Agile + DevOps West 2023 Concurrent Session : Full-Stack Psychological Safety: Go Beyond the Front End

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Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - 11:45am to 12:45pm

Full-Stack Psychological Safety: Go Beyond the Front End

When someone says DevOps, you probably think of tools: parsers, scanners, compilers, version controllers, and more. Or you may think of a cross-disciplined team with mix of skills to take a product from idea to deployment and maintenance. While DevOps does include both, tools and skilled staff are a fraction of what is needed to be successful. In this session, we will present the main ingredient for gaining the full benefits of DevOps: Psychological Safety. Unfortunately, Psychological Safety is often overlooked or over-simplified. If spoken about, it is often addressed in binary terms – either a team has it or they don’t. We will discuss the nuances of Psychological Safety by build on the model presented in the book, “The Four Stages of Psychology Safety” by Timothy Clark. However, we will extend the book’s model by adding a 5th stage and using a metaphor that will resonate with technical professionals, Full-Stack. We will discuss each layer, detailing the team behaviors exhibited and the techniques that can be used to address issues inhibiting team cohesion. By presenting Full-Stack Psychological Safety, the audience will be able to understand how the lack of Psychological Safety could be hindering their team’s DevOps practices. They should also be able to identify where their teams are in the stack and learn some methods for increasing their Psychological Safety.


It's been an interesting ride! Kara Burgan spent a decade working on Avionics and ESM systems at LM Federal Systems-Owego. Then kids came and she decided to take 15 year hiatus. During this time, she performed a lot of volunteer work with the PTA, Girl Scouts, and other organizations. Returning to work in July 2018, she has been employed with The MITRE Corporation for four years with a specialization in agile/DevSecOps transformations. 

Deanna Stanley

Deanna Stanley has had a diverse career in software engineering, starting with developing protocols for the first internet telecommunications equipment to the present where she helps government organizations adopt agile and DevSecOps processes. She has been the only female engineer in her company and is very happy to see the growth of women in the computer science industry. She believes psychological safety is the most important cultural step an organization can take, and necessary for employe retention. Deanna considers herself a PowerPoint artist and evangelizes "fluffifying" your presentations.