A compilation of playbooks filled with good practices
Success in any field comes by learning what others have already learned then applying it to your own situation. To aid this, we have produced a compilation of playbooks filled with good practices based on the experience of many Equal Experts people who worked over the years with hundreds of customers. They are a great example of the power of the Equal Experts network.
One of our shared principles is that we value a passion for learning over knowing all the answers. We don’t pretend to know all the answers – but we are confident in our ability to find them. We do not hire very experienced people because they know everything, but rather because they are better at knowing how and where to look for the answers.
We trade on our ability to learn and share knowledge, rather than protecting or ‘guarding’ it. At its core, Equal Experts is a haven where this sharing happens freely and happily, between like-minded practitioners.
This is why we felt compelled to open-source these playbooks, so that this knowledge can be shared as widely as possible.
We hope you find these playbooks as useful as we do.
At EE we have been involved in developing and deploying machine learning for a number of applications, including to:
- Assess cyber-risk
- Evaluate financial risk
- Improve search and recommendations in retail web sites
- Price used vehicles
- Improve logistics and supply chains
An ML solution depends on both the algorithm - which is code - and the data used to develop and train that algorithm. For this reason, developing and operating solutions that use ML components is different to standard software development.
This playbook brings together our experiences working with algorithm developers to make machine learning a normal part of operations. It won’t cover the algorithm development itself - that is the work of the data scientists. Instead it covers what you need to consider when providing the architecture, tools and infrastructure to support their work and integrate their outputs into the business.
Equal Experts has worked with hundreds of organisations. Our customers often ask us for advice on how to improve their deployment throughput, service reliability, and learning culture. You Build It You Run It is a cost-effective way to achieve those goals together:
- Higher deployment throughput. Weekly deployments, or more frequent.
- Greater service reliability. 99.9% availability, or higher.
- Continuous learning culture. Constantly generating insights and implementing improvements.
This playbook contains the principles, practices, and pitfalls we associate with You Build It You Run It for digital services. The first part describes the traditional operating model of a central operations team, which we call Ops Run It. It also explains why using on-call product teams doesn't mean the end of a central operations team. A central operations team isn't the right choice for digital services, yet it remains the right choice for self-hosted foundational systems (COTS and custom integrations), which have lower deployment throughput and service reliability needs.
It is common to hear that ‘data is the new oil,’ and whether you agree or not, there is certainly a lot of untapped value in much of the data that organisations hold. Data is like oil in another way—it flows through pipelines. Many organisations want to put their data to better use, taking it from business processes or IT systems, analysing it and identifying insights that tell them new things about their customers and their operations.
The data engineers who create these pipelines are the plumbers of the data world, and they are a critical service for any organisation that wants to take data analysis seriously. They create the architectures that allow the data to flow to the data scientists and business intelligence teams, who generate the insight that leads to business value.
This playbook is for anyone who is involved in designing, implementing or maintaining data pipelines.
The Equal Experts Digital Platform playbook is our thinking on why, when, and how to build Digital Platforms. A Digital Platform enables an organisation to achieve Continuous Delivery and Operability at scale.
Our approach is based on first-hand experience building Digital Platforms, and our deep expertise in both Continuous Delivery and Operability.
The Equal Experts Chaos Day Playbook is a distillation of our thinking on how best to run a Chaos Day. It draws from our experience of running many Chaos Days across a diverse set of clients, ranging from large public-sector departments to private-sector retail organisations.
We are producing this playbook in stages. This stage provides a 5-minute guide to running a Chaos Day, for those keen to get started straight away
Over the past few years running an inception has become the default pattern for kicking off a new development initiative within Equal Experts. We find running inceptions provide the development team and the wider stakeholder group the foundations to kick off a development, giving it the best chance to be successful in the months that follow.
While starting a development is complex to get right, we believe that it is possible to formalise a generic blueprint to be used for knowledge sharing, inspiration and as a starting point. This is what we have attempted to capture in our playbook.
The Equal Experts Secure Delivery Playbook is a distillation of our thinking on how best to apply security within continuous delivery. We have open sourced it under a Creative Commons license for the benefit of the wider software development community, and encourage contributions to continually improve the content within it.
At Equal Experts, we often work as co-located teams; however, this isn’t always the case. We have seen a variety of arrangements from a single hub location with work-from-home-Fridays to multiple hub locations spread across geographies and different time-zones to fully distributed teams.
This playbook is an attempt to distil some of our learnings from these situations so we can help people collaborate with teammates across locations and provide ways to improve your own distributed work experience.