When it comes to modern software development, the days of playing defense are over. Customer experience is king, and businesses must keep innovating to make that experience as delightful and frictionless as possible. This means knocking down the walls between traditionally segregated silos like development and operations to foster a collaborative culture that fuels agility and growth. To do that, increasing numbers of companies are embracing a DevOps mindset.

Effectively integrating teams that may have traditionally been at odds requires a range of specialized tools and practices. In this New Relic webinar, two seasoned DevOps practitioners—Doug Jarquin, director of DevOps at dance fitness company Zumba, and Jeff Shukis, vice president of engineering and tech ops at cloud-based speech-recognition provider VoiceBase—unpack their DevOps toolkits to reveal their secret weapons for success.

Doug Jarquin & Jeff Shukis

Here’s a peek at what they’ll show you:

Dancing as a team

Doug Jarquin joined Zumba in its infancy in 2007, and has been working ever since to deliver scalable performance that can keep up with a rhythm of explosive growth: The company now boasts 15 million customers in 180 countries!

When Doug started, there was no concept of ops, engineering, or even QA. Although he was initially brought on as a Web designer, he immediately recognized that the company needed help improving its development workflow. He decided to “grab the ops reins” and today is director of DevOps, with three full-time DevOps engineers and a backend, big data analytics engineer on his team.

Today, every Zumba engineer has access to the 30-plus paid services in the company’s DevOps toolkit (which includes New Relic, Loggly, and PagerDuty, to name just a few). But it wasn’t easy to put this toolkit together, says Doug. Questions he needed to answer beforehand included: Who is going to use these tools? How do they integrate with each other? How can I convince my boss to let me sign up for tools he’s never even heard of? (Doug imagines the reaction: “What kind of a name for a company is DataDog?”) Many DevOps professionals face these kinds of struggles—Doug says that he still runs into them all the time.

Beyond actual “tools,” Doug’s toolkit includes certain practices and methods he uses to manage his team. Fostering a sense of teamwork is one of the most important. This can be as simple as encouraging his team to say “we” and “our,” rather than “me” and “your” when discussing problems they have encountered. And when it comes to fixing those problems, he advocates a blend of accountability and collaboration. “Let’s get in there,” he says, “look at what the code is doing and learn about our application together.”

Lean and mean

At VoiceBase, which provides cloud-based APIs for speech recognition and analytics, processing millions of recordings each month, one of Jeff Shukis’ biggest DevOps challenges is actual employee resources: the company has the equivalent of only two full-time people who spend their combined time on ops and DevOps. That’s one reason why Jeff is a big proponent of a lean methodology (and recommends everyone read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries).

To compensate for this lack of resources, VoiceBase relies on a robust suite of DevOps tools to help the team work together more effectively and efficiently:

VoiceBase DevOps Toolkit


Check out the full webinar below to listen to Jeff detail how he gets the most out of each of these tools and hear Doug lay out his DevOps best practices:


Toolkit image courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

B.J. Hinshaw is a freelance writer based in Northern California. View posts by .

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