Operational Excellence in April Fools’ Pranks: Being Funny Is Serious Work!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - 11:45 am12:30 pm

Thomas Limoncelli, Stack Overflow, Inc.


One of the most “high stakes launch” you can do is the April Fools Prank (AFP). The usual best practices don’t always work and there is no second chance: you can’t just re-launch on April 2nd. Many silos must sign off on the plan, yet the plan must be kept secret. Beta testing is particularly difficult. Loads shift from zero to millions in one day with little room for mistakes.

In this talk, I’ll discuss how to communicate across the company to get buy-in, how to load test using “dark launches”, rollbacks using feature flags, and other techniques for assuring a high stakes launch happens correctly. I’ll include stories from many AFPs both that I’ve observed and been a part of.

Thomas Limoncelli, Stack Overflow, Inc.

Tom is the SRE Manager at StackOverflow.com and internationally recognized co-author of books such as the newly updated Volume 1: The Practice of System and Network Administration, 3rd Edition. He is also known for Time Management for Sysadmins and Volume 2: The Practice of Cloud System Administration. He is an internationally recognized author, speaker, system administrator, and DevOps advocate. He’s previously worked at small and large companies including Google, Bell Labs/Lucent, and AT&T. His blog is http://EverythingSysadmin.com and he tweets @YesThatTom.

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@conference {221774,
author = {Thomas Limoncelli},
title = {Operational Excellence in April {Fools{\textquoteright}} Pranks: Being Funny Is Serious Work!},
year = {2018},
address = {Nashville, TN},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = oct

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