Mandi Walls: Welcome to Page it to the Limit, a podcast where we explore what it takes to run software in production successfully. We cover leading practices used in the software industry to improve the system reliability and the lives of the people supporting those systems. I’m your host Mandy Walls. Find me @lnxchk on Twitter.
All right, welcome folks to a special episode of Page it to the Limit. If you are a regular listener, you’ll know, we publish new shows on the first and third Tuesday of every month, and May 2022 happens to have a bonus fifth Tuesday. So we’re taking advantage of that to give you a preview of our upcoming PagerDuty Summits.
I have with me today some folks at PagerDuty who have been working on these events, helping to make them absolutely amazing for you, whether you are able to join us in San Francisco, Sydney, or London, or you hang out with us virtually. So there’s still time to sign up. The sign up link will be in the show notes. So if you haven’t registered yet, you can go to pagerduty.com/event/summit, or click on the link in the show notes and that will take you right there. So I’ll introduce everybody and then we’ll get into what we’re doing. So let’s start with Kat. You’ve met Kat before, Kat say hello. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing with PagerDuty.
Kat Gaines: Hey Folks, I’m Kat Gaines. As Mandi mentioned, you may have heard from me before I am another DevOps advocate at PagerDuty. So you’ve heard me on this podcast a couple of times, and at summit, I am a track share for our digitized business operations track and also the on site in person a little bit at SF and Sydney.
Mandi Walls: Awesome, and Scott?
Scott McAllister: Thanks Mandi Scott McAllister here, developer advocate at PagerDuty, but on this episode, and in this context, I am a track chair for the beginner’s track at our conferences at summit, and so super excited to talk about those. I’ll also be on site in San Francisco and in London talking about Terraform and infrastructure as code.
Mandi Walls: Perfect. And working on that track with Scott is Camden.
Camden Louie: Hello everyone. My name is Camden Louie. I’m a senior technical trainer with our PagerDuty university team. So I’m very excited to be here in both a co track chair with Scott capacity, as well as somebody who’s going to be doing some of that in person and virtual training that you’ll hear more about later on today.
Mandi Walls: Awesome, and joining us as well is Dormain.
Dormain Drewitz: Hey Mandi, this is Dormain. So I’m on the product marketing, product and solutions marketing team. And I have been actually a co-track chair for the self-care on call track as well as wrangling a lot of the product keynote and all of the product announcements and updates we’re going to be making at summit. And I will be on site in San Francisco and Sydney, Australia.
Mandi Walls: Super exciting, last but not least is Kimbre, Kimbre welcome to the show.
Kimbre Lancaster: Well, hello, I’m Kimbre. I am actually on the marketing events team. So I am on the team, who’s kind of pulling together all of the wrangler of the wranglers, if you want to call us that, and I will also be on site in San Francisco and in Sydney,
Mandi Walls: Kimbre, kick us off. Tell us about what is planned, what things look like? We know we’ve got some hybrid events, but there’s three of them?
Kimbre Lancaster: Yeah.
Mandi Walls: So give us the rundown.
Kimbre Lancaster: Happy to. So first of all, I cannot express how excited the team is to get back to being in person while I’m very proud of the way everyone’s rallied to bring everything online over the last two years to keep everybody safe, but none of us got into events to be online. We got into events to be the people who bring people together, and I literally like get goosers if you call them goosebumps, thinking about being on site and being able to bring people together. So what is most exciting to me outside of just the fact that we get to be in the same room with our audience is the fact that we actually really took some time to look at the data from previous summits and looked at what’s the reason people want to come together in person when it’s safe to do so.
What’s the most compelling reason people are going to show up on site because we’ve learned one thing and that’s, you can deliver a lot of content online. You can do a lot of things digitally. It’s very accessible. It’s very equitable to do it online, do it for free. One of the things it’s really hard to recreate online is those interpersonal connections and networking. So what we designed the entire in person summit program around is that it’s to meet other people, to network with each other and to learn from one another. So the whole summit program in person is designed to not only bring together those great announcements Dormain was alluding to in the morning with our keynote speakers, but that in the afternoons to really allow attendees, to deep dive with our product experts and with each other, so that they’re finding solutions at the same time that they’re finding connection with one another.
