The year 2022 has been big for Blameless. We’ve landed new enterprise customers, made major improvements to the platform, and added key new players to our team. A special addition we’re celebrating this month is our new VP of Product Management, Ming Gong. Ming comes from Atlassian where he led the Bitbucket Cloud product team as the head of product, and IBM before that. In recognition of this momentous occasion, Ming agreed to sit down for a short interview with Aaron Lober, our Director of Product Marketing.
So Ming, what attracted you to Blameless in the first place?
My time with IBM, and Attlassian, gave me a front row seat for the pain engineering teams go through trying to balance developing new features with being on call. As a product leader I got to experience that from two angles: observing customers as they interacted with my products, and watching my own engineering team as they built our products. In both cases, I saw operations eating up engineering resources causing development velocity to stall. For the DevOps or SRE folks I worked with, the pain was real. They could receive hundreds of alerts a day. Pinning down which alerts needed to be responded to and deciding how to respond was and is overwhelming.
I’ve always been interested in solving people’s hard problems. This combination of poor visibility and process standardization is creating resource drain and both the organization and the individual engineer are suffering. Coming to Blameless was an opportunity to join a team full of people committed to building something that makes life easier for the engineers I’ve been working alongside all these years.
Did anything in particular stand out to you about Blameless when you were investigating the market space?
What struck me about Blameless during my due diligence was the cultural focus on learning and incremental improvement as a pathway to greater reliability and stronger teams. That ethos really resonated with me. The Blameless team had a clear recognition that when approached with a learning mindset, incident management could be a gateway to more efficient engineering. They were architecting a platform for identifying where the hot spots are within a product and where organizations need to invest their team’s engineering hours or budget.
That is a much loftier goal than the reactive incident response point solutions they're competing with. So many competitors in the market space seemed to be hyper focused on chatbots. Those have value, but they’re really only a partial means to an end. Without the appropriate consideration for learning and retrospective, they’re essentially bot initiated workflow engines that leave DevOps teams stuck, responding to the same incident types, over and over again, without ever making progress towards faster resolution, harm reduction or greater system resilience.
It seemed clear to me that Blameless is architected to create a consistent incident flow, while also collecting the information that customers need to improve their incident response process. Things like “MTTx metrics” or “number of repeat incidents” were being captured and tracked in the Blameless reliability insights dashboards. In my time in the industry, insights like these have been important to many teams I have worked with to assess and prioritize investments.
A simple way to describe the difference was that the Blameless team seems to have the deepest commitment to helping DevOps and SRE teams foster best practices.
You mentioned best practice… I know you’ve read the Google SRE Handbook… What do you think the potential is for the Reliability market?
This space is really exciting! With so many teams shifting towards service oriented architecture, engineering is becoming more operational — essentially making reliability everyone’s job.
The engineering team is also usually one of the largest investments a company makes, so of course the market for solutions that help business leaders optimize that investment is going to grow. Incident management tools, when properly envisioned, can help reduce the resource cost of the incident flow and that means big savings for users.
Another thing to consider: reliability is critical if you want happy customers. When every company is becoming a software company, investments in reliability are critical to both their reputation and the value they provide.
All in all, this is an important and growing space. I think we’ll see continued big investment both from customers and investors. I for one am looking forward to the growth journey.
So are we, Ming. Welcome to the team!
For more information about how Blameless can bring you into the next era of reliability, check out a demo today!