Help a good Ops team be world class

Them: “Dave, what should we do here?”

Past me: “I’m not sure.”

Them: “Should we scale this vertically first?”

Past me: “Maybe?”

Hiring engineers is hard. Finding the right person, at the right time, with the right approach can be a long and grueling process. Sometimes it’s understood we’re not going to be able to find that unicorn who brings a lot of experience with scaling, security, coding, infrastructure, etc. as well as all those other qualities. Also, will we be able to afford them if we do?

I had a lot of early success in my career, but that doesn’t mean I knew what I was doing. I was making it up as I went along, just like everyone else. When I accepted a role as an Architect in Infrastructure Engineering at Salesforce (SFDC) one of the main reasons was to learn from people with more experience than me! Luckily, I was able to learn from some amazing industry leaders. Sometimes I had the right answer, sometimes they gave me a different and better way of looking at both the problem and the solution. It was like having a cheat code to infrastructure and so much of what runs SFDC even today, is built on the solutions we developed during those years.

I had a similar experience running the Solarwinds Cloud teams (Pingdom, Loggly, Paptertrail, etc) starting with a team of 4 and growing that into a globally distributed engineering organization learning from many talented leaders along the way.

With so many companies being started now, in so many industries, and with so much software, it’s really hard to find those experienced people who can help. Most CTOs have a software delivery background, not a service delivery background, and while they’ve probably done a lot of coding, and maybe deployed a lot of things to the cloud, that doesn’t mean they’ve built and scaled large, high-performing infrastructures. Managed offerings from the cloud providers can make things easier to be sure, but as I like to say about Kubernetes, it’s 1000 more knobs you can turn.

The Advisory Retainer

That’s where the Advisory Retainer product comes in. We don’t come in and run your infrastructure. We don’t park “DevOps Engineers” in your Slack rooms and GitHub repos. Instead, we hold regular meetings with your SRE leadership. We get to know your people, your culture, and your infrastructure. Need help with how best to scale that database? Got it. Need help figuring out how to communicate better with data engineering? Check. Need help tweaking the Kanban board so it is more effective or how to improve your incident response procedures? Yes and yes.

We help grow your SRE leaders into informed, professional, world class engineerng leaders. Sign up for a quarter and if your team is happy having SRE coaches, then sign up for another one. We have a limited number of slots available and will happily fill in new companies as existing companies mature and feel like they are ready to move on.

How it works

We will have an initial onboarding meeting to thoroughly understand the particulars and objectives of the technical operations department of the company. These meetings will be at least an hour to get a full understanding of the unique requirements of each client. Companies will provide an Organizational Chart so that the major players can be understood. Companies will provide an architecture diagram so that Peter and Dave can fully understand the architectural considerations. If this is not available, we will help construct it using a private Mural dedicated to your company.

After the initial onboarding:

  • A 30 minute check in meeting every other week
  • A private Slack or Teams channel, with up a limited number of team members from the company
  • A private Mural room for architectural diagrams, brainstorming, discussion topics, etc.
  • A quarterly report to summarize the activity and business benefits during the previous quarter, as well as to solicit feedback about what can be improved about the offering.

Take Advantage

Your competition is always trying to get better. In today’s market, companies don’t win because they use Slack or Teams. Any competitor can buy that with a credit card. Companies give themselves an advantage when they get good at delivering software. All our discussions and advice are performed under strict NDA. If you want your company to be successful, give it something your competitors don’t have. A world class service delivery organization. Talk to us about an advisory retainer.