DevOps Institute

[EP96] How to Master the Art of a Perfect Experience with Marco Gianotten


In this episode,  Eveline Oehrlich is joined by Marco Gianotten to discuss how to master the art of a perfect experience.

Marco is founder and CEO of Giarte. His badge of honor in the C-suite is ‘The Friendly Insultant’.

Marco is well-known for outside-in market views and creative problem solving. Marco is seen as a though leader in Xperience Management and XLA®.

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Narrator 0:02
You’re listening to the Humans of DevOps Podcast, a podcast focused on advancing the humans of DevOps through skills, knowledge, ideas and learning, or the SKIL framework.

Marco Gianotten 0:17
So, it’s like Yin and Yang. But there’s Yang, but there was no Yin so excellent is the Yang into this funny, crazy world. Perfect example, if you have a first full resolution, you also need a first class experience.

Eveline Oehrlich 0:33
Welcome to Humans of DevOps Podcast. I’m Eveline Oehrlich, Chief Research Officer at the DevOps Institute. Our title for the podcast today is “How to Master the Art of a Perfect Experience”. I’m hoping that this title is making you curious. Well, I’m curious I’m very curious for the upcoming conversation and I’m excited to have a fantastic guests today. Today, we have with us Marco Gianotten . He is the founder and CEO of Giarte. Hello, Marco,

Marco Gianotten 1:06
Yes, well, thanks for having me. I’m really looking forward to this podcast.

Eveline Oehrlich 1:11
Again, I am excited to speak to you today. Let me give our listeners a little bit of a background on you. So I’ll talk to you about you in third person. I hope that’s okay. So Marco’s badge of honor in the C suite is the friendly insult and I love that Marco is well known for outside in market views and creative problem solving. He’s also seen as a thought leader in experience management and axillae. We’ll get to that in a little bit later. His favorite saying Do or do not. There is no try. He’s very sharp, disruptive, a pioneer of the experience revolution likes to speak at home and abroad and pushes change into overdrive with compelling arguments to act. I love this description. I hope Marco This is a compliment, of course to you. Is there anything I have missed?

Marco Gianotten 2:07
No know, well, that I want to be a chef. But I’m a failed chef. But that’s for the aftermath of this podcast. No, it makes me very humble, and also very proud. So thank you for being on this podcast.

Eveline Oehrlich 2:21
Well, thank you again, welcome again. And how I found your micro was I did of course research in and who I would want to bring in to talk about service level agreements and all of those wonderful topics. And I found a I think it was on LinkedIn where you said that SLA stands for secret lies and assumptions, which really caught my attention. As we are in the month of February during a lot of conversations and focus on the topic of Site Reliability Engineering, we, of course, are very interested in the topics of SLA s KPIs and OKRs. And that is really, why I thought I have to talk to you. So tell me about the statement secret lies and assumptions. What made you say that?

Marco Gianotten 3:12
Well, I love it. I love DevOps in ITIL. They have many descriptions, starting with the word service, like a service level report, or have a service level objective, or a service level agreement or service manager or service designed but actually, it’s not about service. It’s about process. So to Beatty, business managers an SLA stands for secret license assumptions. For example, at a large retailer, all the it suppliers all the outsourcing the whole landscape, everybody was protecting the SLA but the shelves were empty. So system availability was their truth but shelf availability was the truth of the business. So if the shelves are empty in the basket size is empty and your customers are in a happy I don’t give a crap about an SLA. You don’t do a good job. So this is I wanted to reinvent the word SLA it’s still a service level agreement with for to the business when it doesn’t work when it’s a watermelon so it’s green inside all the metrics are green in the service level report. But actually the atmosphere the surrounding the emotions are in the red zone. You have a watermelon and then when I came over and did something else so it was secret life and assumption and and outsourcing I call it sore loser agreement to catch my drift it’s it’s something okay, what’s the truth? What’s reality and you can you don’t hide behind your own reality and claim I do a great job as it you don’t do a great job. But it is so important to the business that we’re not able to talk mumbo jumbo Tech, we have to talk the language of the business.

