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The Value of Release Engineering as a Force Multiplier
John O’Duinn, HortonWorks, Inc.
When done well, Release Engineering can be a force multiplier that enables software companies to ship software efficiently and reliably, to grow in the marketplace, to grow internally by hiring more developers, and to compete against other above-their-weight companies. To understand this value in all these different contexts, it needs to be clearly explained in non-Release-Engineer language. I’ll describe some approaches that have, and haven't, worked for me. While this session is focused on RelEng, many of the same principles apply to IT, QE and other similar service groups.
John O’Duinn is a software developer, systems architect, and director. Over the last 22 years, in startups and multinationals, he has designed and helped build practical, reliable cross-platform, release engineering infrastructure which is both scalable and efficient. His infrastructure improvements have allowed companies to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace while improving productivity and retention of both developers and release engineers.
John has also developed a culture where distributed teams and individuals work seamlessly across groups in a global workplace. During his 6 1/2 years as Director of Release Engineering at Mozilla, he built a tightly knit team of 18 Release Engineers in 14 cities, in 4 non-adjacent time zones, with one of the highest retention rates across Mozilla. In Jan 2014, John transitioned from Mozilla to a new role at Hortonworks, a “startup” company which is spread across 4 non-adjacent time zones and works closely with the geo-distributed Apache Hadoop open source project.
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