JCON world 2023

November 21 @ 19:00 19:45

Continuous Stupidities – Myths of DevOps

Even if it used to be called configuration management, it does not mean that the old problems have been eliminated with the beautiful new name DevOps. Due to the increasing complexity of projects and ignorance of the tools, today’s strategies and workflows that are expected of the development teams only achieve a new quality.

Many DevOps teams take the approach of automating all possible work steps. This even goes so far as to try to automate the automation itself. In principle, there would be nothing wrong with this, if the solution would then also help the development teams to work through their daily tasks efficiently. Unfortunately, many of the solutions I have come across in my professional life in recent years are far from that. Rather, they create development environments that hinder the daily work instead of simplifying it. So let’s take a closer look together and discuss what serious effects carelessly made decisions have on the future success of a project. Of course, we will also find one or the other highlight from development that causes more than just a little headache for the company.

Conway’s law

During my work as a Configuration Manager / DevOps for large web projects, I have watched companies disregard Conway’s Law and fail miserably. Such failure then often manifested itself in significant budget overruns and missed deadlines.

The internal infrastructure in the project collaboration was exactly modeled on the internal organizational structures and all experiences and established standards were ‘bent’ to fit the internal organization. This resulted in problems that made the CI/CD pipelines particularly cumbersome and resulted in long execution times. But also adjustments could only be made with a lot of effort. Instead of simplifying existing processes and aligning them with established standards, excuses were made to leave everything as it was before. Let’s take a look at what Conway’s Law is and why it should be observed.

The US American researcher and programmer Melvin E. Conway received his doctorate from Case Western Reserve University in 1961. His area of expertise is programming languages and compiler design.

In 1967, he submitted to The Harvard Business Review his paper “How Do Committees Invent?” (Engl.: How Do Committees Invent?) and was rejected. The reason given was that his thesis was not substantiated. However, Datamation, the largest IT magazine at the time, accepted his article and published it in April 1968. And this paper has since been widely cited. The core statement is:

Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.

Conway, Melvin E. “How do Committees Invent?” 1968, Datamation, vol. 14, num. 4, pp. 28–31

When Fred Brooks cited the essay in his legendary 1975 book, The Mythical Man-Month, he called this key statement Conway’s Law. Brooks recognized the connection between Conway’s Law and management theory. In this regard, we find the following example in the article:

Because the design which occurs first is almost never the best possible, the prevailing system concept may need to change. Therefore, flexibility of organization is important to effective design.

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering

An often-cited example of an “ideal” team size in terms of Conway’s Law is Amazon’s two-pizza rule, which states that individual project teams should have no more members than two pizzas can fill in one meeting. The most important factor to consider in team alignment, however, is the ability to work across teams and not live in silos.

Conway’s Law was not intended as a joke or Zen koan, but is a valid sociological observation. Take a look at structures from government agencies and their digital implementation. But also processes found in large corporations have been emulated by software systems. Such applications are considered very cumbersome and complicated, so that they find little acceptance among users and they prefer to fall back on alternatives. Unfortunately, it is often impossible to simplify processes in large organizational structures for politically motivated reasons.

Among other things, there is a detailed article by Martin Fowler, who deals explicitly with software architectures and elaborates the importance of the coupling of objects and modules.The communication of the developers among themselves plays a substantial role, in order to obtain best possible results. This circumstance over the importance of communication was taken up also by the agile software development and converted as essential point.Especially when distributed teams work on a joint project, the time difference is a limiting factor in team communication.This must then be designed particularly efficiently.

In 2010, Jonny Leroy and Matt Simons coined the term Inverse Conway Maneuver in the article “Dealing with creaky legacy platforms”:

Conway’s Law … can be summarized as “Dysfunctional organizations tend to create dysfunctional applications.” To paraphrase Einstein, you can’t fix a problem from within the same mindset that created it, so it is often worth investigating whether restructuring your organization or team would prevent the new application from displaying all the same structural dysfunctions as the original. In what could be termed an “inverse Conway maneuver,” you may want to begin by breaking down silos that constrain the team’s ability to collaborate effectively.

Since the 2010s, a new architectural style has entered the software industry. The so-called microservices, which are created by small agile teams. The most important criterion of a microservice compared to a modular monolith is that a microservice can be seen as an independently viable module or subsystem. On the one hand, this allows the microservice to be reused in other applications. On the other hand, there is a strong encapsulation of the functional domain, which opens up a very high flexibility for adaptations.

