DevOps/WallStreet Recap: Agile Transformation in Highly Regulated Industries

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DevOps Wall Street Agile Transformations in Highly Regulated Industries

Devops Wall Street, held Friday, March 3rd at LMHQ in Lower Manhattan, provided a wealth of knowledge, idea sharing, and camaraderie with some of the biggest names driving DevOps practices forward. Speakers from FINRA, Coinbase, GitHub, Modus Create and Waffle.io presented topics ranging from cultural transformation to how to measure progress by tracking deployments.



To start off the day, Executive Consultant and former FINRA CTO Marty Colburn delivered a keynote focusing on Agile Culture Shift for organizations. Colburn led a multi-year agile transformation at FINRA, facing down mountains of technical debt. By adopting continuous integration, automated tests, and automated deployments, FINRA was able to focus on prioritized agile delivery.



The next speaker, Lee Faus, Senior Solutions Architect at Github, presented on Establishing a Security First Mindset. Github has mastered some highly effective ways to set up workflows for productivity and security, and Lee showed how you can use the platform to establish audit trails and give people appropriate access to the tools they need. Lee asserted that GitHub-based teams are 30% more collaborative than their competition. Github’s strategy to help teams accomplish these goals is to enable:

  1. Easy Deployment and Administration
  2. Simple Community Creation
  3. Community Based Gated Workflows



Rob Witoff, director at Coinbase, presented on Security, Scalability, Productivity: Embracing a DevOps Mindset at Coinbase. Bitcoin and its underlying technology, blockchain, are arguably two of the most disruptive new technologies of the past decade. Building and scaling a company in an entirely new market that itself is experiencing geometric, worldwide adoption is no small task. Witoff dove deep into Coinbase’s use of devops and automation metrics. Coinbase has tackled growth challenges first by measuring development and deployment metrics, and then acting to shorten the time it takes to deploy to production, while still having guard rails in place to prevent regressions. Rob’s talk touched on the use of CircleCI and GitHub Enterprise to increase development velocity and reduce security risks all while scaling Coinbase to over $6B in transaction volume. This quantitative approach has lead to competitive advantage for the company and contributed to increased market share vs. other players in the space.


Matt McCants, Devops Engineer at Modus Create, introduced the crowd to using GitHub and the Infrastructure as Code tool Terraform to collaboratively build and deploy infrastructure across multiple cloud providers. The presentation portion of the talk illustrated the benefits of Infrastructure as Code methodologies and weighed the strengths of using a multi-provider tool such as Terraform versus more vendor specific offerings. We were then treated to a live demo of the toolchain in action showing a complete example of an entire software stack being provisioned across AWS and Google Cloud.



To close out the event, Andrew Homeyer, founder at Waffle.io gave an enlightening talk about GitHub Driven Project Management. He introduced a concept of “DevPM”, or empowering engineering teams to solve customer problems, using whatever tools and process makes the most sense for them. While this may make some seasoned project managers squirm, instead of a project management tool being made for project managers, what if project management was reinvented for engineers? If rapidly delivering customer value is the top priority, figure out the easiest way to make that happen. One quote especially stuck out: “The best project managers are willing to accept a little pain for devs to have less pain and work better”.

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the success of DevOps/WallStreet! We’ll be posting videos of the speakers’ presentations along with slides in the coming weeks. We’re also planning similar events in other cities – be on the lookout for future announcements. Modus Create would like to extend a special thank you to our fellow event sponsors: GitHub, CircleCI, Coinbase, and Waffle.io.


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