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In 2017-2019, Marcel de Vries, Matthias Olausson (Solidify), and I created the Global DevOps Bootcamp. This worldwide event centered around DevOps and Azure, aimed at local communities globally to provide a unique event with uniform content. It was a huge success. In the last year, we built a community of 90 locations around the world with about 10,000 participants. But then… COVID-19 hit us hard. Not only on a personal level, where some of us lost people or became very sick but also on a professional level. We started working remotely, did not visit our offices, did not connect with others, and, with that, we lost our DevOps community. After two attempts to reboot the event, we gave up. People did not want or dare to attend a physical location, and thus, the Global DevOps Bootcamp faded away.

A New World Needs a New Event

In November 2023, Marcel de Vries, Rob Bos, Michiel van Oudheusden, and I visited GitHub Universe, a physical conference around GitHub. There we met many people from our old DevOps community. We met, talked, and reminisced about the Global DevOps Bootcamp. People were still enthusiastic about it and kept asking when we would do it again. We had a talk with Martin Woodward, Anisha Pindoria, and Brian Randell from GitHub, and with Andrew Flick from Microsoft. With their support and sponsorship, we decided to do it again.

The Global DevOps Experience

After deciding to proceed, Marcel and I had a beer, which always leads to great ideas. We discussed what we would do, what we would teach people, and how to reboot the community. Our bootcamp in 2019 was a combination of challenges, fun videos, and a lot of automation. These components should definitely be included, but we needed more. Marcel and I like to think big and provide people with an experience. Thus, the name of the event was born: the Global DevOps Experience. But how do you create an experience?

We started with the basics. What are we going to teach people nowadays? We wanted the event to focus on GitHub, Azure, and AI, and also on this new concept, Platform Engineering. So we got to work. Together with Rob Bos and Michiel van Oudheusden, we came up with topics: Codespaces, Actions and deployment protection, GitHub Copilot, GitHub Advanced Security, and AI in your application. Content-wise, we were set. But then… how do we make this fun?

The Birth of Globoticket

All these technical topics are great, but for us at Xebia, technology is always a means to an end. We always start with the WHY. Why use this technology? Why would you use it? What problem do you want to solve? This should be the start of the experience. Not only teach people about technology but teach them the WHY and have fun while doing it. To create this storyline, we invented a fictitious company called Globoticket.

Globoticket is a fictitious company that sells concert tickets online. And because this company, like any company, is also an IT company, we can think of all kinds of issues to be solved within this company.

Privacy Settings

So the stage was clear: Globoticket. But then we needed some actors. The problems we want to solve and the WHY behind these problems… Who would be coping with these in any company? Of course! A CEO with a vision, a COO who needs to make this work, a CISO concerned about security, a Product Owner who needs to make it happen, and a Lead Developer who needs to help build it. And of course, the main actors: the people from our community—Platform Engineers, DevOps Engineers, Developers, etc., who want to learn and can play the main part during the event day to actually build the stuff we envisioned.

The Creative Process

So we had our challenges (vaguely), we had our main stage (Globoticket), and we had our characters. Now we needed to bring it to life! We started by writing the characters and came up with our cast. ChatGPT is brilliant at making great descriptions of stereotypes if you feed it with ideas. So that’s how our main cast came to life:

Robert Green – CEO: Charismatic and visionary but tends to make promises without fully grasping the implications. He’s enthusiastic and can sell any idea to anyone but relies heavily on his team to figure out the details.
Emily Chase – COO: Extremely organized and practical. She’s the one who has to implement Robert’s grand plans. Known for her patience but also for her dry wit, which comes out when things get too chaotic.
Jordan Sparks – PO: Business-savvy with a knack for market trends but sometimes lacks technical depth, leading to unrealistic product features or timelines. A micromanager eager to ship things offshore to get them done. Often seen with a smartwatch and the latest smartphone.
Alex Fletcher – Lead Dev: Brilliant and resourceful, Alex is the go-to problem solver. Despite being somewhat introverted, Alex’s skills are unparalleled, making them indispensable.
Morgan Blair – CISO: Highly cautious and always alert, Morgan is constantly worried about compliance and security threats. He can be a bit paranoid but is incredibly dedicated to safeguarding the company.

To start rallying people, we decided to create “confession” videos where they are already sharing their ideas online.

For this, it already became a multi-person organization. My colleagues Kees Verhaar and Tijmen van der Kamp have video creation as their hobby and passion. So they jumped in and made this vision a reality. We also needed actors. Because we always try to have a lot of fun with video and such, we already knew a few people to ask and some new people to raise their hands. This led to this amazing cast!

