DeveloperWeek Europe 2021 DeveloperWeek Europe 2021
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Lean Product Development through SLOs

- BST
Workshop Stage 2
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Josh Armitage
Contino, Principal Consultant

Known for a booming voice and distinct lack of a sense of humour, Josh works as a consultant after spending time with everything from mainframes to machine learning and kubernetes. Having split his life half in the UK, half in Australia, he's now back in London helping regulated enterprises embrace lean software development, cloud native architectures and team happiness as a true north metric.


How can you strip over-processing out of your value stream?
How can you understand and communicate what "good enough" looks like?
How can you systematically challenge and remove assumptions from you consumers?

In supporting enterprises in DevOps & agile transformations across three continents, I discovered a common theme, stories talk of what is to be enabled, but not how well it needs to perform.

Recently, upon joining a platform team drowning under the weight of their backlog, I experimented with SLOs being the beating heart of our product development flow.

To do this, we:

- Revisited all previous core usecases and determined meaningful SLIs and SLOs
- Made SLOs an inherent part of defining features
- Built a lightweight infrastructure to translate technical changes to business events
- Made a dashboard to transparently broadcast our SLOs
- Made SLOs be the core of conversations with our consumers

By doing this, we:

- Removed assumptions from consumers, driving more meaningful conversations about value
- Created a beachhead for a more data driven culture
- Created a common understanding of what "good enough" looked like
- Became better focused on maximising value delivery, over redundant gold plating of features

You'll learn:

- How to adopt an SLO driven product development flow
- From the mistakes we made along the way
- Tips and tricks for defining SLOs for low frequency usecases
- How to drive more impactful conversations