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          Table of contents


          Giving back to the community

          Devops 0800

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          For the past five years, I’ve been exploring the socio-technical nature of technical excellence, organizational improvements, and productivity. It’s been quite a ride, and I tried to share what I learned with the community through our monthly 0800-DEVOPS newsletter. Going even deeper into the topic, I talked with industry experts, book authors, and thought leaders to demystify what successful organizations do differently. Just fire up your favorite podcast app, look up the 0800-DEVOPS podcast, and tune in to our conversations full of practical advice to set you on the road to success.

          I want to thank my guests for sharing their experiences and insights. Based on our conversations, I can see the following trends relevant in 2024.

          Focusing on users

          One thing that is coming through loudly is product management practices becoming ubiquitous skills, not just in teams building features for end users but also for platform teams building infrastructure support for developers. It’s challenging to achieve a high level of platform adoption by using top-down mandates. Developers need to want to use it. The platform needs to solve their problems. The only way to recognize those problems and design working solutions is to talk to your users and apply product management principles.

          I heard a great phrase by Amy Willard and Matt Ring from John Deere; they call such skills the “no regret skills.” It’s such a good way to describe them because no matter what we do in an organization, we have our users and need to understand how we can create value for them.

          Even the 2023 State of DevOps Report supports this insight by asserting that focus on users predicts increased organizational performance. Listen to my conversation with Nathen Harvey in 0800-DEVOPS #54 – 2023 State of DevOps Report with Nathen Harvey.

          Governance Engineering

          Not all organizations are fast-and-furious startups. Many of them are large enterprises working in highly regulated environments while providing us with financial, legal, and health services (to name a few), taking care of our assets and our private information. Society relies on such organizations to provide reliable services but also to play by the same ethical and industry rules.

          With the rise of initiatives and regulations protecting clients, the friction between Audit/Compliance and Software Delivery processes results in white-hot “collaboration”. DevOps teams will need to adopt automated procedures aligned with Audit that ensure conformance with regulations.

          Clarissa Lucas and Bill Bensing are doing great work advising organizations on removing that friction and redirecting the energy into creating more value for the clients. I don’t know if there is currently a more important initiative in enterprises than this one.

          Listen to my conversations with Clarissa Lucas in 0800-DEVOPS #46 – Auditing with agility with Clarissa Lucas and Bill Bensing in 0800-DEVOPS #48 – Governance Engineering with Bill Bensing.

          (Generative) AI

          The list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning AI. Given the pace at which the AI field develops, we still don’t have “best practices,” but we have enough building blocks for people to experiment. I expect that AI capabilities in DevOps will cross the chasm in 2024 and become a standard tool in Early Majority’s toolbox. Some of the most promising application areas include anomaly detection using AIOps and Incident Management.

          Listen to my conversation with Kelsey Hightower in 0800-DEVOPS #47 – Talking about value with Kelsey Hightower.

          The future of DevOps

          Finally, DevOps teams might wonder if they will even exist in 2024, given all the messages that DevOps is dying and being replaced with concepts such as Platform Engineering and similar. I usually avoid such discussions because they are missing the point. If we agree that DevOps is all about removing the friction in delivering value to end users, then Platform Engineering is only one strategy to achieve that. DevOps teams, rest assured – as long as you keep in mind that your core mission is to remove the friction, there will always be a place for you in the organization, even when Platform Engineering becomes the norm, and some other concept comes along. In the end, those are only tools in your toolbox.

          Listen to my conversation with Gene Kim in 0800-DEVOPS #56 – Wiring the Winning Organization with Gene Kim..


          We launched our inaugural Trailblazers meeting in 2022 with a primary objective: to cultivate a community where seniors could easily discover optimal solutions for their daily tasks. What better approach than by sharing knowledge and experiences? Over the course of our last six events, we’ve tackled numerous compelling topics and welcomed esteemed guests, customers, and partners to our panel discussions.

          We even had the privilege of hosting Kelsey Hightower at our once modest gathering, which has now grown substantially. What began as an experimental initiative has evolved into quarterly gatherings with nearly a hundred attendees. Looking forward to seeing you at the next Trailblazers event!

          Mighty Mainframe

          The Mighty Mainframe newsletter, curated by Kresimir Mudrovčić, offers a comprehensive exploration of modernizing mainframe technology. Acknowledging the past isolation of mainframes, the newsletter addresses the current shift in focus, where organizations are seeking ways to maximize the benefits of mainframe technology while seamlessly integrating it into modern enterprise frameworks.