Creating the Content

But then… we had videos, some promotion, and quite a few people worldwide who trusted us to organize an event called the “Global DevOps Experience” but actually had no clue what they were saying yes to :-). Up to us to create content. At Xebia, we organized an evening where we asked our colleagues for help. Warning upfront: we are a consultancy firm, and we get paid by the hour. This is a project fully in extra, unpaid time. This requires dedication, but people raised their hands and committed to making this a success. We started dividing the work: building challenges, a scoreboard, the Globoticket Intranet, the content, onboarding on the public website, provisioning the event for 600-800 teams worldwide, and, of course, building our event back-end. Our challenge builders Sofie Wisse, Hidde de Smet, Jasper Gilhuis, Jesse Houwing, Duncan Roosma, Geert van der Cruijsen, Marcel de Vries, and I created code, fixed branches, step-by-steps, and instructions for all this cool stuff.

The Event Flow

How can we guide participants through a storyline that makes sense and keeps them in an immersive experience? We came up with the Globoticket Intranet, where people can read news messages to see some context.


The moment they press “mark as read,” they get a call from one of our personas explaining the challenge ahead. Then people will be redirected to GitHub, where the PO created an issue for them.

But how can we keep people engaged if they get stuck? Well, what would you do normally? Ask questions in the GitHub issue or ask for help. To enable this, we created a backend that caters for this. GitOps to the MAX! When you put in a comment like help or /fix, our automation creates a Wiki page with steps or a Pull Request and a branch with the full code. This way, people really stayed within Globoticket. To make this work, we used GitHub automation in the form of GitHub Apps. My colleague Erick Segaar really owned this. He did all the work to enable all our challenge builders and other systems to integrate smoothly with this backend, which scaled like crazy because of the great architecture.


Then, also as part of our vision, we do not like it if participants need to Yak Shave.

We want people to come in and get to work. This sounds simple, but it is not. People come in with different devices, rights, locked-down machines, and different accounts. So we created everything for them:

– A GitHub repo with all the WORKING code
– Working pipelines for 3 microservices that did a build and deploy to Azure
– Kicking off the pipelines so we made sure the code running came from their repo
– Creating AAD accounts for Azure
– Connecting DNS names to their instances of the website
– Deploying their stuff to Azure
– Setting up secrets in their GitHub so they can directly build and run

And that for 600-800 teams, in different regions, keeping costs under control. This amazing work was done by Rob Bos and Sander Trijssenaar.

Organization Automation

And then the public website: where first venues could register, then people at a venue. Where people need to register, get invited to our GitHub org, get emails, communicate with venues, etc. And on Event Day, onboard to the experience, select a team, and get started with this team that was provisioned by Rob and Sander. All this work was done by Michiel van Oudheusden. He used GitHub as our backend. Venues could work with GitHub Issues and Pull Requests to see the status and update their own registration details. Basically, their own event page was administered in GitHub.

Intranet and Scoreboard

To create a sense of competition, we created a scoreboard where teams could see how they were doing. This all integrated nicely with the backend and the Message Queue. Also, the events were shown on the Intranet where people started challenges. This work done by Rutger Buiteman and Jesse Wellenberg was fundamental for the event-day experience!

Event Day

And then, after months of work, hundreds of hours of free time, and long nights, it was Event Day. We had over 1,200 people registered and around 40 venues in about 25 countries. Amazing!! We rebooted the community! We started in Japan and moved around the sun. Slowly we moved to India, where we saw our backend ramping up.

But everything went smoothly. People followed the storyline, and we saw photos coming in from all over the world


These kinds of events give me a tremendous amount of energy. Transforming an idea into reality with a group of dedicated people is something I can do for weeks, months, and years. I want to really thank my colleagues at Xebia Microsoft Services for all their hard work and dedication—time away from friends and family to make this happen for the community! This is what sets us apart. And thank you, Marcel de Vries, for your relentless support to just do this!

Also, a huge shoutout to Brian Randell, Martin Woodward, and Andrew Flick for supporting us from within GitHub and Microsoft!

Up to next time!

Run your own in-company DevOps Experience, in person or virtually, at your company for your colleagues, teams, and communities. Read more

René van Osnabrugge
As Global Consulting Director, Rene enables consultants to help organizations and leadership teams to build an engineering culture that allows them to build, deliver, and operate software in a secure and compliant way. With a focus on both the technical and cultural aspects of a company, Rene helps clients transform their work processes, operating model, and culture to become high-speed, innovative, and productive. Rene is passionate about learning new technologies and exploring the cultural and people aspects of companies. He believes that by focusing on both technical implementation and cultural development, we can drive our industry forward. He loves sharing his knowledge and insights at conferences and training events. As a frequently asked speaker at well-known industry events like GitHub Universe, NDC, Techorama, AllDayDevOps, NDC, and Visual Studio Live!, Rene is known for his expertise in Microsoft Azure, DevOps, and DevOps Culture. In addition to being a Microsoft MVP since 2012, he is also the founder of the popular community events Global DevOps Bootcamp and Global DevOps Experience.

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