Monolithic Transformation - changing the culture of large organizations, or, what to do when your meatware stinks

By Michael Coté

Elevator Pitch

The cliche we all recite is that technology isn’t the problem, culture is. Put another way, if the hardware and software are fine and fresh, it must be the meatware that smells. Come hear several de-funking recipes from enterprises whose meat now smells proper.


Large organization are desperate to become “tech companies.” They drool at these tech companies ability to grow and change quickly. Despite mastering agile over the past 20 years, IT as a whole is too slow and unreliable. “It’s the culture,” everyone says. Changing culture for a team of 10 people is easy - changing a department of 20,000 developers is another challenge entirely.

Based on case studies and interviews over the past five years, this talk describes how large organizations are getting over that challenge. First, the talk covers moving from a project to a product mindset and the associated practices. Second, it covers how DevOps and cloud platforms enable that product mindset. Third, it goes over how leadership and management change to support this new approach. Finally, the talk catalogs tactics, patterns, and organizational structures that large organizations are using to improve how they do software which leads to improving their business.

This talk is based on my book Monolithic Transformation (O’Reilly, Feb 2019), available here:


This talk can be given in 30, 45, or 90 minute sizes. There are some previously recorded versions available, but this talk evolves with new content frequently.