Resolving 2020 With the PagerDuty Community Team

Posted on Tuesday, Dec 15, 2020
Ready to resolve 2020? So are we! Today we’re talking about how 2020 went for us and our team - laughs, lessons, and thoughts.

Transcript

Julie Gunderson: Welcome to Page It to the Limit, a podcast where we explore what it takes to run software in production successfully. We will cover leading practices used in the software industry to improve both system reliability and the lives of the people supporting those systems. I’m your host, Julie Gunderson, @Julie_Gund on Twitter. We have multiple show hosts for this episode today. I’m also joined by…

Mandi Walls: Mandi Walls, LNXCHK on Twitter.

Quintessence Anx: Quintessence Anx, @QuintessenceAnx on Twitter.

Scott McAllister: And Scott McAllister @stmcallister on Twitter.

Julie Gunderson: Today, we thought we would do something that would make us all happy. We’re going to wrap 2020. That’s right. We are going to end this fabulous year finally with an episode of Page It to the Limit because as we all know, 2020, it’s been a hard year. Everything we have done has changed the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we live our lives has changed. So we’re hoping that with this episode, we will be able to put a nice little bow on this year and put it on a shelf and move on to 2021.

Julie Gunderson: We wanted to start by talking about some of the things we’ve learned this past year. Our team has gone through quite a few changes. We’ve seen some members of our team depart and they have awesomely come back and done some Page It to the Limit episodes with us. So you can see the one with Matt Stratton or George Miranda at pageittothelimit.com. We’ve welcomed two new team members, Mandi and Quinn. Welcome to our team.

Quintessence Anx: Thank you, Julie.

Julie Gunderson: We wanted to talk a little bit about what we’ve learned over this past year because it’s been so much fun. So Scott, I’m going to turn it over to you.

Scott McAllister: Yeah, 2020. Man, this has been quite the year. I have learned so much on my own personal levels, just in my house alone. I already worked from home. I mean, all of us as a team, we’re distributed, we work from home, but now I work at home with everybody at home, and I have four kids, three of which are in school. We’re all on the same internet connection. That doesn’t work very well. We’ve had to get multiple routers and all sorts of things. My daughter is in a class where on zoom. One of the kids last week was like, “Oh, Hey, there’s a bear on my back porch. Yeah, we live in the woods.” So it’s stuff that we just remember is just fascinating.

Scott McAllister: What I love about the podcast this year, though, was the content that we had that was industry specific, but also timely, and I’ll probably mention it a lot today in today’s episode, but the one with George Miranda talking about self care, that one has struck a chord with me. I’ve honestly listened to that one multiple times, thought about it a lot, and I know it’s resonated with a lot of people, and I love the fact that we should honestly take care of ourselves. That’s the number one.

Scott McAllister: We need to make sure that we’re good, and then the people around us that we care about that they’re good. And then as we go along in our lives and we’re on these zoom meetings and we see the various tiles, or we see the various assignments or tasks may or may not get done, we need to have grace for ourselves, for our coworkers because we honestly don’t know what’s going on outside of that tile, and for a lot of us, there’s a lot going on. My house has a lot of people in it. I haven’t been alone more than five times since March, but then we have other people who haven’t had people around them a lot of times since March. So that’s a lot of things to talk about, but the thoughts that I’ve had for 2020, those are the ones that kind of come to mind first.

Julie Gunderson: What about you, Mandi? I mean, you are the newest person on the team having been here since June 8th. So you’re a seasoned veteran now. What are your thoughts?

Mandi Walls: Yeah, I mean, that whole thing has been crazy. I am definitely one of the people who hasn’t had anybody around. I live by myself. We’re recording this on my one-year anniversary of moving into this house. I am kind of new to my neighborhood, and then all of a sudden we were on lockdown. So I don’t really know my neighbors that well, I don’t know anything else about what the neighborhood usually does. Is there a block party in the summer? Evidently not because we’re all locked down in COVID. So the whole conversation with your community, your neighbors and your real life people around you is completely different, and so I really depend on interacting with all my coworkers and meeting new people online because we don’t get to go to events anymore and meet up with all of our old friends at different companies and things like that.

