The YOW! 2016 Conference is sold out in Melbourne, but you can still get tickets for Sydney and Brisbane. There are also DepthFirst workshops in Sydney and Melbourne.

Three meetups this week, including another trip to Melbourne!

On Tuesday I flew to Melbourne to host YOW Night in the amazing event space at Zendesk. Our speaker was Lindsay Holmwood of the DTA, the Australian government’s Digital Transformation Agency. More than 70 attendees gathered to hear Lindsay talk about the problems the government faces in digital service delivery, and how the DTA has tackled those.

Lindsay stunned us all with the statistic that the government has over 2200 web domains… that they know of. He challenged us to consider the difficulty in creating a consistent customer experience across those sites, keeping them patched and secure, and monitoring them for disruptions. He also told us about the vision for GOV.AU – an “alpha” responsive prototype that shows how “joined-up” government services could look and work for users.

Lindsay also debunked the myth that organisations need to choose between speed and reliability. The 2016 State of Devops Report actually proves that successful companies (as measured by actual stock market performance) actually release more frequently with fewer failures and shorter recovery times.

Lindsay also pointed us to the DTA’s Digital Service Standard, which includes thirteen simple criteria that every government (and private enterprise) can use to assess projects. He also walked us through the Service Design and Delivery Process and explained how you can “create a longer runway by pulling the tech forward.” Rather than thinking of doing more tech and less design, think of it as turning up the volume of tech earlier in the process.

On Wednesday Lindsay headed to the Brisbane YOW Night, hosted by YOW’s Craig Smith.

Back in Sydney, I attended the Microsoft Developer Event at The Star along with several hundred other developers and tech leaders. The big draw was, of course, the chance to see CEO Satya Nadella onstage, and he did not disappoint. You can watch his 40 minute keynote online here:

Nadella spoke of Microsoft’s mission to “empower every person on the planet to achieve more,” and how creating tools for developers is still at the heart of the company. Every business nowadays, he said, is a digital business.

Azure was a big topic for the day, including Cortana cognitive services, Blockchain as a service (there was a nice little spotlight on Australia’s Webjet), the new serverless compute service “Functions,” and a new Azure Bots service.

Nadella also earned a chuckle from the local crowd when announcing a new partnership with Cricket Australia to analyse player performance. “It’s perhaps not the best day to talk about Australian cricket…” he said.

Another highlight of Nadella’s talk was a video showcasing the new Microsoft Surface Studio. The crowd erupted in applause afterwards!

The rest of the event was more hands-on developer focused, and I can’t even begin to go into all the detail. There were sessions on using cognitive services to build chatbots…

…Microsoft’s relationship with Open Source (less than a day later it was announced that they’re now a Platinum member of the Linux Foundation!)…

…building apps with Xamarin for Visual Studio (which now has a native iOS emulator so Windows users don’t have to switch machines for testing!)…

…and a crash course on devops with Azure.

I was also really pleased to see local developers Wayne Schwebel and Rossano Gallardo recognised for their great work on the 9News Alerts app (Android | iOS).

On Thursday it was time for the third YOW Night of the week, this time in Sydney at Canva‘s offices in Surry Hills. Once again Lindsay Holmwood delivered his excellent talk about the DTA and what they’ve learned about digital service delivery. It was especially interesting (for me) seeing the same talk on different nights. I could tell where Lindsay made changes – in some cases because people who worked on the projects he was discussing were actually in the audience! – and also how he responded to the different energy of the crowds. (Melbourne laughed more than Sydney, I noticed.)

Thank you again to Lindsay for kindly spending most of his week travelling Australia and giving this talk. The audience across all three sites absolutely loved it, and everyone came away inspired to apply some of the DTA’s lessons in their own organisations. My favourite tweet of the week was definitely this one from our friend Christopher Biggs:

If you haven’t been to a YOW Night before, you should sign up for the YOW mailing list  (form in site footer) to hear when the next one is happening!

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