Avoiding Goodhart's Law - Use SLO's as Tools Not Cudgels

Monday, December 07, 2020 - 12:40 pm1:20 pm

Marco Coulter, AppDynamics


The concepts of SLI, SLO, and Error Budgets are there to balance risk (rates of change) and reward (business contentment). Using such metrics as red lines to punish teams, or force acceptance of risk by the business is missing the point. Experiences from SLA's in-service contracts inform a conversation identifying that SLI, SLO, and Error Budgets are better as a basis for conversations about the stress an application can withstand. This must include the business stress, as well as the infrastructure stress.

This session takes Goodhart's law from economic policy as a frame for reconsidering SLI's and SLO's. Leave this session inspired to approach your SLO negotiations in the best possible way.

Marco Coulter, AppDynamics

As the Technical Evangelist for AIOps at AppDynamics, Marco Coulter is passionate about the experience humans have when interacting with technology. A former startup CTO, Marco has progressed from operator to leadership roles at CSC, CA Technologies, and more recently 451 Research, where he led the data science team. He earned the nickname "the tech-whisperer" for his skills in translating business drivers for a technical audience and technical concepts for business leaders. When taking the rare break from technology, Marco can be found harvesting fresh vegetables from his NYC garden.

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@inproceedings {262261,
author = {Marco Coulter},
title = {Avoiding Goodhart{\textquoteright}s Law - Use {SLO{\textquoteright}s} as Tools Not Cudgels},
booktitle = {SREcon20 Americas (SREcon20 Americas)},
year = {2020},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/srecon20americas/presentation/coulter},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = dec

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