Mandi Walls: So the whole thing has been, oh, it’s been incredibly weird, and changing jobs in the middle of a pandemic, it went okay. I don’t know if I’d recommend it. I still haven’t met everybody in person. I think the last time I saw Julie in person was three or four, maybe five years ago, and everybody else, I’ve either not met them in person or it’s been longer than that. So the whole thing has been just absolutely completely bonkers, and watching folks acclimate to being remote has been fun. You pop into a meeting with someone new, and they’ve got a SpongeBob background in their zoom, and I’m like, “Who are you? And what are we talking about with the SpongeBob? I’m not sure what’s going on there.” Yeah, it’s been an adventure to say the least.

Scott McAllister: That’s something I’ve loved about the fact that we’ve all kind of become more casual in the sense of we’re actually getting to know people a little bit, I think, right? We see the SpongeBob backgrounds, or we hear the dog or the cat or the kids or the whatever going on, and before, at least for me, I used to be super high strung. Like, “You got to be quiet, I’m on of meeting,” but now it’s life. We all understand that we’re all in our own situations. I’ve actually really liked that. That’s one of the things I’ve liked.

Mandi Walls: I love how many people actually make their beds. If they’re joining a meeting from their bedroom and a desk is in their bedroom and they actually make the bed like, thank you. That’s amazing.

Scott McAllister: So true. And yes, I actually do look for that, too.

Julie Gunderson: Quinn, how about you? You started on May the fourth, which I know is one of your favorite things to say.

Quintessence Anx: It is.

Julie Gunderson: What’s it been like for you joining a new team?

Quintessence Anx: Well, it’s kind of similar to Mandi because I joined the month before, and so I also changed jobs in pandemic. And then for other reasons, I had the brilliant notion that I should buy a house and move as well. Part of that wasn’t entirely random. I mean, in normal days, DevRels travel a lot and I was like, “Oh, Hey, I’m grounded long enough that I can make it through open houses that are actually closed,” if you get what I mean, to get this accomplished where I wouldn’t have been able to before. There’s a lot of isolation because also similar to Mandi, I’m flying solo right now. It’s me and Kitty and my mantis shrimp. Google the mantis shrimp. And we’re just hanging out and having…

Scott McAllister: So scary.

Quintessence Anx: They’re not scary. They’re amazing, glorious creatures that can super cavitate water. Now they’re definitely Googling the mantis shrimp. On the positive side of quarantine, if you have a corn bubble with your favorite friend, you can deepen some friendships, but on the downside that corn bubble better be real tiny because you don’t want to risk any of that, and kind of to the point of what people are talking about being in people’s homes, as someone who gets interested in the advocacy space, and I don’t mean that in the tactical sense, I mean that in the inclusion sense.

Quintessence Anx: You’re in people’s homes when they’re maybe not ready for that situation either because their living situation is crowded, four roommates in a one bedroom and Manhattan or something, or if it’s an insecure situation or whatever. So it’s just really important to be kind and gracious to our we-were-not-working-from-home-prior-to-this comrades. Those are my primary thoughts of the dumpster fire that is 2020. I did, in order to commemorate 2020 yesterday, buy an ornament to hang from my door wreath that is toilet paper and a mask.

Scott McAllister: Well done.

Julie Gunderson: And a link to that will be in the show notes for anybody that needs that because we all do.

Scott McAllister: Absolutely.

Julie Gunderson: I have to say for me, 2020 has been interesting because on one hand, being grounded has been great because my son is a senior. He’s just informed me that he’s going to go off to Alabama for college, which is very far away from Idaho where I live. So I’m really excited that I get to spend this time with him and be home, and on the other hand, I’ve been home and quarantined with the teenager. So there’s that, but to go back to what Scott said, Scott, I know your kids. I mean, not just because before the whole quarantine happened, you were able to come through Boise and some of the members of the team were able to meet them, but because they’ve joined us on calls or popped in in the back, or we made those delicious Brazilian treats with your entire family, and that’s been amazing.