Eveline Oehrlich 4:50
Beautiful. Let’s explore a little bit about Giarte. You’re the founder of Giarte. I’d Love for you to share with our listeners a little bit about what what you all do at Giarte.

Marco Gianotten 5:02
So we’re, we’re focused on bringing touch into tech. So, for true nerds were like, We’re called the cities of it. And we’re proud of that we bring into touch normally, when you say the word empathy in a software company, you get fired. We bring empathy, we bring experience to the world of tech. So you have the general trend of experience management, that’s, that’s real big that we bring experience management into the world of tech, and technology and outsourcing an ecosystem. So we focus on the X. And that’s about three things that’s about customer experience, or employee experience, or developer happiness. So the human, it’s about business impact. And the funny thing is, if systems go down, the word outreach and outreach, outreach, different one letter. So that’s the business impact. And the third one is about collaboration, about Win Win by design. So these are the three value drivers. And we put it into a concept and that concept evolved into a framework. And we call that now XLH, the experience level agreement. Very good help large, we sell we help large companies with Well, let’s say Steve thinks it’s a mindset. So flip thinking, great example is there was a famous German, or there still is famous German carmaker in Bavarian, and they claim for damn file on there, enjoy driving, but they use 853 KPIs just for workplace management. So there was no emotional or experience metric included. So that was a typical Secrets, Lies and assumption that was not actually the reality. So helping those companies to get into the mindset. And having the skills like for example, Experience Management, what kind of capability is that? And also, what kind of tools do you use, to measure to monitor to optimize and use experience because from experience everything that’s digitally related.

Eveline Oehrlich 7:10
So something caught my attention on your website. And again, this is related to our months of Site Reliability Engineering, and I’m going to quote from your website, it says, excellent is a powerful new addition to the traditional IT service level agreements, or SLA is one that builds on the SLA concept by measuring human sentiment and using this to break down silos, and think and act from the perspective of a user. So I have a three prong question. First, explain to us what are x delays? Second, how different are they from service level agreements? And can I if I am in that, for example, company you were talking about or any others if I’m managing SLAs? Can I move from SLA s to xls? And how would that look?

Marco Gianotten 8:04
Oh, great questions. Okay, the first one, okay, what’s an excellent, it stands for experience level agreement. Actually, it’s a framework, but also a commitment to apply Experience Management in organizations and ecosystems, for example, outsourcing relationships. So it’s a framework and a commitment. The second question is, okay, you have the world of azules and ITIL. And we’re, we’re agnostic. So you have to rethink about it. And it is left brain oriented. So it’s about the details. And if we look to SLA, it’s about the important details. It’s about process. First, it’s about tangible outputs, like the efficiency of freight or of surfer so uptime, or availability. So it’s technology centric. So actually, it’s about the bigger picture. It’s about the impact you have on the business and especially human beings. So it’s like yin and yang. But there’s Yang, but there was no Yang. So excellent is the Yang into this funny, crazy world of tech. For example, if you have a first call resolution measurement, well, you also need a first class experience. So you can look at incident management, but also okay, what was the impact on lost productivity? You can focus on problems but also prevent them because you’re repeat. It’s the same difference between if a product is not available on the shelf because of an IT problem. That’s reality. And if you claim that the system is still up, that’s not reality, because the business is hurt, and people are not happy. So at klm they started rethinking about their metrics. And eventually they are in business so flying planes Got it, but they need it to support their main business. So if you have a flight delayed due to it, because above and below the wing IT systems fill, then you have flight delay due to it. And our goal as it is to have no flight delays due to it. Because if I have a flight delay, that’s costing you money, you have to pay a penalty, your net promoter score will go down. Because if I’m there, you know, I’m not able to fly as a customer, I’m not happy, I wouldn’t recommend you and you have to change the crew. So finding out where we go, key provenance indicators, what actually makes the business or the customer or the ecosystem tick and focus, and focused on the things that really matter. So that’s why we introduced key proud indicators, because they motivate you to do the right thing and you know, you do the right thing.

