I am excited to share that I got an opportunity to observe and participate in an Oracle Code Innovate Event for FedEx Supply Chain in Cranberry, PA a couple of weeks back. It is a three day Hackfest, where several teams of FedEx engineers work with Oracle techies to design and test drive real use cases in the Oracle Cloud.
The program was guided by Matt Thompson, a Developer Evangelist along with Mat Viera and Emily Huegel as Scrum masters as well as Linda Bronson and a whole support team. It is a three day program that broke down as follows:
Day One: Ideation
Day Two: Iteration
Day Three: Innovation
For each customer what they want to get out of the Code Innovate experience differs. For FedEx the management/engineers wanted to see what code (and specifically Micro-services and Containers) goes through to get get deployed in the cloud through a Continuous Integration- Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline and in some cases using Kubernetes as the Orchestration tool for Containers.
There were 20 engineers broken up into four teams. Each team had to come up with a creative Team Name, Goal (Use Case) and the Tasks that were required to implement the Use Case. Matt Thompson emphasized that unlike tutorials and workshops, this is a true Peer-Peer relationship where both FedEx and Oracle engineers work together and learn from each other. In addition to assigned Oracle engineers to each team, the SE lead Moe Khan and Architects like Brad Egler floated around the different teams to help them if they were getting stuck or just needed some strategic guidance.
In a Hackathon there is always a clear winner, but the emphasis in a Hackfest even though there is competition and awards is on collaboration. The focus is on learning and Matt emphasized to the engineers to get out of their comfort zones and to grapple new areas in which they were not well versed.
On day one, Matt gave an overview of the program followed up by an Oracle engineer who gave a tutorial on Terraform. Terraform is a CI/CD Infrastructure as Code tool, that all the teams used to deploy their micro-services. Then the teams broke up and started the Ideation phase, with lots of Post It’s in hand and trying to come up with as many ideas as possible. When the time was up, they then started to converge on the idea they wanted to pursue. In the afternoon the teams got together in their huddles and started to drill down on the tasks and becoming familiar with the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) dashboard with the help of Oracle engineers.
At the end of day one, the teams had to do a Check-Out true to Agile and then at the beginning of day two a Check-In to make sure nothing had changed in terms of goals and tasks and everything was on track. Day Two was heads down all coding. The mood was intense and Matt shared with the teams that it’s ok at times to feel overwhelmed but that there is plenty of supporting help.
Day three was dedicated to wrapping up coding by lunch and to start preparing the presentations and in the afternoon to give the Lightning Talks. There were three FedEx judges all from management who just like on "America's Got Talent" were asking tough questions. Every team prevailed and won a different type of award.
At the end of the event the feedback from both management and the engineers was overwhelmingly positive, not only because they accomplished their goal but the whole experience. Besides FedEx, companies such as GE, Cisco, McAfee, and others have seen the benefit of participating in Code Innovate. Check out the following link if you would like to learn more about participating in an Oracle Code Innovate program.