So I’m kind of geeking out over what our audience is going to think of this, because it’s a very different format than what we’ve done before, and it’s exactly what they were asking for. So you’ll be able to interact in round table conversations with small groups led by our product leaders with customer guest experts, joining to kind of share their expertise in each of the areas. There’s moderated Q&A, which basically just is a fancy way of saying there’s an expert on stage and you get a microphone and you get to ask them questions and have direct access to them. And then you’ll be able to dive into the hands on trainings led by PagerDuty university. Which is always a really valuable offering, and we’ve kind of doubled down on doing that both in person and online in this year’s program. Did I word vomit enough details for you?
Mandi Walls: That’s awesome no, it’s super exciting. And like you say, like the opportunity meet with different experts, the folks internally into PagerDuty, as well as some of our customers, not just hearing and just listening to people talk at you, but being able to participate in some of these round tables and other discussions, It would be really beneficial for folks who are able to join us in person.
Kimbre Lancaster: Yeah, totally. That’s kind of the part that’s the biggest unknown, but the most exciting factor of this is what the attendees are going to bring to this experience because we are intentionally guiding our moderators to say, you’re not scripting this. We’re going to give you some ideas, but we’re going to let the group lead the conversation. We’re going to let the group guide where this goes, it’s going to be a really exciting experiment. I’m super stoked about it.
Mandi Walls: Absolutely. I’m excited to see what folks bring to us and what they’re interested in knowing and what we can help them solve for their companies. That’d be great. So yeah. Thank you very much. Kimble or Kindle Kimbre. Ha I, one of my speakers this morning was a very similar name and now [inaudible 00:06:57].
Kimbre Lancaster: I get called Kirsten all the time,
Mandi Walls: Really?
Kimbre Lancaster: Which is not even close, so I it’s totally fine.
Mandi Walls: Okay. I apologize. Won’t go to Kirsten. My goodness. Okay.
Dormain Drewitz: I don’t have that problem.
Mandi Walls: Yeah.
Dormain Drewitz: Yeah.
Mandi Walls: Dormain, tell…
Dormain Drewitz: Dormain.
Mandi Walls: Us about your crazy name, but no, you’re working on the main content and the main stage stuff and the whole theme of what’s going on here. What can you share with us?
Dormain Drewitz: Yeah, so there’s kind of a high level theme of being ready for anything in a world of digital, everything and quick plug here there are headbands. I grew up calling them sweat bands, but apparently no one wants to label anything, sweat anything. Which I’m like really sweatpants, sweatshirt, sweat bands. It’s all, it’s all sweaty. Even if you’re just sitting in your house and not breaking a sweat, but yeah, apparently there’s going to be some of those if you’re coming to the in-person event. And so I’m unreasonably excited about getting a sweatband that’s ready for anything because that is kind of a big high level theme for a lot of the main stage narrative. But yeah, we’ve got a bunch of different product updates from across the portfolio. So I’ve been working with all the leads across the product organization. I’m kind of weaving this together into an action, packed, keynote to kind of cover all of that and knowing that a lot of folks are also not necessarily up to date on even things that we’ve released in the last year. For example, this happens all the time where we get questions, it’d be great if you did this. It’s like, well actually we released that six months ago. And so really trying to help level set for folks. It’s a great opportunity if you’re newer to PagerDuty or you started using PagerDuty some time ago and you just haven’t taken a close look in a while. I would say Summit’s a really good opportunity to come in and get a really condensed refresher on really what the platform offers. And if you’re coming to the in-person events, I think it’s great you’ll get that kind of condensed morning from the keynotes. And then you can jump into those afternoon training sessions and round tables. And I think there’s always that mix of you going to justify going to the event right, it’s one day. And so hopefully an easy ask on the boss and whatever, but it’s always great to have that thing that you’re like, Hey, this is a training opportunity, right? This is about me upping my skills and I’m going to learn about maybe something our company’s already invest in already using or is looking at and just get up to speed on that. Build my skills at one of these training sessions. And then, then leave a little slack in the day for that kind of unexpected. The thing you didn’t know you were going there for. Those are the things I always loved about to Kimbre’s point what makes in person events so magical is you can look at the agenda ahead of time and pick out well I want to go to these things. But sometimes the stuff that you really take away was the stuff you weren’t planning. And so I love how we really optimized the in person experience to provide a lot of that while also kind of making sure you get that, foundation. But anyway, so a lot of updates really excited about what we’re doing in the AIOps space. I think that’s kind of an area that PagerDuty doesn’t necessarily get immediately associated with, I’ve been digging into it in my six months here. It’s really compelling and is one of those things that goes from, it sounds really buzzwordy, but you can actually point to, oh no, this is what it means. And this is how it actually helps people. And there’s some great breakouts from, customers who’ve been using that as well as automation. That’s another thing, which is who doesn’t need more automation in their life and the many different ways that we’re kind of bringing that into how to help people on a very practical level and really make it real. Because you can get very arm wavy about automation. And so how do we break that down into, no, this is, this is what it can mean, and this is how you can actually take advantage of that. So those are some of the things certainly in the product announcements and keynotes that I’m excited about. And also just the in person experience what I think that little extra, sizzle, fazzle, spice, I don’t know that I’m just going to, and the sweat band, just all of that,
Mandi Walls: All, that’s the important part, right? Call out that special swag for the in person, folks, get your head behind.
