Global DevOps Bootcamp 2018 recap

Global DevOps Bootcamp 2018 recap

Today was the day of the Global DevOps Bootcamp. And it was a blast. Last evening Central European Time the first teams started their learning journey towards DevOps in New Zealand and Australia and the #gdbc traveled like a wave across the globe.

Buck Hodges introducing the Global DevOps bootcamp and explaining the journey of the @vsts team.

We started out with an introduction by Buck Hodges, explaining that for many DevOps is a journey and that it takes a while to accelerate. I love how the Visual Studio Team Services team can be so open and transparent about their challenges and learning along the way. I've personally learned so much from reading their post-mortems.

Our very own Marcel de Vries took over taking the directions from Buck and turning it into a roadmap for the participants. The Global Devops Bootcamp has challenges for many of the issues that Buck referred to which will allowed the participants to experience these hands-on.

Marcel explaining each challenge and providing guiding directions.

In our venue we had quite a few participants and many didn't yet know each other. Organizing random groups into teams is something we encounter a lot when delivering scrum training, so we let Self-Organisation perform its magic. While it may feel a bit chaotic, it yields quick results and gives people a chance to self-select who they want to learn from.

With the teams assembled people got serious. Builds to succeed, releases to release, monitoring to arrange and especially a lot of things to learning!

Collaboration happened almost instantly. It's amazing what a common goal and a good backlog can accomplish!

Some wonderful observations:

  • Since the primary reason for the event is learning, people are collaborating a lot. Working together behind a single machine and putting their common goal above individual accomplishments. It helps the teams launch so much more quickly and they're accomplishing so much more together!
  • Since each venue is virtually competing with other venues, we had the best team help out the one that were going a bit slower. The "system" somehow automatically became more important than the individual team or their team members.
  • With enough mixed skills in the room, no challenge seems to hard. While teams could request help or even a step-by-step guide, very few did. They didn't need to :D.
Sharing is caring, truly earning the learning

Knowledge sharing is an important part of any tech culture, during the mid-sprint review tips and tricks were exchanged, accomplishments shared and it was interesting to see that different teams had come to different solutions for the same problems. This just goes to show that there may be multiple roads that lead to Rome.

When things break, help is always nearby! Please... please... please... may the next build succeed ;).

As with any event, not everything went 100% right, I think we learned a lot as organizers as well and while the participants may not have really noticed it, our own build servers have been churning too, pushing out updates to the leader board and the help-system in the background.

Red-alert! DevOps in progress!

Organizers kept in touch over a busy slack channel in the background where tips and tricks, tricks and workarounds were shared whenever an issue was encountered.

Tips shared between venues

Of course waiting for the build to complete allows you to learn some wonderful skills, we have limited hosted agents available, so the build and release times were quickly raising.

Source: xkcd compiling (

Empowered teams can solve this themselves, also in real-life. It's wonderful when you can provision your own agents, (temporary) test environments and request the extensions you need. You can clearly see that some of us have lived in organisations where that wasn't possible. Where else will you learn how to make shadow puppets?

Shadow puppetry talents. A skill learned while waiting for builds to complete and machines to provision themselves.

Thanks to René, Marcel, Rob, Geert, Kees, Sander, Mathias, Brian, Buck, Peter, Microsoft,, Xebia, Solidify, DuoMyth, Xpirit the League of Extraordinary Devops Cloud Advocates and all of the MVP's world wide contributing to the this great event.

Thank you!

It's almost time for the final demonstrations and then time for a glass of wine or beer and a small snack.

Final presentations

And time for the United States to wake up to start their journey and another 8 hours before Vancouver and Seattle have the honer to finish this wonderful wave!


Team Xpirit Hilversum

We hope to see you all next year! And if you've missed it, the labs are available for yourself to try in your own time.