The Biases Confronting SREs

Date Tuesday, 25 October, 2022 - 14:45–15:05
Presenter David Owczarek


SRE and the underlying practices have evolved over decades, from the early days of Unix wizards through the more recent SRE and devops movements. SREs play a key role in operating services that drive massive amounts of global business and trade. But the role itself is still awkwardly incorporated into so many organizations. And with this awkwardness comes bias.

To correct for these biases, we must raise awareness by identifying them. Then we can find allies to help in the day to day work of correcting them. That means acknowledging them, having candid and open conversations about them, and then making decisions on how to mitigate them.


  • Industry stereotypes
    • See slides
  • SRE origination bias: does applying SRE as it originated at Google to smaller companies work/make sense?
  • Is SRE just an implementation of DevOps? Author disagrees, SRE and DevOps have fundamentally different goals/origins (SRE to increase reliability, DevOps to accelerate software delivery)
  • Finding organizational bias
    • Retrospective: Are there biases in how you hire, compensate, retain talent?
    • Reactive: Is there a safe and effective mechanism to report bias?
    • Proactive: Do you use those learnings to target further inspection of policies and practices?