Squish Level Objectives: How SRE can Help Align Technical Work to User Benefit

Monday, December 07, 2020 - 2:35 pm2:55 pm

Dave Stanke, Google


Somewhere out there, many layers of infrastructure and many miles of fiber away from us, there is someone whose product experience is dependent on the systems that we develop and maintain. Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) asserts that it is that person—the user, not our monitoring—who decides whether our systems are performing acceptably. But people have the unfortunate qualities of being inconsistent, irrational, and emotional. You know: human. What in the world do they want? And why does it even matter to those of us who maintain [insert your backend system here]? This talk will explore how tools like SLOs and Error Budgets help align platform engineering and operations work with product-oriented business outcomes. Along the way, we'll attempt to reconcile our objective, rational techniques with the uncomfortable truth that the ultimate arbiters of technical success are squishy, subjective humans.

Dave Stanke, Google

Dave Stanke (twitter: @davidstanke) is a Developer Advocate for Google Cloud Platform, specializing in DevOps, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), and other flavors of technical relationship therapy. He loves chatting with practitioners: listening to stories, telling stories, sharing a healthy cry. Prior to Google, he was the CTO of OvationTix/TheaterMania, a SaaS startup in the performing arts industry, where he specialized in feeding memory to Java servers. He chose on purpose to live in New Jersey, where he enjoys baking, indie rock, and fatherhood.

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@inproceedings {262204,
author = {Dave Stanke},
title = {Squish Level Objectives: How {SRE} can Help Align Technical Work to User Benefit},
booktitle = {SREcon20 Americas (SREcon20 Americas)},
year = {2020},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/srecon20americas/presentation/stanke},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = dec

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