Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to attend dev up 2023, the renowned tech conference held in St. Louis, Missouri designed to cater to beginners and experienced technology professionals. The jam-packed schedule featured a wide range of topics from general programming principles to cutting-edge DevOps practices, and the ins and outs of project management. The presentations I attended were impressive, led by experts who conveyed complex concepts in a clear and accessible manner.
My primary focus for attending the conference revolved around gaining further insights into DevOps and project management. The sessions not only expanded my horizons but gave me an opportunity to foster connections with fellow attendees who shared the same passions.
Reflecting on the experience, here’s a recap of two sessions in particular that left an indelible mark.
Architecting ASP.NET Core for Geo-Distributed Deployment
Some technologists spend their entire careers trying to understand geo-distributed applications and the trade offs and benefits. Mitchel Sellers is not one of them. Mitchel is a 14-time Microsoft MVP and CEO of IowaComputerGurus Inc. My biggest takeaway was the subtopic SQL DB setup for Geo-Distributed Deployment; setting up a main write DB, and many geo-distributed read DBs that each region's user access provides a massive read boost, along with built in fail over (see the diagram).
He also went over common issues encountered by DevOps teams such as: firewall rules and failover plans. I found his subtopic of file management with AzureBlob equally insightful, especially the in-depth explanation of the correct time to use hot, cold, and archived files states which could prove to be a time and money saver.
Has Your Digital Transformation Stalled?
As someone who has been a part of organizations undergoing digital transformation, I found Alex Basa’s presentation full of practical, applicable insights on the right questions to ask, and what to do if the transformation isn’t going as planned. Alex is a Dojo Coach at Edward Jones with 20 years of experience in product delivery. Some key questions Alex highlighted include:
How many transformations are happening at the same time?
What does this transformation mean for the business?
What are our key metrics?
How is the team handling the transformation?
In many instances, the question “How many transformations are happening at the same time?” is likely already being asked at too late a stage. When four or five “transformations” occur concurrently, none get the funding or focus required to be successful. This not only leads to failed transformations, but a loss of organizational trust. When business leaders have conflicting views on a transformation, teams can go months into the project with little to show. Asking “What does this transformation mean for the business?” and “What are our key metrics?” establishes clear goals and end results.
For team members doing the work, psychological safety within the team, defined roles and performing root cause analysis when issues arise are a great idea for teaching teams that aren’t on the same page new practices or technology. When teams spend months struggling to use new tech during a transformation, the transformation often stalls out, leading the team to return to old ways of work.
I’m excited to apply the knowledge gained and the connections forged to contribute to the software development community. dev up 2023 was an unforgettable time of learning and growth. I look forward to attending next year and the impact of this year's sessions on my career and future endeavors.
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