Presentation: Removing Friction In the Developer Experience

Track: Developer Experience: Level up Your Engineering Effectiveness

Location: Broadway Ballroom South Center, 6th fl.

Duration: 10:35am - 11:25am

Day of week: Tuesday

Level: Intermediate

Persona: Architect, DevOps Engineer


Our ability to be productive engineers can be distilled to the sum of two forces: things that motivate us, and -things that hold us back. While the levers of autonomy, mastery and purpose and their effect on motivation are well popularised, engineering organisations are often held back by different forms of friction. We’ll discuss how we’ve applied a potent blend of microservice / serverless architectures, continuous deployment, and cloud technology to make it easy to push code swiftly, safely and frequently and operate it reliably in production . And, we’ll discuss the organisational tools like team self-selection, team ingredients model, voluntary adoption, internal startups that allow us to decentralise and decouple high-performing teams.

HBC Digital is the tech team behind the luxury experience at,,, and


QCon: What’s the motivation for your talk?

Adrian: Share the learnings of rolling out startup-style dev-ex in a large, corporate engineering organisation.

QCon: What’s the level & core persona?

Adrian: Engineers, team leads, CTOs.

QCon: What 3 actionable things do you want persona to walk away with?
  • Autonomy, mastery and purpose are necessary but sufficient for great devex. You need to ruthlessly identify and remove the processes and architectures that stop you from getting change swiftly, safely and frequently to production.
  • Stop wasting your time in the 'theatre' of staging and QA environments. Adopt techniques that allow you to test safely in production.
  • Adopt devops principals so that your engineers own their code in production.
QCon: This all looks awesome Ade, but how do I adopt these techniques in my organisation?

Adrian: It's hard to change an existing architecture or organisation: change often meets resistance and that resistance can be overwhelming. Instead of trying to boil the ocean, why not simply draw a line around the existing system and practices of the organisation and say 'okay, everything outside this box is new, and in this new space we're going to think and act differently'. If you can show that these new techniques work, then folk within the box will want to adopt them and you'll get a natural shift to better devex.

Speaker: Adrian Trenaman

SVP Engineering, HBC Digital / Gilt & Committer Apache Karaf

As SVP Engineering, HBC Digital, Ade leads the engineering and infrastructure teams for Gilt in New York and Dublin. He is an experienced, outspoken software engineer, communicator and leader with over 20 years of experience working with teams throughout Europe, US and Asia in diverse industries such as financial services, telecoms, retail, and manufacturing. In the past, he has held the positions of CTO of Gilt Japan, Tech Lead at Gilt Groupe Ireland, Distinguished Consultant at FuseSource, Progress Software and IONA Technologies, and Lecturer at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth. He became a committer for the Apache Software Foundation in 2010, has acted as an expert reviewer to the European Commission. Adrian holds a Ph.D, Computer Science from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, a Diploma in Business Development from the Irish Management Institute, and a BA (Mod. Hons) Computer Science from Trinity College, Dublin.

Find Adrian Trenaman at


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