Julie Gunderson: I feel like I make Joey say hi to all of you when he’s whispering something at my door, and so we have gotten to know each other on such a different level, and I kind of hope that one thing that we take with us when we all go back to ideally a normal world, is that we remember that we’re all human and that we have families and that we have things. This has been a tough year for me health-wise. I’ve had a couple of things that have gone on on top of the pandemic with that, and I count myself truly blessed to because PagerDuty my manager, my team. Having people that you can rely on at your job that will help take care of you and not make you feel terrible for having life happen, I think has helped me get through this year.

Julie Gunderson: So it’s been strange. I think it’s been strange for everybody out there, and we’ve had the opportunity to talk with lots of customers, lots of customers this year. As a matter of fact, I think I’ve given more presentations at conferences this year and at customer conferences and meetings with customers than ever before because one thing about being grounded, I don’t have to spend all that time in the airport to fly to Florida for a two hour meeting and then fly home to Boise. Just to let everybody out there know there are no direct flights. So it’s a lot of time, but with that, I mean, we’ve covered a lot of awesome things on Page It to the Limit, and I think all of our topics have kind of really varied this year, and Scott, you mentioned the episode, the one with George Miranda, and that was a really meaningful episode. Do you want to chat about that?

Scott McAllister: Yeah. I loved that episode, especially for the fact that George basically opened up and not that George was a particularly closed person, but we all keep our lives … we have the boundaries we set and that we want to let people in and certain people in, but George felt that he needed to share a little bit more about his life, and he shared it on the podcast. I mean, we’ve all had some struggles in 2020. I think George has had more than me, absolutely. And he was a great example of how to handle it, but also understanding that he can share his experience with others so that he can help the rest of us understand how we can handle the trials that happen. I mean, life continues to go on no matter if there’s a pandemic, no matter if there’s not, we still have life to chug through.

Scott McAllister: So that’s an episode that’s definitely stuck out to me and that, again, has kind of affected me, and I think it’s affected other people. There were other episodes that I also found enlightening. One of them was with Emil Stolarsky and Jaime Woo of Incident Labs. They came on and spoke about post-incident reviews, which on our team, we call them postmortems, but on many other teams you call them whatever you want, except for …

Mandi Walls: Root cause analysis!

Scott McAllister: There ya go. Well done, Mandi. So what I loved about theirs was how universal it was to review incidents. They were inspired by post-incident reviews. They created their own zine for it, where they collected various post-incident reviews from various industries, and they were inspired from the climbing industry or for the climbing culture. They were actually inspired because the climbing in climbing, they release, I forgot and I’m getting a struggle with the actual name of it, but they release a report of climbing accidents every year. If you can think of mountain climbing and think of an accident enough to write about it, what probably happened?

Scott McAllister: Not very good things in that person’s life, but the thing is is they, the people in the climbing community, find that so valuable because now they understand, “Oh, in these circumstances with these conditions and these tools, this person made this decision, and this is what happened, and it ended very poorly for them, maybe even ultimately ended for them.” And so by learning and seeing the learnings that happen with that, they took that and applied it to collecting post-incident reviews of folks in the software industry or the tech industry, because some of them are in hardware and things like that. Other examples were in space. I learned all about A, that Emil Stolarsky is obsessed with space, but B, that there were some crazy incidents that happened with various space programs and why they do certain things nowadays because of the incidents that have happened with various launches and whatnot.

Scott McAllister: I could go on and on about different episodes, but I don’t want to take up the whole time. So what are some other episodes that stuck out to you folks?

Julie Gunderson: To go off of yours, we did something special this year where we did these 15 minute episodes with speakers that were speaking at PagerDuty summit, and one of mine was with Connie Lynn Villani who’s over at Fastly, And she talked about approaching incident response compassionately. And I liked that because it kind of goes to the blamelessness that we talk about and how you learn from your incident response and how, again, it’s not a root cause, but contributing factors, and that’s something we love to drive home.