Dormain Drewitz: Oh yeah.
Mandi Walls: Yeah. You’re also a track chair for one of our tracks. Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect from like the self-help track? That’s kind of unusual for this kind of event.
Dormain Drewitz: Yeah. This was one that we added as almost kind of just like a gift back to people. I think looking at where we are with the pandemic and the levels of burnout that folks are seeing across the industry. And then certainly where PagerDuty sits for a lot of folks is they’re right there in their on call experience. And we know from looking at our data that through the pandemic, people have been working longer hours have had more incidents and that it’s contributing to those burnout feelings and I think this is a way of giving back to our users by crowdsourcing. What are the ideas out there to help make this experience more sustainable, remind people to take care of themselves, take care of their teams, and so I think there’s some good insights in there from both practitioners as well as leaders. Right and I think it’s really important for leaders to tune into some of that and remember that as they’re managing their teams, how are they helping to promote kind of a healthy on call culture? Because it’s really important and shouldn’t go away. It’s really more a question of how do we make it something that is sustainable and that we’re taking care of people?
Mandi Walls: Yeah. Excellent. Looking forward to some of that content issue, you’re really good. Kat kick us off. What are you working on for your track?
Kat Gaines: So I’m working on again, the digitized business operations track. And I’m excited about this one because we are really looking at thinking around how the business puts customer experience at the center of things. And so we’re all really familiar with things like PagerDuty with automation, the DevOps for engineering and development teams. And we’re looking at those teams as well as other parts of the business and bringing different teams together. So there are a lot of really good conversations that are happening from folks in our track, whether it’s from the customer support and service perspective or the marketing perspective, data teams, kind of internal HR teams. There’s a great list of what that looks like, and so I’m really excited for some of our talks from partners, from customers, from Dutonians ourselves. I have one in there around customer service and it’s going to be really interesting, I think to look at how those different teams come together and kind of thinking about too, we’ve shifted in state a little bit over the last couple of years in terms of how people work together across businesses. You can’t just walk down the hall and say hi to your friend in that department that you need something from anymore. And so there’s a lot of conversation around what that looks like now today. And I think it’s going to be really exciting.
Mandi Walls: Awesome. Thank you, Scott and Camden, tell us about your track.
Scott McAllister: Yeah. So Camden and I are in charge of the beginner’s track or getting started track. And I love that because at conferences you have that whole spectrum of people who are there, not just people who are like experts, trying to get the deep dive into something, but have folks who are like, okay, I’m new to this thing. I want to learn a little bit about it, how do I get kind of jump started into this thing? And so we got tracks, we got talks about like getting started with PagerDuty as a product specifically. And then I got to talk about getting started with Terraform, and so I say that word so much. I can’t even say it right when I’m being recorded. I mean, it’s great. Terraform is something that’s taking over the industry as far as a product. And then infrastructure as code as a concept is just being part of everyone’s lives who are trying to manage infrastructure. Going back to that old automation comment that was made before. I mean the more things we can automate the better and by automating your infrastructure and how you configure it, that’s kind of an important thing. So that’s what I’m excited about on our track. And then I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about this now, but there was a, you’re giving me a look, but I’ll keep going.
Mandi Walls: No, go for it.
Scott McAllister: Okay.
Mandi Walls: So you’re Excited about it. We want to hear all about it.
Scott McAllister: I’m super excited about this talk. So there was a talk I was asked to monitor. We have some talks that are going to be provided on an on demand basis, right. That’s digitally for folks who sign up and this one about, crisis has no agenda, was fantastic. Like the way he started it out, he talked about how you measure civilization and just kind of goes into that concept of how caring for each other is a thing that marks civilization and was like, Ooh, that’s an angle I never thought about before. And so yeah, definitely look out for that one. It’s from Simon@turn.io. And he’s going to be talking about how crisis has no agenda. So that’s a talk I’m excited about.
