A Techie's Guide to Improving IT Operations: Inspirations from Public Transit

By Fawzy Manaa

Elevator Pitch

Whether you take public transit or not, we all love to hate it and hate to love it. Incidents are commonplace and there is a lot of reliance on it to go about day-to-day activities. Sounds a lot like IT operations! We want to draw parallels and see what practices can be leveraged in IT operations.


There is a lot in common between technical operations and public transit operations. Public transit is a staple system in any city’s infrastructure that helps to boost the economy and livability of the city. Just like IT operations, incidents on these systems are commonplace and there is a lot of reliance on them to go about day-to-day activities. On the positive side, these systems have tried-and-tested run-books, they often times are great at responding to incidents (yes, not all the time), and they try to keep the system running while improving it all at the same time.

In this talk, we present some parallels between operating & running a public transit system that can be implemented at operations teams in IT organizations. We will look at technical as well as simple organizational-behaviour aspects that can be rolled out to increase operational efficiency and allow for continuous improvement.

The talk will be presented as a series of observations (or concepts) that we have noticed and studied from city public transit systems. Following each observation, we look at how the concept can be applied to IT operations, and share the experience of how we would/ have implement(ed) this in the context of client/ project work.


This talk will be conducted by Abeer Rahman and Fawzy Manaa together.

This will be in the form of a full talk/presentation. We don’t have any specific requirements. If need be, we can figure out a way to make this an ignite talk.

Abeer and Fawzy are avid transit users. As consultants, we travel a lot and when we do, we like going underground to discover the real cities we are working in. We also had the opportunity to work as operators and operations team leads allowing us to connect the dots between the two.

To complement the theme of the talk, the presentation slides will contain background images of real-world public transit systems, notices, etc. to help guide the conversation.