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Eveline Oehrlich 11:24
I was just traveling across to the US at Christmas time, and of course, there was a huge challenge from one particular flight provider travel company, who, yeah, we did not, we were not delighted. And what really made me a little bit upset was when I was sitting at the airport. The news hit that it was infrastructure, and it who was responsible for the outage because they had aging systems. Of course, I wasn’t an I am not part of that company. But I felt a little bit offended that their IT department is blamed for this situation, and they make it very public. So an excellent example. And I am a KLM flier, lucky me that you guys have worked with them. But I felt really, really sad for this IT organization who gets to who is blamed for all this mess happening over Christmas in the US, anyway, sorry.

Marco Gianotten 12:25
And that’s also what happens to it. People don’t celebrate success or no product, because they’re always on the wrong end. You know, they always get the blame, and they accept the blame. It’s the same as it starts reporting, oh, my metrics. I don’t celebrate success. You know, I know. I don’t know if I report metrics. And I think could do a good job. But actually the business is going down, for example, these IT guys working very hard. But actually, there’s inter investment, or they don’t have the wrong metrics. So they, for example, they don’t have the backup procedures, because well, they didn’t have enough money. But if you don’t have the backup procedures, and you have an outage, your recovery time goes up. So your recovery time objective, you know, that’s really key. So, if we’re down for 10 minutes, that’s okay. If we’re down for three hours, okay, that’s totally wrong, because then the system will collapse and we have to replan everything but those kinds of discussions are not business it alignments of I don’t know what they’re talking about, because we invested a lot of money in business it alignment and I don’t know what they’re doing. There’s only one language in this the language of the business and the customer do if it starts talking about business. For example, I also make a joke that’s EBIT earnings before interest in tax so most IT guys it just means earnings before it. talk the language of the business and I really help those people but even at klm people within it, they weren’t very happy, you know, and they started outsourcing and instead of helping the service providers there were blaming them because they were bullying them because they were bullied by the business. That was so so about you know, when you’re doing a great job, I don’t have to be managed by someone if I have no flight delay due to it. I know I did a great job when the answer is zero when the Friday because then we have celebrate and we have drinks because I know I did a great job because it’s my impact on the business. So Heineken invented the beer KPI on the impact of SAP hosting on on the on the production and especially the selling of beer in Asia and Africa. Because you don’t want to do with change just prior to the end of the rainy season Africa because then they celebrate and appear. Yep. So being in the mind and being thoughtful and understanding the business because the business is very tricky because they have the money so the relationship would do between IT and business or the doesn’t work. If they speak different languages and having a service level agreement, it actually is a watermelon. So it’s called secret lies and assumptions to the business. That’s, that’s not good for it. Because it’s, it makes you depressed even. Yep.

Eveline Oehrlich 15:17
As an IT person I am. This is music to my ears because I would love to have a proudness indicator, which helps me to share and celebrate what I’ve done. But here’s another question. You guys talked a lot about the human experience and tech. And I think you talked about left brain, right brain. Many of our listeners are developers site reliability engineers, DevOps and team members. If it did, they don’t really do a lot of you know, thinking in terms of human experience and technology, maybe it’s user experience. But again, if you’re an operations or in DevOps, not too much concerns about that. Give us a little bit more insight on your guys’s thinking in terms of human experience and technology. How can our listeners start such new thinking?