However, Conway’s law can be applied to many other areas and is not exclusively limited to the software industry. This is what makes the work so valuable.


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DevOps / Cloud-Tage 2023 – remote

April 26 All day

DevOps4Agile – Prozesse verstehen und richtig anwenden


Jeder redet von Digitaler Transformation, Agilität und natürlich auch DevOps. Leider klappt die Integration moderner Paradigmen in2023-IT-Tage-FFM_DevOps4Agile Unternehmen nur sehr schwer. Ein Punkt der eine wichtige Rolle bei Transformationen spielt sind Prozesse. Oft fehlt ein richtiges Verständnis wie man von der abstrakten Beschreibung zu einer leichtgewichtigen Umsetzung im Unternehmen kommt. Nicht die Werkzeuge stehen in diesem Vortag im Vordergrund, sondern der Weg von der Planung zu einer  konkreten Umsetzung, die offen für künftige Anpassungen ist.

JConf Mexico 2020

October 3, 2020 All day

Continuous Stupidities – did DevOps fail?

Heavy motivation to automate everything, even the automation itself, is the common understanding of the most DevOps teams. A strong dominance of administrators in those teams (Operations), transform ideas of increasing the development process to a personal playground. Far away from the necessities of the DEV team, which have to create the application. Often Developers have to fight heavily with the provided infrastructure, because this break productivity massively down. In this talk we resume the lessons learned after more than one decade as configuration manager in different enterprise projects, to discuss nonsense DevOps workflows.

IT-Tage FFM 2020

December 12, 2020 All day

Maven secrets unlocked – verbessern Sie Ihren Build

Apache Maven ist seit mehr als einem Jahrzehnt als Build- und Reporting-Tool für Java-Projekte etabliert. Der Erfolg dieses Tools wurde, weil es als eines der ersten Build-Tools eine einfache Lösung für das Abhängigkeitsmanagement ansprach. Entwickler lassen mehrmals am Tag einen Maven-Build laufen, wissen aber oft nicht, wie sie Probleme beheben können, wenn ein Build kaputt ist.

In diesem praxisorientierten Vortrag beginnen wir mit den Grundlagen und gehen schnell zu fortgeschrittenen Themen über und lernen, wie man den Lebenszyklus eines Builds modifiziert:

  • Token-Ersatz für die Datenbankkonfiguration
  • Ausführbare jar-Dateien
  • Paket-Fat-Jar einschließlich Abhängigkeiten & MANIFEST-Manipulation
  • Arbeiten mit Webanwendungen & Multi-Modul-Projekten
  • Erzwingen von Java-Kompilierungsversionen & Release-Zusammenhängen
  • Konfigurieren der Reporting-Engine

JCON 2021

July 10, 2021 All day

Rolling Stones – vom Release überrollt

Jeder macht es, manche sogar mehrmals täglich. Aber nur wenige kennen die komplexen ineinander greifenden Mechanismen, die ein vollständiges Software Release ausmachen. Deshalb kommt es hin und wieder vor, das sich ein Paket in der automatisierten Verarbeitungskette querstellt.

Mit ein wenig Theorie und einem typischen Beispiele aus dem Java Universum zeige ich, wie man ein wenig Druck aus dem Softwareentwicklungsprozess nehmen kann, um zu schlanken leicht automatisierten Prozessen gelangt.

jConf Peru 2022

November 26, 2022 All day

Rolling Stones on stage: release me

Everyone does it, some even several times a day. But few are aware of the complex interlocking mechanisms that make up a complete software release. This is why it sometimes happens that a package gets in the way of the automated processing chain.
With a bit of theory and a typical example from the Java universe, I show how you can take a little pressure out of the software development process in order to achieve lean, slightly automated processes.

To deal with standards in your own projects is not something bad. A well define release process based on common standards increase your productivity. Learn in this talk how you are able to simplify your daily work.

Semicolon: DevOps als Teil agiler Unternehmenskultur verstehen

April 26, 2022 All day

Semicolon; Live-Webinare für Führungskräfte

Unternehmen haben unterschiedlichste Motivation eine DevOps Kultur für die hausinterne Softwareentwicklung zu etablieren.

In diesem Vortrag erfahren Sie auf welche Punkte Sie besonderes Augenmerk richten müssen, damit Ihnen die Transformation auch gelingt. Dabei stehen die Prozesse im Vordergrund um geeignete Werkzeuge auswählen zu können. Lernen Sie welche Fertigkeiten für ein DevOps Team unabdingbar sind, um mit aussagekräftigen Stellenbeschreibungen geeignete Kandidaten zu finden. Bereiten Sie die Basis für ein allgemeines Verständnis was DevOps bedeuten kann um dies mit den eigenen Unternehmenszielen in Einklang zu bringen und natürlich auch langfristig tragfähige Entscheidungen treffen zu können.

