Teaching People Life Lessons aka DevOps

By Chris Short

Elevator Pitch

Based on a conversation during a Lyft ride. Watch as DevOps is explained in simple, layman’s terms in under ten minutes. Then take a deeper dive into examples of Lean, Agile, Kanban, and basic troubleshooting skills. Proving DevOps is not just a powerful framework for tech but one for life as well.


While speaking at Open Source 101 in 2018, I had a seven-mile Lyft ride in Raleigh. On this ride, I explained I was doing a talk about DevOps. I explained what DevOps is to my Lyft driver. She brought up a relative who wanted to buy a house. But, the relative is concerned about the process and complexity. When she asked how we tackle complexity in DevOps I explained how we break problems into smaller pieces of work. I explained some Agile practices around Sprints and Kanban to manage and track resources and workflows. I concluded the explanation with, “But, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Shocked, the driver turns around and says, “Chris, you’re teaching people life lessons!”

What Will You Learn:

  • The importance of humility in development and systems engineering
  • Explaining complex things in simple ways is something I had to learn in the US Air Force; you should too
  • The significance of applying Kanban to work
  • Why working with Agile in mind makes sense for more than software development (network engineering, marketing, etc.)
  • Free vs. Fee: Why paying for the removal of complexity there is a balance of free vs. fee and it’s different for everyone