March 8, 2017

DevOps and Dynatrace: Notes from the March 7th Lean Coffee, Ministry of Testing-Boston

Last night, the new software testing group, the Ministry of Testing - Boston Meetup, hosted its second Lean Coffee Meetup at the Panera Bread in Porter Square, Cambridge, MA. We switched locations from February's Lean Coffee, going from a reserved section of a noisy brewpub to a coffee-and-sandwich shop where it was nerve-wracking for me to attempt holding enough tables for all of the attendees. For April's Lean Coffee, I'll make a reservation back at John Harvard's.

Going from beer to coffee seemed to be less of a draw, which seemed to work in the group's favor. After the first ten minutes of free-flowing conversation between us four, we voted to eschew the usual Lean Coffee ceremony of writing discussion topics on Post-It notes, then voting on the priority and how many minutes we as a group should discuss a topic. We were all having too much fun just talking!

One of the attendees, Andreas Grabner, a Technology Strategist at Dynatrace, stopped in after meeting with some clients. Poor guy! What was meant to be a Lean Coffee turned into our own personal Dynatrace Q & A session, with us peppering him with questions for two full hours, interrogating him about their software development process, their automation process, and everything in between.

For those who missed last night, you can see Andreas speak tonight! Andreas will be giving a talk at the Boston Jenkins Area Meetup  on "Metric Driven DevOps with Jenkins".

Of all the things Andreas said, the most shocking thing was this: Dynatrace did away with a separate tester role at their company.

As I said to him, "That statement just sent chills up my spine! ... So you have just developers do the testing?"

Yes. Everything is automated. It did take a big culture shift. They spent years re-organizing the company. When you shift testers into more of a developer role, it can help them both. Coders taught testers how to code and testers taught coders how to write better tests.

I had to interrupt: "But who catches things such as typos? Bad graphics? Wrong copy uploaded? Not everything can be automated". Andreas mentioned that it is the customer that catches them.

Andreas went on to explain that Dynatrace spent incredible amounts of brainpower how to automate everything: Not just the code deployments, but the delivery mechanism itself. Developers could deploy whenever they wanted. But since changes went straight into production, it forced them to take ownership of production. They had to make sure not just that they didn't break the build, but also that they weren't pushing errors into Production, because the customers would see it. Dynatrace forced developers to interact directly with their customers, which forced them to become more responsive to the customer.

A funny thing happened. Without any filter between developers and the customer, it made the developer more in tune to the customer's needs. Yes, they heard negative feedback, as they always had, but it also allowed them to hear positive feedback from the customers using the product. When they fixed issues promptly due to the fast feedback, or put in a new piece of functionality that customers liked, they heard about it, unfiltered.

I'll share more of Andreas' insights in the next blog post. In the meantime, check out the talk Andreas gave last August at DevOpsDays Boston 2016! ( Official site ).

Andreas Grabner gives his talk to DevOpsDays Boston 2016
"How can we detect a bad deployment before it hits production? By automatically looking at the right architectural metrics in your CI/CD and stop a build before its too late. Lets hook up your test automation with app metrics and use them as quality gates to stop bad builds early!"

Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
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// Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test, Software Tester since 1996.
// Contributing Writer for TechBeacon.
// "Looking to move away from manual QA? Follow Adventures in Automation on Facebook!"

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