What works and what doesn't work in software development? For the first 10 years or so of my career, we followed a strict waterfall development model. Then in 2008 we started switching to an agile development model. In 2011 we added DevOps principles and practices. Our product team has also become increasingly global. This blog is about our successes and failures, and what we've learned along the way.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Women at DevOps Days

I recently posted a tweet about DevOps Days Mountain View 2012, and I feel the need to explain it a bit: https://twitter.com/DukeAMO/status/218541579219116032/photo/1

First of all, why did all of the women there that evening decide to get together, in a cage of all places?  Well, DevOps Days was held in a very odd sort of place, the Silicon Valley Cloud Center.  It's a former data center, apparently, and the evening dinner and party was basically in the garage.  For some reason, the garage is partitioned into several large cages, surrounded by chain link fences.  We thought it would be fun to get together, and the easiest place to do that was in one of the cages, because there were tables in there.  The fact that it was slightly subversive to do that was part of the fun.

Did we do that to make some sort of political statement?  No, not really.  The fact of the matter is, when you're a woman at an operations conference, it's very obvious that you're in a minority.  I haven't done any scientific studies, but I'm going to guess that the ratio of men to women attendees at both DevOps Days and the larger Velocity conference this week was around 95% to 5%.  It's a shame that more women aren't attracted to this field, because it's quite rewarding, and there's no reason for women to stay away.  But the women who do buck the trend are rare birds, and we don't mind being a little bit different.  We also get used to it.  On a day to day basis, I don't even notice that the vast majority of the people I work with are men.  It's normal.

We had our little toast together, and had a great time talking for the rest of the evening.  By the time I left, there were just as many men at our table as there were women, and we were happy to have them.

Here's to the rare birds!