Presented at Gainesville BarCamp 2017
DevOps & Remote Work
Martin Smith, Principal Engineer, Rackspace
Who am I?
- Earlier: DBA, Developer, Sysadmin in Higher Education, 10+ years (local)
- Now: Principal Engineer at Rackspace, 3 years (remote)
2016: Remote Year brings together a community of 75 digital nomads from across
the globe to spend a year working, traveling, and exploring 12 cities around the
DevOps and Remote Work for about 4 years.
What is DevOps?
Remote may be slower, but you can
find faster people. - Martin Fowler
Co-location is probably more
efficient, but there are exceptions.
Invest in communication, tooling,
and the occasional F2F visit.
The Oaks Mall
Maple Street Biscuit Co.
Gatorland Toyota Cust.
Common pain points for remote work:
1. Remote as an exception
Embrace failure, continuously
improve, check in daily or weekly.
Trust is the foundation.
more likely to
organization to a friend
as a great place to work
more likely to
recommend their team
to a friend as a great
2015 State of DevOps report
"Diversity matters. Research shows that teams with
more women members have higher collective
intelligence and achieve better business outcomes. [...]
We recommend that teams wanting to achieve high
performance do their best to recruit and retain more
women, and improve diversity in other areas, too."
Code, ChatOps, etc
Automattic (WordPress.com) -
GitHub - 75% remote as of 2014
Basecamp - Fully distributed
Remote work essentially
requires Automation and
Infrastructure as Code, unless
you want to be chained to a desk.
had no formal policy or
philosophy on flexible
- Location does make it difficult. But, HBR has shown that remote workers are
often more engaged with their colleagues.
Goal-focused, results-based work
Face time is a traditional management
technique. Organize around business
priorities & customer results instead.
Connectivity, Prioritization, and other struggles
Compare to other types of remote work like writing or graphic designers.
Remote guilt is real. Leaders change culture.
Unplanned work and timezones.
Getting out the door is a struggle.
Connectivity is an obsession.
Logistics is a huge time sink, but worth it.
You will be lonely. Travel to see your team!
Trust within the team?
Does the team work
Decision making and
How do managers interact
with the team?
Asking the right questions.
DevOps job ads
Who else is remote?
Specific location or time zone?
Perks for remotes?
Travel to an office / team meetups
Social Media and Blogging presence
about remote work
Watch out for the laundry lists, 10x
What should you look for?