Der Vortrag ist inbesondere für Manager, IT-Entscheider, Fachabteilungen, Product Owner, Projekt Manager und für Personen, die in Softwareprojekten wenig technische Berührungspunkte haben geeignet.

Agil im Software Entwicklungsprozess

Der philosophische Frühschoppen
Der philosophische Frühschoppen
Agil im Software Entwicklungsprozess

Heute bespreche ich die Fragestellung wieso Softwareentwicklungsprojekte so oft scheitern. Es wird geklärt, was im eigentlichen Sinne scheitern bedeutetund welche Methodiken angewendet werden um die Situation zu verbessern. Dabei streifen wir in den folgenden 30 Minuten durch die klassischen und agile Paradigmen im Software Entwicklungsprozess.

Version Number Anti-Patterns

published also on DZone 04.2020

After the gang of four (GOF) Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides published the book, Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, learning how to describe problems and solutions became popular in almost every field in software development. Likewise, learning to describe don’ts and anti-pattern became equally as popular.

In publications that discussed these concepts, we find helpful recommendations for software design, project management, configuration management, and much more. In this article, I will share my experience dealing with version numbers for software artifacts.

Most of us are already familiar with a method called semantic versioning, a powerful and easy-to-learn rule set for how version numbers have to be structured and how the segments should increase.

Version numbering example:

  • Major: Incompatible API changes.
  • Minor: Add new functionality.
  • Patch: Bugfixes and corrections.
  • Label: SNAPSHOT marking the “under development” status.

An incompatible API Change occurs when an externally accessible function or class was deleted or renamed. Another possibility is a change in the signature of a method. This means the return value or parameters has been changed from its original implementation. In these scenarios, it’s necessary to increase the Major segment of the version number. These changes present a high risk for API consumers because they need to adapt their own code.

When dealing with version numbers, it’s also important to know that 1.0.0 and 1.0 are equal. This has effect to the requirement that versions of a software release have to be unique. If not, it’s impossible to distinguish between artifacts. Several times in my professional experience, I was involved in projects where there was no well-defined processes for creating version numbers. The effect of these circumstances was that the team had to secure the quality of the artifact and got confused with which artifact version they were currently dealing with.

The biggest mistake I ever saw was the storage of the version of an artifact in a database together with other configuration entries. The correct procedure should be: place the version inside the artifact in a way that no one after a release can change from outside. The trap you could fall into is the process of how to update the version after a release or installation.

Maybe you have a checklist for all manual activities during a release. But what happens after a release is installed in a testing stage and for some reason another version of the application has to be installed. Are you still aware of changing the version number manually? How do you find out which version is installed or when the information of the database is incorrect?

Detect the correct version in this situation is a very difficult challenge. For that reason, we have the requirement to keep the version inside of the application. In the next step, we will discuss a secure and simple way on how to solve an automatic approach to this problem.

Our precondition is a simple Java library build with Maven. By default, the version number of the artifact is written down in the POM. After the build process, our artifact is created and named like: artifact-1.0.jar or similar. As long we don’t rename the artifact, we have a proper way to distinguish the versions. Even after a rename with a simple trick of packaging and checking, then, in the META-INF folder, we are able to find the correct value.

If you have the Version hardcoded in a property or class file, it would also work fine, as long you don’t forget to always update it. Maybe the branching and merging in SCM systems like Git could need your special attention to always have the correct version in your codebase.

Another solution is using Maven and the token placement mechanism. Before you run to try it out in your IDE, keep in mind that Maven uses to different folders: sources and resources. The token replacement in sources will not work properly. After a first run, your variable is replaced by a fixed number and gone. A second run will fail. To prepare your code for the token replacement, you need to configure Maven as a first in the build lifecycle:


After this step, you need to know the ${project.version} property form the POM. This allows you to create a file with the name version.property in the resources directory. The content of this file is just one line: version=${project.version}. After a build, you find in your artifact the version.property with the same version number you used in your POM. Now, you can write a function to read the file and use this property. You could store the result in a constant for use in your program. That’s all you have to do!

Example: https://github.com/ElmarDott/TP-CORE/blob/master/src/main/java/org/europa/together/utils/Constraints.java