All aboard the DevOps train- Our journey towards DevOps at Dutch Railways

Dutch Railways (NS) are the largest rail operator in the Netherlands, transporting over one million travelers each day. Within NS, there is plenty of bureaucracy; work is frequently done through large projects, slowly resulting in large systems. Being responsive proves very difficult, changes often take a long time to realize, and production systems can only be changed via numerous procedures and forms. The need for Agile and DevOps couldn’t have been greater. In our presentation, we would like to take you along in our journey towards DevOps - specifically, how we started virtually from scratch. We will discuss the things that really helped: creating awareness, starting experiments with DevOps practices, involving people, and sharing knowledge and experiences. We’ll also discuss the things that we struggled with: old ways of working, skepticism, measuring success, and existing contractual relations with suppliers.

Ard Westerik 

DevOps Lead NS IT, Dutch Railways (NS)

The last ten years of his professional career, Ard got heavily involved in agility topics, starting out as General Manager at an IT incubator company supporting start-ups. Followed by an assignment as IT Director for an education platform, releasing every three weeks a new version to 1.2 mln users and breaking down the monolith. In the past three years, as Manager Software Development at NS, he became actively involved in Agile, LEAN, Continuous Delivery and DevOps practices, further evolving in being an Agile leader instead of Manager. 

Huub van der Wouden

Huub started his career in the late eighties as a software engineer doing what was then called Rapid Application Development, building functional prototypes in two weeks working closely with the customer. He found that the same underlying principles could be applied while managing large software development projects, which he did before joining NS. He's been with NS since 2009 as manager of a software development department, and in the last three years he has been at the heart of their efforts to adopt Lean, Agile and DevOps practices. In his current role of program manager Mobilise - as the NS named their Agile transformation program - Huub gets to help NS become a more responsive organisation.