, we now design for failure, optimize for a reduction in Time To Repair, and build in feedback loops that prevent us from aimlessly hunting for a root cause of a disruption. From that, we can use divergent thinking to guide our decisions and choices on what to do next to improve the reliability and resilience of our systems. And the by-product of all of that, is a highly available system built, maintained, and continuously improved by high-performing IT teams.

Rather than intervention or eradication of problems, repair becomes the aim and the feedback loops taking us from certainty to uncertainty and back again are what guides our trajectory. Instead of explaining what went wrong, we use the opportunity of failure to seek out many possible creative areas of improvement. Prediction is removed completely and replaced with a new idea of “build for failure”, which in turn leads to improvements and advancements in our own processes, tools, and eventually the service we provide.

Continually processing and responding to feedback (including failure) allows us to use information about previous outcomes to guide our actions of the future. Rather than speculating about the future conditions, we can leverage opportunities to learn as a vehicle to form a new trajectory, correcting our path along the way.

As builders and maintainers of complex systems we must take great effort to shorten feedback loops. Output from one system, event, or customer is used to influence input and action to the same and related sources. The quicker we can receive the information to guide our decisions and choices, the better our processes, tools, systems, and services become.

* Source: Identify The Relationship System – Take Three Steps Back (“Thanks For The Feedback” – Stone & Heen)

The post Loops On Loops: How Feedback Enables Improvement appeared first on VictorOps.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By VictorOps Blog

VictorOps is making on-call suck less with the only collaborative alert management platform on the market.

With easy on-call scheduling management, a real-time incident timeline that gives you contextual relevance around your alerts and powerful reporting features that make post-mortems more effective, VictorOps helps your IT/DevOps team solve problems faster.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.