Julie Gunderson: Here on our team, even though not everybody in the industry accepts it, or sometimes you have to talk in terms that people understand, although I just can’t handle saying root cause. It’s tough, but she talked a lot about the language that we use in incidents and how there are words that are trigger words for people and that make them feel blame, and I think that we’ve seen this now worldwide, especially in the United States where people are starting to pay attention to their words a lot more because they really, really understand the weight that words carry. One of my other favorite episodes was with J Paul Reed and Mandi, and Mandi, I’ll let you talk about that one a little bit, the socio-technical systems.

Mandi Walls: Yeah. One of the interesting things, especially talking with J Paul Reed is that now that he’s at Netflix, especially the beginning of all the pandemic stuff, everybody was really relying on Netflix as an escape from everything that was going on, and that was the water cooler discussion. At my previous job, we did a meet your team, but we did a lip sync to Eye of the Tiger with Tiger King. The whole thing that just sort of emerges from all that, and for the consumer, you kind of forget that there’s an entire army of people behind the scenes there running all the systems, keeping everything going, and they’re getting fatigued.

Mandi Walls: J Paul talked about opening an incident for COVID, and they let it run for weeks before really embracing that this is now normal. This is not necessarily an incident in the way that you’re thinking about something happens. You fix it, you solve it, you talk about it and it’s done, and everything sort of continues to catch up on us, I think, with everything that’s still going on, and that’s been interesting across, I think everybody that we’ve really talked to is the whole part of the year has just changed so many things for so many people.

Mandi Walls: Teams that we’re probably never going to go remote, companies that didn’t even consider having remote employees were suddenly figuring out, “Oh my gosh, we need to beef up the VPN. We need to figure out the conference calling. We have to put all these additional components together and really leaning on their technical staff to do that, and I think it put a lot of pressure on a lot of folks, and it’s a struggle all around, and it’s a once in a lifetime chance to reinvent what you’re doing and changing everything around, but at the same time, your off-camera life kind of your off-zoom life is a wild mess for a lot of people. So the difference in the stress and how people interact with all the socio-technical systems and all that stuff is really a different kind of burden on a lot of folks.

Julie Gunderson: That goes into something Quinn was talking about the other day, about how the type of work has changed because not all work converts to remote well. Do you want to tell us more about that? It was a fun conversation.

Quintessence Anx: Sure. So I was thinking about it primarily in the DevRel context because that’s what was bringing up the conversation, but when we think about it, at least in our industry, developer advocacy, evangelism, et cetera, we talk a lot about how we used to talk to y’all right in the faces and of hallway track that kind of doesn’t really exist anymore and just these other very high social engagements, and some of that translates to virtual in the sense that we spin up zoom and we can see your faces sort of, but some of it really doesn’t. When you think about trying to do a replacement, like when you have a recipe and you need to do substitutions or you’re doing gluten-free baking instead of regular, whatever, some things translate, and when we’re translating this work, some of the work just doesn’t pivot, and you have to redefine what it actually even means.

Quintessence Anx: So sticking to the example I already gave with events, you can broadcast and live stream of conference. You cannot easily … Yeah, I’m going to say it like that. You cannot easily recreate any sort of bond between the participants of that live stream. You can create chats, you can do … I’m just going to call up Dev upstate Chicago. They did a really good job at really getting very close because of the way that they had their firesides, the way that they did their videos, the way that they put their Q&A sessions, right after the speaker sessions and things like that.

Quintessence Anx: They did a really good job at getting really close, but in general, you’re going to have a hard time getting participants to engage because realistically, at an on-prem conference, you’re at the conference, attending the conference, you might be responding to that notification or an outage, if that’s your day job, but realistically you’re there. Whereas now, we might be streaming a conference, especially if you work solo, like I do. You might be streaming a conference in the background, right? It’s your secondary concern to kind of take up the void of being in your own house, apartment, whatever your situation is, and so compensating for that and getting your attention doesn’t translate well.

