Not All Minutes Are Equal: The Secret behind SLO Adoption Failure

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 4:00 pm4:45 pm

Michael Goins and Troy Koss, Capital One


Join us as we help you understand, calculate, and eventually prove SLOs value. Despite SLOs frequent introductions across industry forums and literature, their actual formulaic definition is obscured. We'll show how to look past the disconnect of marketing and the actual calculations of SLOs. Attendees will learn key differences between time-based vs event-based measurements. We will compare and contrast these methods as we review a real-world example of a high-severity incident. After we've established a common definition, we'll review the many key signals that SLOs and error budgets offer: slow burn, error budget recoveries, step function deviations, etc. These signals let teams latch onto empirical evidence to better understand their system's health and discover unreliability. After all, you can't improve what you don't measure.

Michael Goins, Capital One

A linguaphile, Goins turned a hobby in foreign languages into a career in programming ones. From a start in payroll systems to stint as a java tech lead, he focused on solving problems via software. After becoming frustrated by disjointed development processes he transitioned to a role defining and rolling out CICD practices at an organizational scale. Currently, Goins has switched to applying those same organizational scale transformation skills to the SRE domain at Capital One.

Troy Koss, Capital One

With what seems to be a natural attraction towards reliability, Troy constantly found himself involved in making things...well...more reliable. After working in software development, he stumbled into operations and saw a clear opportunity to use software to orchestrate such efforts. Currently, he works in Capital One's stability organization leading enterprise Site Reliability Engineering (SRE). He plays a critical part in both evolving the enterprise strategy while leading a team of engineers focused on partnering with and influencing business, architecture, and technology partners in delivering on the strategy.

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@conference {286230,
author = {Michael Goins and Troy Koss},
title = {Not All Minutes Are Equal: The Secret behind {SLO} Adoption Failure},
year = {2023},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = mar

Presentation Video