Dormain Drewitz: That’s good. I think I need this talk like right now.
Mandi Walls: Yeah.
Dormain Drewitz: Oh my goodness.
Scott McAllister: Quite good. He, did a great, great job.
Dormain Drewitz: You’re telling me I have to wait until June 7th or something. It’s just, this is hard.
Scott McAllister: Yeah. Sorry, Dormain.
Mandi Walls: You’re going to have to wait, you have to find out.
Dormain Drewitz: It means don’t have an agenda. Just there we go.
Mandi Walls: Camden, tell us about what we should expect from PDU this time around.
Camden Louie: Yeah, absolutely. So Scott already touched on, we have some getting started tracks. Whether you’re hearing from customers, our partners like Turn.IO about the different uses of PagerDuty. And then coupled with that, we’re going to have both in person, deep dive sessions, we’ll be taking a look at things like basics. I think I’ll be leading a couple of the getting started with PagerDuty, like PagerDuty 1 0 1 schedules and escalation policy best practices, service best practices. And just doing hands on workshops. We haven’t been able to do that for the last few years. Let’s get in a room. Let’s talk about your actual use case and make sure that you are set up optimally. And then we also have a couple of our other trainers who will be on site, who will be doing things like APIs 101. You know, Scott’s talking about Terraform. That’s awesome. Do you even understand what APIs are and how that works with PagerDuty, because that is such an integral part of how most of our customers are able to really find the most value with our platforms and then talking about analytics and event intelligence, this kind of touches a little bit on some of that automation, how are we working smarter? And how can you use the tools that you already have in front of you with PagerDuty to make your teams' lives that much easier and better when they’re on call. So we’ll be doing some nice deep dives in person. For those of you who are going to be joining us virtually, we also have some awesome certification opportunities. So PagerDuty university offers a few different types of certifications. We’ll be doing a foundational practitioner certification. So it’s three hours of training at the end of it.
You should feel pretty comfortable with the basics of PagerDuty. You can even get certified, have that cool badge, show it off, tag us, let us know that you’ve gotten it. And along with an instant responder certification, this is open for everybody it’s platform agnostic. It’s just, what does it mean to be a good instant responder to have processes in place that make our team’s lives that much more collaborative cohesive so that being on call is not a big, scary thing?
And then lastly, we’re launching a new certification. So everyone, whether you are in person or virtual, everybody’s going to have access to these certification courses and you’ll all be able to take the certification exams, but this customer service operation certification CustOps is just really exciting to us because it’s a space that was identified partly by our internal teams, our customer support teams, as well as a lot of our customers saying, Hey, we’re using PagerDuty in this way. How do we make sure that we can create best practices and share some of our learnings with everyone else? So I’m very excited for this new certification that we are officially launching at summit. In addition to some of our tried and true favorites with instant responder and foundational practitioner
Kimbre Lancaster: Camden, I want to jump in here because there’s another piece of this I think is super exciting and Kat is helping run some of some round tables alongside her partner, Hadijah about closing the loop with CSOps. And this is one of the things that I think is so exciting as I’m not an engineer, I’ve been running events for engineers and developers for the better part of the last decade. And I think it’s so compelling, like why we’re including customer service in this conversation and the use case that I like to use because I used to be a Californian and I was very used to power outages. And I love the idea and thinking about the way that PagerDuty plays a role in when a power goes out in a region alerts, go out to send a truck out the alerts, go out to the web team to update the website, to say like that there’s an outage area and be able to update that.
And then the really important alert is the one that goes out to the customer service representatives, because they’re the ones answering the phone calls. When people call in to say my power is out what’s happening and including them in the instant response loop is so important and is such a big, it’s really compelling for people like me. And so I can only imagine how important it is for the teams who need that information. And so I’m just so excited that we’ve included this certification in what we’re offering this year and that we’re including the customer service reps in the larger part of what we’re doing here at PagerDuty and on a, I don’t want to say less important note, but isn’t there a little t-shirt offer going out to people who complete the certifications, Ms. Camden.
Camden Louie: Well, that is a very fun little thing there. We do have these really cool PagerDuty certified shirts. So as soon as you get a certification, any of our certifications, you are eligible for this PDU specific shirt to show off that you have accomplished this thing. You have the knowledge that you need in order to help your teams be more collaborative, communicative teams. So thanks Kimbre for that reminder, I think that is my favorite thing. I was helping some users in person in Valencia at CubeCon this past week. And they sat there and did their exams with me at the booth so they could get their t-shirts that’s that’s how much they wanted them. So join us, join our very cool group of certified users and you can wear your shirt with us.