Quintessence Anx: Certain roles don’t translate very well either because especially again, these high social engagement roles, we don’t respond well to digital noise, and so when you start to in-person sales marketing, et cetera, when you start to transfer in-person conversations to digital, the brain does start to say, “This is noisy.” And it starts to filter it out. It’s harder to get your attention, the perception as a user, when you get the more spammy emails and whatever is spammy, right? It doesn’t feel like, “Hey, I’m trying to gently get your attention for a conversation.” It feels very pushy almost because now you’re competing with everyone else who’s doing the same thing.

Quintessence Anx: It’s really hard to start to make that pivot, and also because everything is switching to exactly one or two ways of doing, we’re all kind of sick of it, right? Raise your hands if you’re listening to this podcast and you want to attend to zoom right now. Anyone? I don’t have to see you. I know we’re recording. I don’t have to see you. I know that there’s easily half of you that are just done. Right? So in that sense things don’t translate well either because even if you can get it to do a direct translation, people don’t want to do it anymore.

Julie Gunderson: Yeah, and I think we’ve seen that, too, with a lot of the conversations we’ve been having just around incident response, why it’s actually important to have a framework nowadays because everybody can’t get in the conference room. I mean, we had a conference room in the San Francisco office where people could get together for those in that war room, and that’s not there anymore.

Julie Gunderson: And another thing I think that we’re seeing nationwide is that people are scattering. They now have the ability to move somewhere else like, I don’t know, say Idaho where a lot of people seem to be moving because they’re not stuck in cities that might be very expensive or they’re moving closer to family. So I think that we have been hearing a lot about the importance of just having some frameworks in place, especially when communicating across incidents and that response process.

Julie Gunderson: So I know that I feel like I spent a lot of 2020 talking to people about incident response and why it’s an important process. I’m going to throw a little cog out here, but let’s talk about the elephant in the room, productivity. I feel like at the beginning of this whole everybody’s working from home, I feel like I was like super 150%, 175% productive, and now it’s months later. Keeping those productivity levels up, seems to be a little bit more taxing, and I know that we had the benefit of hearing from someone over at the New York Stock Exchange. She did mention that productivity is dropping in organizations, and I’m curious if you all are kind of hearing that same thing, or if you’re just feeling the weight of working at home. Quinn, what do you think?

Quintessence Anx: I agree a hundred percent and it all has to do, or mostly has to do with what your stress response is. Right? So people who work really well in isolation are probably killing it right now. The ones that are like, “Why didn’t you start your fifth Kickstarter startup business?” And we hate them a little because they’re a small percentage of the population, and then the rest of us are like the days bleed together, and it’s like you spend more time investing in getting the project done for not the same level of output because your days, your evenings and your whole life is kind of bleeding together in this pool, as opposed to having separated, this is work focused time or meeting time or whatever it is, and then this is home time and this is family time, if that’s something that’s happening for you and so forth.

Quintessence Anx: Things used to have boundaries. They were bounded by geography, bounded by time, and now they’re just not. Sometimes I’ll get inspiration for an idea late at night and I’ll just be like, “I wasn’t so productive today. So I guess maybe I should do it anyway.” And I’m like, “Oh. Ah.” Right? Because it doesn’t feel great when you feel your productivity dropping, and you don’t have good compensation either.

Quintessence Anx: I don’t know, Scott and Mandi, what you think of this, but when I was working from home prior to the pandemic, when it was normal, I would just socialize after because you could go see friends and not be afraid of getting them sick or their kids sick. So I have friends with little kids that I play with that I don’t anymore, that I try to zoom with, but they’re five and three. They don’t really understand what’s going on, but I don’t know. What do you all think about not being able to offload, Mandi?

