Canonical: ‘rip up the rule book’ for engineers

Big software is going to change the way we work. That is according to Canonical, the firm that coined the term. At a breakfast at the Duck & Waffle in London, the firm laid out its vision of the future workplace. And the main stress was on letting developers off their leashes.

“We have reached the point that technology has changed the way that we do our work. IT has given us a platform that we can do more ourselves,” said Anand Krishnan, EVP & GM Cloud at Canonical. “We are living in a time where software is all around us. Never has everything been so readily available to everyone.

“Invention and innovation now means disruption. Gone are the days of IT being about cost cutting. Now it the main part of any business. There is no longer an IT department and a business, they are now the same thing. No longer is there operations and development, now there is DevOps.”

Senior VP at Canonical, Chris Kenyon, stressed the importance of engineers autonomy in what he described as an ‘extraordinary period of creative disruption’. Kenyon envisions ‘disruptor departments’ (for lack of a better term) as being small teams that are left to their own devices. “The real skill now is having engineers who will know how to choose multiple pieces of software and implement them in a working environment,” he said. “In most companies these guys already exist but are being held back. We have created an environment where developers and engineers can achieve more from home than they can in the working world. What companies need to do is select a few developers to break away and act as disruptors.”

He added: “Small teams work faster than large teams. Getting a small team to work efficiently is the best way to progressing your business. It is about finding 15-20 people at each organisation and tearing up the rulebook for them. We are in an extraordinary period of creative disruption. Organisations that think it is acceptable to do 18 month procurement procedures are not in the real world.

“WhatsApp had just 32 admin and developers when it sold. That is when it was providing for 550 million users, meaning it had just one member of staff per 16 million customers. That is an extraordinary number.”

More information on Canonical’s vision for the future, will be in PCR’s next issue

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