Marco Gianotten 16:10
Yes. Okay. For first, for example, like user interaction or user design, that’s the settle. Excellent is the horse. So holistically, it’s bigger. And most people the most important word in DevOps, or in Agile, the Agile Manifesto is the word valuable. They made money mistake. They named it valuable software, but it has to be value, anything you do. Value is very abstract to understand as a human being, it has to be valuable for me, like an end user or a business, but it has to be valuable, or has to be valued as a developer. So if I’m a developer, and I make coat not only makes that makes the product owner happy, but the customer happy, because it’s easy for them to adopt, they love the software, they love the feature, the usability goes up and user adoption goes up that makes me proud to and especially in in the DevOps way of working in releasing software, it’s very important to understand what the end user what the customer, what the employee is actually doing with that software. And we have product owners that decide on on the priorities. They have their own KPIs key value indicators, and that’s the first thing that goes wrong, that KPI is focused on the customer. It’s focused on the value is not a traditional KPI like uptime, or availability or whatever. So if you start changing from a KPI to a KPI in DevOps, that’s a good thing. But actually, you need something overarching, because you have multiple teams and they don’t really work together and the end up, it’s a bad customer experience. So a key proudness indicator works very well as the mother of all key value indicators. So I think in the DevOps community, in the software engineering community, that they will adopt, excellent thinking to, for example, they start thinking about experience engineering, like they do in Product Engineering. If you go to a carmaker, if you go to Boeing, if you go to any company that makes great products. In product design, you also think about experience, the famous book, emotional design by Don Norman. That’s a classic book. And it’s well known in product management and product design and designers. But actually, no one almost no one in IT. And especially DevOps knows that book. This guy, both two great books about the about design. And I love the book, emotional design, because that’s part of the nature that’s part when Boeing developed the Dreamliner it was about emotion because this was the first airplane they ever designed with a human being in mind. The previous edition when there was designing a plane was about safeness. And then they came up with a jumbo jet, it has to be cheap. And the third real third generation in designing an airplane was about human experience. And then you the first problem they encountered at Boeing was when you start talking to people like I’m in a focus group together with you, Evelyn. And you say, Well, what do you want this I want more legroom and engineer really understands that. That’s a functional requirement. So I say, I don’t want to feel locked up. What happens with traditional engineer? They say, my God, he’s an idiot. Well, should we make it into inconvertible? This sucker will freeze to that because 10,000 meters minus 50 Celsius degrees, something like that. That’s not empathy. That’s apathy. So they change the design team also with social engineers, and now they understand so the Dreamliner and the Airbus 350 are about the human being and it’s about humidity. It’s about light. It’s about It’s about the experience and you feel more refreshed after a flight with a Dreamliner than a triple seven. So in car, a in airplay in electronics in the iPhone, what Apple that’s all about design, emotional design, people have to love it. But in software, we still have to embrace that thinking.

Eveline Oehrlich 20:24
I love that. I love that Dream Lighter example, absolutely right on having that design for the relaxing journey to your destination. Fantastic example. Just something for the listeners, as you mentioned that Marco Don Norman, if anybody wants to do some research in that he is a very famous thought leader and is actually working on another book at this point of time, I think it’s called the Digital Transformation experience. But I was fascinated by some of his writings and actually have pre ordered his his book on this digital experience. So just for our listeners, again, Dream Lighter is an excellent example. Now, you are releasing an excellent pocket book, I think, yeah, pretty soon. Yeah. Tell us Tell us. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Marco Gianotten 21:18
Okay. When we started this, I was like, we were like a lowly nut. So there’s a famous YouTube footage over like a video and the videos by a guy dancing on his own. And then people start following. So we did a lot of good practices already, for a lot of large companies in the US in Europe, even in Japan, and we were infusing our thoughts with game design or product design. And then you have to come up with a glossary. And then we said, we’re going to share this with a lot of people we want, we want to have an academy, we want to develop the skill sets for people. So now you have to start codifying your knowledge. And we started with a pocket book, it will be published in three weeks from now, the US version, together with fan Hara publishing, I’m really excited because we’re now into the open. And then that will be followed by something more spectacular in the summer that call to ritual book this because the great thing about agile or especially DevOps is about the ceremonies, it’s about the sprint planning, or a daily standup, or a sprint review, or sprint retrospective keep ceremonies are like rituals. So we developed a lot of rituals, like the key proud indicator, or the or the KPI, stress methodology, or a lot of great things that could be applied. And also law firms love this, to put it into the contract. Because the spirit of the contract is really important if you start collaborating. So we work to get other people, the book, that book will be out there. And when this possible will be there, people hopefully will look at it and they can order it. And we have a lineup of great products, books eLearning video content to share this. And we train people in Lesotho. And my team is now working in Portugal and in Spain and in France, and we’re very proud with people start stealing stuff from us. And we have that makes us very proud like because if you’re good artists copy great artists, you still go, we help this community and a lot of young people and old people with the spirit, the people from the title community, people from the DevOps community, the people from any community, even with people with Lean. And so we had to discuss what’s what is so great about this. And they said, well, like lean, we started all about Lean thinking when I was in university, but was no waste and lean it is there. So lean is about no waste. ITIL is about no chaos. Agile is about no delay. And while we needed a fourth one, we call it axillae. And it will be about no frustration. And if we have no waste, no chaos, no delay, no frustration, I think we’ll all be happy with the digital transformation. So we’re on a mission, we love to share. And we love to hear and it’s great that sometimes we people send as well we apply this in a way and when the most one of the most funny things is that at the ditch we’re way they launched applications on time on budget like prints too. And people were actually crying because I’m not able to work with this release. And they say, well, well how can we celebrate success when the customer is not happy? So on time on budget was not complete. So they said it has to be on experience. So that’s Oh x so it was on time on budget on experience, and now it’s called auto boxing. It’s a vert and we have to out Robots, it’s in their nature in their DNA. So the developers and the business are extremely happy and only happy when the customers happy.

