I attended CITCON 2013 in Sydney last February. This year’s sessions covered more non-technical issues compared to CITCON 2010. Two of the more interesting topics for me were on how devops movement could potentially discourage collaboration, and on how large non-tech companies try and still fail to implement continuous delivery.

Those were some of the problems that I’ve been battling for many years. In an organisation where dev and ops are two separate divisions, devops is often a shortcut for dev to do ops tasks while bypassing any ops involvement. Instead, a better alternative would be for dev and ops teams to collaborate and stop fighting over issues like root access.

As for the second topic, continuous delivery is sometimes not as straightforward as it seems. One major obstacle to continuous delivery implementation is a conservative change management process. No matter how you automate your delivery pipeline along your development, test, and staging environments, it would all be useless if production deployment requires manual approval for the sake of auditing.

Technology is often the easier part, the harder part is on people and policies, on changing a culture, on accepting new ideas.

The best part of CITCON has always been its open space format where ideas/opinions/experiences flow during the discussions. And like most tech conferences, the hallway discussions were not to be missed. The quote-of-the-conf went to Jeffrey Fredrick for pointing out that (my interpretation of what he said) technologists often suck for focusing on the technology to sell to the business (e.g. continuous delivery is awesome), instead of focusing on the business problem and how the technology can solve it (e.g. business problem is time to market, continuous delivery can help).

I also caught up with Michael Neale from CloudBees there, here’s his CITCON 2013 notes, along with some¬†familiar faces from CITCON 2010.