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

Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 5:00 pm5:20 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 author of Time Management for System Administrators (O'Reilly). He is co-author of The Practice of System and Network Administration and 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 EverythingSysadmin.com and he tweets @YesThatTom.

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@conference {213128,
author = {Thomas Limoncelli},
title = {Operational Excellence in April {Fools{\textquoteright}} Pranks: Being Funny Is Serious Work!},
year = {2018},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = mar

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