Mandi Walls: Yeah. I think I’ve worked remote or partially remote for a long time, and it is different now. Right? It was one thing at the F at the sort of the beginning of, of all of this. Everybody’s sort of learning how to adjust to all remote and figuring out all their things and what’s most comfortable and buying new furniture for their home office or whatever they were doing, but I think the hardest thing has been as it continues. Is it Monday? Is it Thursday? Does it matter? Everything just kind of runs together, and there’s no longer any punctuation to time. There’s no era. There’s no capstone to a week. I’ve been struggling with giving myself some kind of weekly things that I do just to mark time because otherwise, I don’t know.

Mandi Walls: I live here by myself. I don’t get to see my parents because they’re several hundred miles away in another state, and I’m not traveling or going anywhere or doing anything. So I’ve started creating these little rituals for myself so that I know that today is Wednesday, and I’m going to do X, Y, or Z just to know what day it is. And then for work stuff, I’ve definitely fallen back into using Pomodoro, that kind of technique, making myself work for 35, 45 minutes of an hour, and then like taking a break and wandering around the house a little bit and then coming back to it, just work to the timer to give myself intentional focus because it’s not just the pandemic. It’s everything else, and doom scrolling, Twitter is a full-time job. That is no longer a sideline. That is something that you need to be doing eight hours a day at least. Right? So yeah, just crazy time. What about you, Julie? What are you working on?

Julie Gunderson: Well, vacation. Taking vacation is so hard because you’ve got vacation and you want to take it, but where are you going to go? I’ve already watched almost everything on Netflix that I feel is great, which just to go back to one of the things J Paul Reed said is if you are looking for a series to come back or a season two, please tweet at him and he will personally make sure that happens. He did kind of make some promise within our episode, Mandi.

Mandi Walls: He did.

Julie Gunderson: But vacation. So it’s really hard, and at PagerDuty, they’re really, really good about, “Are you taking vacation? Are you taking vacation?” I’m trying to do things like take an extra day and make a long weekend because at least it breaks it up a little when there’s nowhere to go because I’ve started doing a lot of crafts, but that’s adding up in cost. If I take a lot of time off of work and then I end up with a lot of half done crafts, I oftentimes post the things I’m working on on Twitter.

Quintessence Anx: They’re awesome, by the way.

Julie Gunderson: Oh, thank you. One thing, though that I’ve noticed and Scott, I’m going to call you out from a little bit of calendar stalking because I see you’ve got something on your calendar now. I see you doing something really cool, which is taking some planned time out during the day to do things with your family, and I did stalk your calendar a little bit, and I think you have a bike ride coming up today, and I love that.

Scott McAllister: It’s one of the things to continue on what we’ve been saying here is that I need to be deliberate with things, with breaks, with times with my kids because if I’m not everything blends together. Even as Mandi was talking, I had to check the date at the top of my screen to be like, “What day is today? Oh, it’s a Tuesday. Yeah. All right, got it.” Couldn’t have told you otherwise, and I’ve learned that by being deliberate, I also need to be deliberate with the things that are important to me. I mean, my job is important to me, but my kids and my family are, as well. And so it’s not like they chose to be in a pandemic. It’s not like they chose to be at home online at a screen all day, just like dad is.

Scott McAllister: So trying to find opportunities to mix things up, having the weekly rituals, we try to do a bike ride every week if we can. We’re outside Seattle. So the weather usually lets us do it as long as you don’t mind riding in the rain. I mean, let’s be honest, none of us melt in the rain. So get a rain jacket and go out in it. I mean, it’s really how most of Seattle takes it. So yeah, I think just being deliberate about taking our breaks, understanding that during the day, you’re going to need some time to get up and walk around the house and to look out the window and not really think about anything for a second because sometimes that’s just what I need to do. Sometimes I just need to walk around the block by myself or with my wife or with one of my kids or something, but be deliberate about that because if you don’t, you burn out fast.

Scott McAllister: And I think with this, with the productivity, with my productivity, when I look at myself, I think that’s what’s happening is that it’s this stressful situation that doesn’t have a defined end, and so it just keeps going. We garner up all the energy to do our best in the short amount of time, and then we just started losing steam, and so then we got to stop, put it down, take a break, walk away, go for a mountain bike ride in the middle of the day, but then come back and be rejuvenated and just be patient. Be patient with yourself. I’ve had to learn to be more patient with myself with my various output levels and things of that nature. So yeah, just be more deliberate is kind of the lesson I’ve been learning this year.

