IT needs both tools and processes

Published 2012-04-22 by Jochen Lillich

Last year, I’ve given a talk at the Open Source Datacenter Conference about how we use Chef to automate our system administration. For us, Chef is the key to efficient IT infrastructure management. Since last year, we have more than doubled the number of our servers while the number of sysadmins still is the same.

But having powerful tools is just half of the equation. Over the recent months, we have learned (sometimes the hard way…) that having mature processes in place is at least equally important.

I'm speaking at OSDC 2012!

That’s why my talk at this year’s OSDC 2012 will be about “ Operations and Kanban”. Kanban is an agile task and project management method. There are other well-known agile methods like Scrum, but for IT operations teams, Kanban oftentimes fits the bill better.

In my talk, I will explain the history and basics of the Kanban method and elaborate on how IT teams can implement and use it in their daily practice.

At freistil IT, we’ve been using the Kanban method to organize our work for some time now. We’ve started with simple day-to-day tasks and then gradually extended its use to bigger projects. Kanban can be implemented with a simple whiteboard, but since we are a distributed team, we prefer web-based tools. In this context, we have found Trello an ideal solution. Its design is clearly inspired by the staged Kanban approach, it’s easy to use, there’s an iOS app and it’s free. I’ll give a few examples how we implemented Kanban with Trello in my talk as well.

Judging from the line-up of presenters and topics, OSDC 2012 will again be a great experience and I’d like to thank the awesome folks at Netways for letting me be a part of it!

You’re going to be at OSDC, too? Drop me a line at and let’s talk over a few drinks!