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Santa DevOps

Andrew Fullen
December 24, 2018

Santa DevOps Introduction For many of us, Christmas is a time when projects can slow down a little, when we can focus a little on the finer things of life, or at least catch up on the boxsets on Netflix. Not everyone has it easy at this time of the year! For some it’s the busiest time of year. When the planning for the last 30 or 40 weeks comes together and they have a narrow window to deliver their annual update to the systems. The delivery industry, which is dominated by organisations like Amazon and Aliba, has, for one crucial day of the year, one major competitor that still dominates. This is the story of the unsung heroes of the seasonal delivery industry, the backroom and delivery and developers that make sure Christmas happens. The daily stand-up The elves were late for the stand-up, Santa in his role of scrum master was still updating the Kanban board with the new headings, “naughty”, “nice”, and “done”.  An errant piece of holly had been stuck into the feature backlog. Blitzen, head of operations had his head in the bag of his special oats (sourced from a little distillery in Skye) and the automation consultant hadn’t been seen since he tried to link Jenkins, one of the more senior and more aggressive elves, into the sleigh loading machine. Various motivational posters covered the walls. “Iterate”, “soar like an eagle” and “how to cook venison”. And the clock had just ticked over to December 23rd. “We could go for a MVP?” Mrs. Claus suggested from the safety of the big desk. “MVP!” Shouted Santa. “MVP my….” He managed to avoid putting himself on the naughty list. “We’ve got one day left and the feature list still isn’t ready,” a small voice said “Who said that?” Santa demanded “Me” the little voice said. Santa took a step back. Then another. His belly had been hiding the test team, a crack team of gnomes that had arrived from Zurich only two days before. “Well can you automate it” Santa asked. “We’ve got 24 hours, there’s no time to automate it!” the lead gnome said, clutching his green pointed hat in his hands. “You guys are the test experts, if we don’t get this sorted there’ll be no Christmas and it’ll be all your fault!” Bellowed Santa. The gnomes recoiled, “But you haven’t told us what the product is yet”. “You haven’t told us what good looks like!”, “and we still haven’t selected an automation tool.” “Its toys. How hard can it be to test toys!” Santa’s anger management class subscription had expired some months previously and it showed. “Naughty. Nice. Done. Simples!” Santa had been watching too many adverts recently. “Work harder! Not smarter” Santa bellowed and reached for his bottle of sherry. “You can’t say that”, one of the gnomes cried, “you aren’t holding the candy cane”. There was a muffled sound, possibly caused by a gnome’s hat been pulled down so hard that it reached to the ground. “I want hourly status reports until we are back on track!” Santa stalked away from the meeting. A ball bounced across the office and a small hand moved the ball story to “done” Intermission <cough> Perhaps gentle reader, we will take a step away from Santa and his transformation to DevOps, and instead think of how perhaps we could have helped Santa and his journey away from waterfall? Make 2019 the year of DevOps.


About the author

Head of Technology and Innovation | Sogeti UK
Andrew’s the Head of Technology and Innovation for Sogeti UK, joining the group back in 2009. In this role, he has worked with major clients across government and private sectors. Andrew joined Sogeti UK back in 2009 and is currently the UK’s head of technology and innovation.


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