DevOps: Find Solutions, Not More Defects: STARWEST 2015 Interview with Andreas Grabner


In this interview, TechWell speaks with Andreas Grabner, a performance engineer who has been working in this field for the past fifteen years. At STARWEST 2015, he presented DevOps: Find Solutions, Not More Defects.

Josiah Renaudin: All right. We are back with another STARWEST virtual interview. Today we have Andreas Grabner. Andreas, thank you very much for joining us today.

Andreas Grabner: Thanks for having me here.

Josiah Renaudin: Yeah, it's really great. We actually, we did an interview last year, before you were here, and now you're doing another session. How has your conference experience been here so far? Like I said, you're a veteran at this point of the STAR conferences, so what's that been like?

Andreas Grabner: It's good. I think it's always good to see people coming back together and then sharing experiences, which I think this is the major thing here. Obviously on the one side, it's great to hear speakers talk about their experience, but I think what I see a lot is the networking that happens between the sessions, after the sessions in the evening, where you actually then go to somebody and say, "Hey, how did you solve this problem?"

I think this is the great aspect of this conference. On the one side, yes, sessions are great. You may agree or disagree with what you hear, but then you get some new input. Then you want to dig deeper and say, "This is one aspect that I just heard from this guy. Let's talk with him afterwards."

Josiah Renaudin: Like you said, testing is so often about solving these problems, the idea of coming together. There are a lot of issues that we might not be able to figure out on our own, but there's so many smart people thinking of innovative things. Who have you talked to so far that you've really felt like, "Man, I've learned something that I've never thought of before"? Or "I solved something that I never would have solved before"?

Andreas Grabner: I have to say I went to two sessions the last two days that were exceptionally well done and great. One was from Adam Auerbach from Captial One. He basically explained how they transitioned their organization from waterfall to agile and how they do continuous testing. He made some very strong statements that I think were a little hard to swallow for the major audience because he said they used to do manual testing. They don't do it any longer; they only do automated testing. Every manual tester that didn't progress with them to automated testing is either in a different role or no longer with the company.

They really transitioned over, made a very hard step. Then today I was listening into, I don't remember his name right now, he is an expert on Selenium. He gave some really cool best practices, very cool tips on how he's using Selenium to a very interesting, extreme way. I think there's a lot of people that took a lot of things with them.

I actually blogged about my highlights on the blog for, in case you're interested—my highlights that I took out of the sessions. These two sessions were, in my personal opinion, exceptionally well done and had a lot of great input. I think a lot of great discussions came out of it afterwards.

Josiah Renaudin: It's a great way for the virtual audience, for the people who couldn't be here, to be able to read your thoughts and try to get stuff out of that. It's something that you'll be able to use because a lot of what you do is, you identify problems. Then you solve the problems step by step and then you share that information with other people to see if you can collaborate and move forward with them.

When you go into a team, an organization, anything like that, or just a problem in general, what are your first few steps for identifying that, figuring out what's wrong here, and what can I do to move forward?

Andreas Grabner: Just to give you a little background about myself, I do work for a tool provider—and it's easy to see on my shirt. I really love them, and I'm not forced to wear this shirt. I'm not going to sell you anything, but I've been brought in a lot of times to help people that are in a critical situation because either their app has crashed or they have a big quality issue in general.

I've been working in the industry for fifteen years, so I know typically where to look at first. Because what I have experienced in my history, most of the problems that we see are only caused by a handful of the same technical or communication problems. I want to put an emphasis on communication because that's a lot of problems we deal with.

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