If you had the chance to read the first part of this blog, you saw that I am very grateful for the opportunities and experience I have gained working for some great Enterprises. Access to cool, game changing projects, emerging technology, great people and team members were the highlights. But, over time, I was losing that feeling of being challenged.
So it was time to try something new and I made the decision to become an independent consultant. I established the corporation, processed the appropriate government documentation, landed on a name; “Archestration”. I secured a long term contract with an exciting company that was transforming their business in a big way. They were jumping into Agile with both feet and very determined to make it work. My focus was to build a team, transform their infrastructure and implement automation wherever possible. We spent lots of time working with software and people once we finished the hardware parts. This is what grabbed my attention!
I was able to build on my prior experience and hit the ground running. Having the opportunity to be involved in a 100+ organization move to “Agile” all at once was also very valuable experience. We did stand-up’s each morning and scrum teams had their own dedicated rooms (sticky notes everywhere).
Teams focused on 2 week sprints and getting features and capabilities out the door. Not everything worked perfect, but they stuck with it, made the required changes, and are definitely seeing the benefits today. After I finished this contract I focused on multiple smaller contracts, I found that I enjoyed working with more than one client at a time and being able to dedicate my time to different projects kept things exciting. I was able to deliver both traditional and emerging technology at the same time. Clients were able to benefit from other emerging projects I was working on.
Around this time I also had the opportunity to get involved with a SaaS based startup focused on nested virtualization (building a cloud based hypervisor and self service cloud offering), which was very different than my traditional large Enterprise experience. It was a built for SaaS, 100% public cloud product. It was fast moving, very emerging technology and a brand new market.
This brought on some new challenges as I was the only Canadian representative and most people I interacted with were in different countries and time zones. I worked with great people and gained a great deal of cloud and automation experience. The thing that probably impressed me most (outside of the hypervisor technology - HVX) was the focus on automation and continuous integration early. It was a requirement to do business.
In short they did a really amazing job committing code into version control, driving automated environment builds and doing end to end testing with immediate feedback for developers. This discipline allowed them to make many real time updates to their SaaS service and have a high confidence that customers would not be affected by change. When your are a startup, you need to constantly add features and functionality reliably (you are working off one production version for everyone). The ability to toggle features on and off inside the production service is also a key component to releasing new features in my opinion. It’s not just a “startup” advantage, it’s key to enterprise transformation for companies of all sizes.
Working for myself I quickly learned my biggest challenge was again “scale”, I could only “scale up”. What that meant was work more and more hours. By this time I had 3 young children and the true ceiling was a 24 hours day. I always kept a pretty good work / life balance, but I also felt that need to work with a tight nit team again and have lots of fun working hard on fun challenging projects.
So fast forward to now, it’s clear “the cloud” is real and Devops is a huge enabler to business agility and success. Insert your own definition for “Cloud” and “Devops” and let’s roll up our sleeves and talk about “intelligent architecture” and “enterprise transformation”.
Now it’s time to dive into the current story of today, the next step in my adventure and a new team.
It’s time to “scale out” again…