Building a Fellowship Program to Mentor and Grow Your SRE Team

Thursday, 30 August, 2018 - 12:0012:30

Tom Spiegelman, DigitalOcean


Mentorship is invaluable at any point in your career. At DigitalOcean, we introduced an internal two-week fellowship program pairing any developer interested in learning more about what infrastructure did with a senior engineer. We followed the Tuckman 4-stages of group development of forming, storming, norming, and performing. We believe we create the best performing team when mentors and mentees go through the four stages together as a team. Two weeks may seem brief, but we were able to iterate quickly, and also it meant we could focus our energies on mentoring just one person at a time to limit straining the team’s bandwidth. The benefits were manifold: our infrastructure team gained a better perspective of what other teams go through and work on a daily basis which helps us build better tools and workflows to support them. Not only did participants strengthen their skills, but some joined infrastructure, realizing it was right for them. And for those that didn't join it was an excellent way to cross-pollinate ideas and build the infrastructure team's relationships with other teams. In this talk, attendees will hear about the theory, lessons learned, and how to create their own fellowship program.

Tom Spiegelman, DigitalOcean

I am truly passionate for all things tech specifically if you want to talk to me about Infrastructure. I have been at DigitalOcean coming on 3 years now and really love it.

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@inproceedings {218863,
author = {Tom Spiegelman},
title = {Building a Fellowship Program to Mentor and Grow Your {SRE} Team},
booktitle = {SREcon18 Europe/Middle East/Africa (SREcon18 Europe)},
year = {2018},
address = {Dusseldorf},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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