Eveline Oehrlich 25:09
Wow, fantastic. You know, after, let’s say 40 years, and it the no frustration is very, very motivational, because I have done all kinds of work design development, support, I carried a pager in the early stages. And that was the most frustrating time of my IT career. So this is absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much. For those who are listening, the XLR pocket book, I will make sure that I will share with you the website, it’s actually pretty easy. Go look there. If you have specific questions, reach out to me. I know where to find Marco. Now, Michael, I have one more question. This has nothing to do well, slightly. It has to do with experience, but not necessarily with tech. What do you do for fun?

Marco Gianotten 26:01
Well, I do a lot of things for fun. I like read but especially I am ambidextrous golfer, so I play left hand the right hand. So I’m a masochist, that plays against himself. So I do nine holes left hand and line holes, right handed so and it’s a very interesting way. It’s also related to Chinese sword fighting. So that’s a very non traditional way of playing golf. And a second I love cooking. I started cooking for toddlers cooking classes and, and read the thing because taste is so important for people healthy food. But also if you have people only or maybe with dementia and you you start to taste of your youth that’s really important. So I wanted to be chef my life I turned out to work in it. But I still I started working as a teenager in the kitchen. And that’s still one of my biggest hobbies and making people happy with food is also a passion.

Eveline Oehrlich 26:57
Fantastic. We have more in common than you think. I also play golf but only right hand. So when you come down to where I live, we can go and you can teach me the other way. I love to cook. I always pride myself with that I’m the best cook in in my family. And when I go to a restaurant, I always say I can cook better than I can make this better than these people. So I can cook for you. So come on down. Well, yeah, thank you so much for this very, very enlightening conversation. We have been talking to Marco Gianotten and founder and CEO of Giarte Marco again, thank you for joining me today on the Humans of DevOps Podcast. Again, for our listeners, if you’d like to learn more about the axillae pocketbook keep And last but not least humans of DevOps has is produced by the DevOps Institute. Our audio production team includes Julia Pape, my good friend and Brendan Lay, my good friend as well. I’m Humans of DevOps Podcast Executive Producer Eveline Oehrlich. If you would like to join us on a podcast in the future, please contact us at humans of DevOps podcast at DevOps institute that calm Boy, that’s not a good name. It’s a mouthful. Thank you again, I’m Evelyn earlyish. Talk to you soon.

Narrator 28:24
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Humans of DevOps Podcast. Don’t forget to join our global community to get access to even more great resources like this. Until next time, remember, you are part of something bigger than yourself. You belong.

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