Spring One Platform: Culture vs. Code or Culture as Code

Cross posted from my LinkedIn article.

It’s really telling when the first hour of one of the geekiest developer conferences in the industry, Spring One Platform, doesn’t show a single line of code. Instead much of the discussion was about culture and dysfunctions in culture.

Keynoters we heard from in the first hour of the first day include:

Onsi Fakhouri who discussed about the divides between developers and operators.

Cornelia Davis who discussed the gender gap that exists in the software industry these days, and how we can fix this. View the trailer for Debugging the Gender Gap for a great documentary about this topic. (Note: Cornelia actually did present the first lines of code at the conference – 4 lines of her first BASIC program as a middle school student).

Bridget Kromhout who made the point that artificial technical boundaries such as containers won’t fix a broken culture.

Phil Webb who mentioned of the divisions between DBAs and operators and developers in an IT department.

Pointing out cultural dysfunction in IT is nothing new in the industry.   Salesforce made a lot of hay in its earlier days by promising “no software” – just bypass the IT department altogether. That was the beginning of chapter 2 of the “shadow IT” narrative where developers and business users procure their own SaaS and cloud services without asking permission from a centralized corporate IT function.

A funny thing happened in the industry, however. Custom software didn’t go away. It’s now much more pervasive and important to companies. It’s also become a source of differentiation. Bypassing IT didn’t make software development better.  Now, companies are looking to the corporate IT function to better enable their developers to deliver unique business value.

The various technologies and practices discussed at Spring One Platform have a lot to do with mitigating and bridging these company cultural gaps. Onsi’s talk, which you can view an earlier rendition on video, does a nice job of explaining how we might all get along in one happy software collaborative lifecycle.

Now culture can be inscribed into the code that automates the innovation lifecycle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: