How Liberty Mutual Empowers Developers Through Education

November 21, 2019 Scott Kelly

Can a new engineer at your company deploy an app to your cloud on their first day? At Liberty Mutual they can. To achieve this lofty goal, the insurance-industry leader first streamlined the developer experience using automation and self-service. Liberty Mutual then took things further and built a robust practice of continuous education to foster a team of elite performers. 

In their talk at SpringOne Platform 2019, solutions engineer Miranda LeBlanc and security architect Matt Ruel from the Liberty Mutual Platform Enablement Team share the company’s 10-year journey to DevOps maturity; what they learned along the way; and how they have created a culture of learning and continuous improvement backed by diverse, immersive education opportunities designed for developers.

Here are a few quotes from the session that highlight what they have learned.

It’s more than just culture and tools

Ruel: “In order to accelerate our delivery of business value and our delivery of software to the cloud we have to empower our developers. We learned very early on in our journey that first and foremost you have to put the right culture and the right tools in place and the trust to empower your developers to get that job done. That gets you part of the way there… and then it’s about looking at where we are, where we have gaps, and trying to meet people where they are and provide educational opportunities to optimize a diverse community of developers.

“Focusing on the developer experience alone just hasn't been enough from what we've found. So we did a user research study over about six months. And when we looked at [the data], 68 percent of those data points all pointed to knowledge as being our next opportunity area.”

Make learning immersive

LeBlanc: “There's still a lot of assumed knowledge in our pipelines. Teams would like a little bit more training as they're learning how to take their applications and migrate to the cloud. And then the process for setting it up—people aren't sure if they are following the most current standards. So we believe that by adding a focus on education, we can get to that true developer empowerment.

“The problem with that type of [technical] training is that you learn about the specific technology, but there is this gap between that technology and how to apply it using our own tools and platforms. So, something we've started to focus on is how can we focus on having more immersive learning opportunities [such as company-wide hackathons].

“Another immersive experience that we enjoy are Pivotal Dojos and Labs engagements. We started doing our labs engagements and our dojos a few years ago and it's an opportunity for us to make it real. We have [Pivotal] experts coming in and they teach us about our processes, they teach us how to work in different ways: using XP, and using test driven development.”

Automation is key

Ruel: “If you can automate getting your application to the cloud, but there's no security on it, that doesn't get you very far. You get your application deployed, but then you have to wait a month to turn around tickets to get things set up with DNS and identity and all that sort of stuff. So, we started to build a lot more of that automation into the pipeline by engaging every part of the IT organization in the process.

“Automate everything on the path from code to production as much as possible … It's all about developer self-sufficiency these days. If something requires a ticket, it's not real.” 

Learn more

How Liberty Mutual made a culture of constant education key to its digital transformation

How the Home Depot became a digital powerhouse

For developers or designers, actually trying is the key to hiring digital talent

The 5 pillars of digital transformation

The 2019 Accelerate State of DevOps Report webinar


About the Author

Scott Kelly

Scott is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for VMware Tanzu Observability by Wavefront. Prior to Tanzu Observability, Scott spent 3 years as a product marketing manager for Dynatrace. He's an avid exerciser who's addicted to CrossFit (and the shoes).

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