Dormain Drewitz: And I believe it pairs nicely with a sweatbands if I’m not,
Camden Louie: Oh, oh, that is, yes, it is absolutely necessary.
Dormain Drewitz: You can complete this look, shop the runway, whatever you want to call it, sweat band with certified t-shirts.
Mandi Walls: Indeed the super important part of all of it is what sweat swag. You can collect in person virtual versus a virtual event. That sounds great. There’s a there’s a lot going on. I’ve been working on the DevOps track for the videos on demand part. I can tell you PagerDuty being a, like a Keystone part of your ecosystem. We’ve got a lot of great stuff coming from our partners and other folks in this space for how PagerDuty is incorporated in all kinds of workflows for all kinds of folks in your organization. And there’s just going to be so much for folks to learn from the hybrid event and from the in-person event. So we are absolutely looking forward to seeing everyone there. So Kimbre, can you tell us a little bit about how long do folks have to get all this information? How much of a hurry should they be in to get everything?
Kimbre Lancaster: Well, we are being very cognizant of COVID and being really cognizant of safety. And so there are limited seats for the in person experience. So I would say if you’re interested in coming on site to go into the deep dives that Camden was talking about to participate in the round tables that I was chatting about to be there, live in the room with everyone else. I would highly encourage you to get your ticket as soon as possible, if you are attending the online program and then to participate in the session directory as we’re calling it, you’ll have access to everything that’s been recorded for 30 days. So you can join to live stream on the actual day of the event. So San Francisco is June 7th. Sydney is June 15th. London is June 21st. So you’ll be able to participate in the live streams of those keynotes in the morning and then enjoy the recorded content for 30 days after that.
Mandi Walls: Awesome. So get in there, get your summer learning planned. So you have all this stuff to get through and be ready for whatever happens in your digital world of crazy businesses going on. So is there anything else we’d like to cover before we close up today? There’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of things that folks can participate in, especially in person, a lot of great stuff that’ll be available online. Again, I’ll have the registration link and the show notes for folks who haven’t signed up yet, get in there and get signed up. So, all right, well, this has been great. Thanks for joining us for our bonus episode of Page it to the Limit for May, 2022. We hope to see you at summit, if not give us a shout out online, join us on the digital event and we’ll wish you an uneventful day.
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 like what you’ve heard. You can find our show firstname.lastname@example.org and you can reach us on Twitter at Page it to the Limit using the number two. Thank you so much for joining us. And remember uneventful days are beautiful days.
Dormain Drewitz is Vice President of Product Marketing and Developer Relations at PagerDuty. Prior to PagerDuty, she worked at VMware Tanzu, Pivotal, and Riverbed Technologies. Before her career in product and solutions marketing, she spent over 5 years as a technology investment analyst, closely following enterprise infrastructure software companies and industry trends. Dormain holds a B. A. in History from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Kat is a developer advocate at PagerDuty. She enjoys talking and thinking about incident response, customer support, and automating the creation of a delightful end-user and employee experience. She previously ran Global Customer Support at PagerDuty, and as a result it’s hard to get her to stop talking about the potential career paths for tech support professionals. In her spare time, Kat is a mediocre plant parent and a slightly less mediocre pet parent to a rabbit named Lupin.
Kimbre is a meticulous Project Manager and Strategic Event Marketer with (can’t tell you a number because you’ll guess her age) years experience in corporate events and strategic growth. She builds event programming with humans in mind. Originally from a farm in Washington (State), and after living in New York City she’s learned to add ‘State’ otherwise anyone who hails from the East Coast will assume you mean D.C. Fun fact she is a classically trained singer who also loves to hike, read on the beach and could cook all day if you let her. She is extremely skilled at tripping and can trip over pretty much anything without even trying, including flat ground. It’s a very rare natural skill. She is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for youth in Vancouver, Washington and highly encourages folks to look into volunteering with causes they care about!
Camden Louie loves talking about PagerDuty with anyone whether through trainings, at conferences, or virtually! She is based in the San Francisco office and is always happy to see PagerDuty users in person. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering in her communities, traveling the world, reading anywhere, and baking for friends and family.
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 software-related 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, Seattle Sounders FC, Manchester City, St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Bulls, Seattle Storm, Seattle Seahawks, OL Reign FC, St. Louis Blues, Seattle Kraken, Barcelona, Fiorentina, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund or Mainz 05 can manage a win.
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.