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In this series, we explore Observability in action, discussing how to embed the tool into your organization and the impact of its storytelling power.
With observability, engineers are able to evaluate the status of their internal systems simply through its outputs; saving a team from the detective work that distracts from product development.
Episode 1: Tell better stories with observability
In this article, Elizabeth Carretto hones in on observability tooling: metrics, traces, and logs. From the power of tying the tools together to how you can – and why you need to – ‘make your trace datas as accessible as possible’, Elizabeth details how to get the best return on investment in observability.
Elizabeth finishes her article by noting that observability isn’t just about understanding your systems; the real ‘beauty of [these] tools is that there is a ton of value to be had outside the resolution of a production issue.’
Episode 2: Observability at scale
Ramez Hanna’s article takes a step back to look at the human aspect behind observability. Ramez answers the foundational questions of ‘What is observability? Who is observability for? Who will be implementing it? How can you implement observability? Who will do that work?’
Ramez notes that ‘Observability is more about people and practices. No matter what tools you use, if you don’t know what you’re doing it won’t work.’ From his article, the reader will gain a solid insight into the importance of engineers guiding the tool to fit their thinking and not the other way around.
Episode 3: Observability and your business
In this article, Liz Fong-Jones takes a deep dive into making the business case for observability. Liz takes the reader through how to decide on which option is right for their organization, and how to evaluate the impact it's having post-investment.
Liz highlights that ‘a lack of observability will hobble the growth of your business, risk user trust with outages, and burn out your engineering team.’ Through her guidance, Liz leads the reader to be in a position where they are aware of how to identify the need for observability, cultivate the optimum environment for it to be introduced, and how to acquire the right tools and measure them.
The data unlocked by observability is a powerful tool for engineering teams, but it's the people and the culture that will be the real force for transformation. So how can engineering leaders create a safe culture that enables their team members to learn, try, and test?
This conversation revolved around the merging of your engineering culture and observability, with our panelists – Tom Oketch (Senior Technologist at ThoughtWorks), Liz Fong-Jones (Principal Developer Advocate at Honeycomb), and Ryan Katkov (Senior Engineer Manager at Slack) – and moderator – Jared Jordan (Leader of Growth APAC Engineering at Netflix) – discussing their own experiences of this cultivation.
During this discussion, our panelists explored:
- How to demonstrate the value of observability with engineering teams;
- The difference between lacking observability and having observability;
- Looking at systems holistically;
- Fostering a culture of collaboration and trust;
- And enforcing expectations.
A final takeaway
Liz Fong-Jones states that observability allows you to ‘give your software engineering and operations team superpowers to ship quickly and with confidence.’ The content provided in this series covers the fundamental bases, the tips, and the tricks that engineering leaders need to know in order for observability to work optimally in their teams. Though it may be a tool on the surface, observability allows a team the creativity to push its value beyond the system and into the cultivation of their engineering culture and velocity.