Full-Service Ownership With PagerDuty

Posted on Tuesday, Feb 18, 2020
Scott McAllister and George Miranda, cover practical ways to figure out how to code, ship, and own your own software in production by discussing the Full-Service Ownership Ops Guide

Show Notes

What is an Ops Guide?

George introduces PagerDuty’s Ops Guides: process (not product) manuals that help you figure out how to introduce leading-edge operational models to your teams.

“Ops Guides are something I think are fairly unique for our industry. They’re sorta like a whitepaper, but they’re actually useful. They’re a step-by-step process guide. They’re vendor agnostic. And they’re free open-source frameworks designed to walk you through how to accomplish newer–more modern–types of operational tasks.”

What is a Full-Service Ownership model?

Scott proves he read the guide by describing the concept behind the name.

“It’s when those who build something are responsible for supporting it all through every single stage of its lifecycle. It brings developers and product closer to their customers and it leads you to writing better software.”

Myth Debunking

George mimics an old man yelling at a cloud: this won’t work in my org! Scott takes on software engineers who think being on the hook to support production software means that they’re responsible for fixing everything. George then references an XKCD post to pick on his favorite pet peeve: thinking that running software in production won’t make you a better developer.

“Take this Dev and shove it up your Ops!”

How an Ops Guide works

George discusses how a process guide works. It’s not a mechanical set of steps to follow: it’s a primer that frames the problem and the goal in a specific way so that you can then uncover your specific challenges and make a plan that’s right for you.

“How do we take this audacious marathon goal and figure out how to break it down into steps? When it comes to doing that, the idea isn’t to follow a flow chart—step A, then B, then C—it’s more that you have to think about your organization and your stack in certain ways, and in these vague orders, and that’s what helps you make a real plan for your team vs. this generic thing we’ve written,”

Functional Team Roles

Scott cracks open a discussion on how the framework approach to defining this new pattern might pan out when going between organizations.

“If you use titles with so many presumptions baked into them, you don’t entirely step back to really examine where a function really lives. We shouldn’t put job titles next to that. We should tell you this is what the function should be. We’re just going to describe all the things and then you can decide how to assemble those cross-functional teams inside your own org.”

How to make an Ops Guide your own

We cover how to plug into discussions about the content via Github and where to find the web version.

Brownfield takes on greenfield

A discussion unfolds around why a step-by-step guide to restructuring how teams own their services in production is better for brownfield teams.

“If you have a big monolith—not just a monolithic code base, but a way of operating that’s monolithic in nature—and you want to start breaking that down into smaller components, then this guide is particularly useful.”

Pagey’s Picks

We debut a new show segment: our picks for stuff we’re all about right now.

George - The Good Place on NBC just wrapped up. Go binge that show now. - The secret off-menu Verbena cocktail at the Chandelier Bar in Las Vegas

Scott - The Nickel Boys by Corson Whitehead, a fantastic book with a twist at the end - Disc Golf, Scott’s new therapeutic hobby. Go try it today! - Inventions a rediscovered collaboration album between Matthew Cooper of Eluvium and Mark T. Smith of Explosions in the Sky

Show wrap up


Scott McAllister

Scott McAllister

Scott McAllister is a Developer Advocate for PagerDuty. He has been building web applications in several industries for over a decade. Now he’s helping others learn about a wide range of web technologies. When he’s not coding, writing or speaking he enjoys long walks with his wife, skipping rocks with his kids, and is happy whenever Real Salt Lake can manage a win.

George Miranda

George Miranda

George Miranda is a Community Advocate at PagerDuty, where he helps people improve the ways they run software in production. He made a 20+ year career as a Web Operations engineer at a variety of small dotcoms and large enterprises by obsessively focusing on continuous improvement for people and systems. He now works with software vendors that create meaningful tools to solve prevalent IT industry problems.

George tackled distributed systems problems in the Finance and Entertainment industries before working with Buoyant, Chef Software, and PagerDuty. He’s a trained EMT and First Responder who geeks out on emergency response practices. He owns a home in the American Pacific Northwest, roams the world as a Nomad with his wife and dog, and loves writing speaker biographies that no one reads.