It's not often we get to have an intimate conversation with a Keynote Speaker, but purely by chance that is what happened for me at DevoxxUS in San Jose. I met up with Janelle Klein, author of "Idea Flow: How to Measure the PAIN in Software Development, and founder of Open Mastery, an industry collaborative learning network focused on mastering the art of software development with a data-driven feedback loop.


Here is an edited Q&A with Janelle and the video interview is below.



Q. Share with us a little background, growing up and your love of Computer Science?

A. I grew up in Oregon, had a passion for music and went to college to become a professional songwriter.  Once I realized what a career in music would be like, I didn't know what I wanted to do.  My boyfriend wanted to take an x86 Assembly class together, so that was my first exposure to programming.  Once I realized I could create anything I could dream, I fell in love with software development.


Q. Can you talk a little bit about your early jobs and some of the inflection points in your career?

A. My first job out of college was working on a financial core processor, which got me really interested in data-heavy systems.  I spent several years working in the semiconductor industry on statistical process control and supply chain optimization systems, and became obsessed with Lean, continuous improvement and process methodology.   After a tragic project failure bringing production down three times in a row, then figuring out how to turn the project around with my team, I made a lot of discoveries that fundamentally changed my views on software development.  This led to my book, Idea Flow, on new data-driven learning techniques, and my new company, Open Mastery.


Q. In your keynote you spoke about Pain signals, as ways of identifying issues.   Dev and Ops prior to the DevOps movement usually work in silos and with it come problems. I wanted to get your thoughts about DevOps.

A.  The main thing I've learned when it comes to breaking down the walls between Dev and Ops is to make an effort to ask people about their pain, to listen, and to be patient in seeing the world from another person's perspective.   Measuring your pain and bringing data to the conversation also really helps to break down walls, and makes it easier for everyone to agree on the core problem that needs to be solved.


Q.  DevOps is in part about automation. How will automation impact people who work in IT and for that matter outside IT?

A. As we build automation on top of more automation, we end up with a massive amount of complexity in our IT infrastructure.  On one hand, we get to work at a higher level of abstraction and increase our capability.  On the other hand, when something breaks, we have to understand the automation which becomes near impossible because of all the complexity.  AI technologies will probably become a lot more critical in coming years in managing IT infrastructure.


Here is the actual video interview at Devoxx San Jose