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Interview with Author Robert Wen

Robert Wen is the author of SAFe for DevOps Practitioners; we got the chance to sit down and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What are your specialist tech areas?

Robert: DevOps, Agile Development, Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Robert: About a year ago, I was approached by someone at Packt to determine my interest in writing about the Scaled Agile Framework adoption and approach to DevOps. This topic is of particular interest to me, and I had always wanted to write a book. So, I accepted this challenge.

One of the things I enjoy doing is training others on Agile development and DevOps. Writing the book gives me an opportunity to do just that.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Robert: For me, the writing process really started with organizing the approach I wanted to take. I had a general idea of what I wanted to present, and it really was a matter of how in-depth I wanted to go in each chapter.

As I started writing each chapter, I really began the research process and looking at the sources for what I would discuss in that chapter. This approach really became a learning journey for me as I completed chapter after chapter.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Robert: The biggest challenge in the writing process was maintaining focus. You get so many demands to work on new chapters while reviewing feedback from previous chapters. It’s a lot like application development!

You have to work through your tasks with the editing team to figure out which is most important, and which can be deferred. A lot of these techniques are the same as used in Lean development. Look at doing small batches of work, watch the queue of your tasks, and impose Work in Progress limits to maintain a flow of work.

Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Robert: The biggest impact to the automation tools used in DevOps today is the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). The application of these fields into the tooling has a promise of improving the quality and security of the end products that are developed through a Continuous Delivery Pipeline.

Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Robert: Though there are many DevOps books out there, SAFe for DevOps Practitioners offers a unique perspective in that we look at the application of DevOps through the Scaled Agile Framework. SAFe is one of the few frameworks out there that fully embraces DevOps and considers the application of DevOps values, principles, and practices a key component of success.

The book is an exploration of the collaboration between SAFe and DevOps. We see the combination of DevOps practices with the values and principles embraced by SAFe and how they are complimentary. 

Q: What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?

Robert: Success at DevOps requires mastery of the “people” aspects including having the right culture, working collaboratively, and making sure everyone has equal access to information. Success at DevOps does not come from a properly – run CI/CD pipeline alone.

Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Robert: Stay curious and continuously learn. New technologies quickly outpace old technologies.

Never forget the human element. There’s always a context to understand that the correct technology can enable.

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Robert: I really keep up online! There are plenty of online resources that are out there to satisfy my curiosity on technology! I really enjoy the forums that I’ve previously discussed.

I’m also partial to LinkedIn.

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Robert: I’m a regular participant to the Scaled Agile Community forums (https://community.scaledagile.com) and the online Atlassian community (https://community.atlassian.com). Both are fantastic resources that have people eager to discuss and share insights.

Other online resources I enjoy include the DevOps Bulletin (www.devopsbulletin.com), which sends a weekly newsletter to your email.

Q. How would you describe your author’s journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Robert: Packt worked really hard to make my first-time author experience fulfilling. The editing team really helped to make sure that what I wrote was clear, concise, and technically accurate. My technical reviewers really helped make this a better book. 

Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?

Robert: I participate in the local Agile and DevOps meetup groups and am a Community Leader for the online Atlassian community.

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Robert: The chapter outlines were important for organizing the message of each chapter. I set up a Trello board where each column represented a section of the chapter I was writing. Concepts and ideas were kept as cards on that Trello board column. This allowed me to see overall how much material I had for each section and how much detailed research I had to do.

Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Robert: I would say that organization will make your journey much easier. By making sure your thoughts are properly structured, it allows a flow, or rhythm, to occur.

Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, please share.

Robert: My LinkedIn profile is https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-wen-csm-spc5-a552051/

You can find Robert’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

SAFe for DevOps Practitioners is Available on Amazon.com