          The newsletter serves as an independent and valuable source of information for all mainframers, covering diverse topics related to mainframe modernization. The content spans various aspects of mainframe modernization, such as strategies for reusing existing mainframe applications through the development of a new API layer or covering news from the community.

          Additionally, the newsletter delves into real-world projects, providing insights into challenges faced by mainframe teams and it features expert articles from the CROZ team, covering topics like the complex process of replacing mainframe tools. This involves assessments, migration planning, risk management, and deployment strategies, all aimed at reducing costs and improving performance.

          To stay updated on the latest in mainframe technology and modernization, register here.

          Summer accelerator: our talent development strategy

          We know how important it is to gain hands-on experience in addition to the knowledge gained during your studies. That’s why we devote a lot of time and resources to our internship program.

          Did you know that many of our full-time employees started their careers at CROZ as interns? Back in 2017, we introduced the Summer Accelerator program, which gives students not only a glimpse of how we work, but how we create. The Summer Accelerator planning process begins months in advance and involves a dedicated team of over 30 CROZ employees from various departments such as development, business analysis, IT, HR, and marketing.

          This diverse group of professionals works together to identify and group mentors, design projects and workshops, and create a comprehensive schedule of activities. Students have the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and work on real projects while gaining valuable industry experience in the following positions:

          • Full-stack developer
          • System engineer
          • Devops engineer
          • Business analyst/Software tester
          • Data engineer
          • ML engineer
          • UX/UI designer
          • Front-end developer

          Besides Zagreb, the program is being held across CROZ Partnership network – meaning in Rijeka, Zadar and Osijek as well. More detail information about each location and positions on the spot is available on Summer Accelerator web site. Worth a Google. 🙂


          How does it work?

          The Summer Accelerator starts with an event we call ‘’Market of Skills’’ – after the welcome, CROZ mentors and product owners present their projects where students get an overview of all projects that are about to come into existence by the end of the program. And not just that! If projects allow us to make it more fun, be sure we will do it. That’s why we literally had a market where students could choose project which they will be working on.

          Each team consists of CROZ employees, at least two of whom are mentors and one of whom is a product owner, and the interns. It usually includes full-stack developers, UX/UI designer and frontend developer, and one business analyst. Data/ML engineers and system/DevOps engineers work in separate teams

          During the first week, students are immersed in the world of modern technology frameworks and practices. All students participate in workshops on the principles of Scrum and Agile, followed by workshops tailored to develop specific skills required for their respective positions.

          For example, developers learn about Git, Spring, Angular, React or about some other technology required by the project, and Data/ML engineers learn about data systems, data analysis, visualization, and machine learning. Business analysts write user stories, develop acceptance criteria and various BA techniques, and find ways to create creative visualizations.

          Every two weeks, teams meet for a sprint review meeting. They look at what they’ve accomplished, give each other feedback, and plan what they will focus on for the next two weeks. We know the work can be exhausting, so we schedule some fun activities like pub quizzes to lighten the load, but only after the work is done.

          After three months of hard work and community, the Summer Accelerator ends with the Student Show Off, a one-day event where students showcase their projects to users and CROZ employees. Whether it is a presentation, movie or an interactive booth, that’s the moment for a show-off.

          We are always incredibly proud of our interns and the innovative projects they work on during the Summer Accelerator. Previous projects include an application with important information about maternity hospitals in Croatia for the association RODA. Another great project was working on application ‘’Altruist’’ (check out here) which was created for non-profit associations to make their work easier, so they can focus on their users and vision while reducing paperwork at the same time. That includes donations, projects, donors, and users. It was really great creating something like that for people who dedicate their time helping others.

          Gravel cycling

          Are you looking for a fun and adventurous way to explore the outdoors? Do you enjoy cycling on different terrains, from asphalt to gravel to forest paths? If so, you might want to join us for the CROZ Gravel – an annual cycling tour through the scenic Vukomeričke gorice, organized by a group of CROZ cycling enthusiasts. The CROZ Gravel is not a race, but a friendly and relaxed ride, open to all our clients, partners, and cycling friends.

          You can choose between two routes: a FAMILY RIDE (23 km) or a FUN RIDE (41 km). Both routes will take you through the beautiful nature of Vukomeričke gorice, a hilly region near Zagreb. After the ride, you can enjoy a delicious lunch and socialize with other participants.

          For the FAMILY RIDE, you can use any type of bike (city, road, gravel, MTB). It’s a guided tour, riding in a group, with refreshment on halfway. For the FUN RIDE, you need a GPS, gravel or MTB bike. It’s a self-supported ride, where you can challenge yourself and others. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover the beauty of the outdoors with CROZ Gravel!