Julie Gunderson: Scott, I think that is probably the lesson that we could leave everybody with. Be deliberate. Have empathy. Take some time for yourself, everything that we’ve all talked about today. And so for those of you out there listening, hopefully we can all pretend that we’re going to wrap 2020, and 2021, January 1st, is going to bring in all new, amazing things, and let’s keep that hope. Let’s also keep washing our hands and wearing masks and trying to treat each other with empathy and understanding and being deliberate with what we do.

Julie Gunderson: Don’t forget to join us at communitydotpagerduty.com, where we can continue the conversation. We love chatting with people in there. You don’t have to be a PagerDuty customer to be in there. Join us in the community. Keep up these conversations, and with that, I really want to thank everybody for joining us today.

Scott McAllister: This has been a lot of fun, Julie. Thanks a lot, and this is Scott McAllister.

Quintessence Anx: And Quintessence Anx.

Mandi Walls: And Mandi Walls.

Julie Gunderson: And Julie Gunderson, And we’re wishing you an uneventful 2021.

Julie Gunderson: That does it for another installment of Page It to the Limit. We’d like to thank our sponsor, PagerDuty, for making this podcast possible. Remember to subscribe to this podcast if you liked what you’ve heard. You can find our show notes at pageittothelimit.com, and you can reach us on Twitter at pageit2thelimit, using the number two. That’s at pageit2thelimit. Let us know what think of this show. Thank you so much for joining us, and remember, uneventful days are beautiful days.

Show Notes

For a full transcript of this episode, click the “Display Transcript” button above.

Additional Resources

Hosts

Mandi Walls

Mandi Walls

Mandi Walls is a DevOps Advocate at PagerDuty. For PagerDuty, she helps organizations along their IT Modernization journey. Prior to PagerDuty, she worked at Chef Software and AOL. She is an international speaker on DevOps topics and the author of the whitepaper “Building A DevOps Culture”, published by O’Reilly.

Julie Gunderson

Julie Gunderson

Julie Gunderson is a DevOps Advocate on the Community & Advocacy team. Her role focuses on interacting with PagerDuty practitioners to build a sense of community. She will be creating and delivering thought leadership content that defines both the challenges and solutions common to managing real-time operations. She will also meet with customers and prospects to help them learn about and adopt best practices in our Real-Time Operations arena. As an advocate, her mission is to engage with the community to advocate for PagerDuty and to engage with different teams at PagerDuty to advocate on behalf of the community.

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.

Quintessence Anx

Quintessence Anx

Quintessence is a DevOps Advocate at PagerDuty. Prior to working at PagerDuty she was a Developer Advocate / Technical Evangelist at Logzio and then AppDynamics (part of Cisco). Her main area of focus is DevOps - tooling, cultural shifts, best practices, etc. At PagerDuty her main role will be to facilitate strong relationships between the developer / IT / Ops communities and PagerDuty.

Quintessence has been working in the IT industry for over a decade. Prior to Developer advocacy, she started out in Technical Support (now referred to as Customer Success), then dabbled as a Database Administrator, before becoming a “Cloud Engineer” / “DevOps Engineer” (or whatever the cool titles are these days) specializing in AWS.

Outside of work, Quintessence ran Inclusive Tech Buffalo (formerly the Buffalo chapter of Girl Develop It) for 5 years and is staying on as a local mentor. The goal of the group is to help underrepresented groups start sustainable careers in technology via mentorship, networking, and in a pre-pandemic world workshops and/or classes. She has a cat named Luna, also referred to as Bear, and an aquarium with a green mantis shrimp (Cora) and two maroon clownfish (Clove and Cinnamon). If you are curious about what the mantis shrimp is, I recommend The Oatmeal comic on the topic or the True Facts About the Mantis Shrimp YouTube video (disclosure: the latter has some light NSFW humor).