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Promise Theory - What Is It?

When he came to us from the future, Mark Burgess didn’t just bring CFEngine back with him. He also brought Promise Theory.

Promise Theory is a simple yet powerful conceptual model that helps think about relationships between certainty and uncertainty.

Why are those relationships important to consider?

In this talk I will present a brief introduction to Promise Theory.

• Describe what Promise Theory is in layman’s terms.

• Share examples of how we can use Promise Theory to construct a convincing illusion of certainty out of underlying uncertainty.

These examples will consider, not just technical systems, but also the social ones (such as DevOps) that bear ultimate responsibility for service quality.

Jeff Sussna

Ingineering.IT is a virtual agency founded and led by Jeff Sussna. We facilitate Adaptive IT through teaching, coaching, and strategic design.


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  • Jeff S.

    Fantastic questions and discussions. Really gratifying to see people chewing on the material in a very thoughtful and productive way. Thanks, everyone!

    June 19, 2014

  • David

    Very interesting presentation. Setting expectations is always important.

    June 19, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, last minute conflict. Will there be slides or presentation notes? A book suggestion to read?

    June 17, 2014

    • Jeff S.

      Reading list:
      "In Search of Certainty", Burgess
      "Promise Theory", Bergstra/Burgess
      http://blog.ingineeri...­

      June 17, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks, I will take a look at these.

      June 18, 2014

  • James K.

    Sorry everybody I had a last minute conflict too. I can't wait to actually make it to one of these events and meet some of you. There sure is a lot of good demand for people with your skill set. If anybody would ever like to talk I'd love to meet you.

    June 18, 2014

  • Andy D.

    Really disappointed I'm going to miss this one, going to be up north on vacation.

    April 18, 2014

    • Jeff S.

      We are less sympathetic than we otherwise might be :-).

      June 17, 2014

  • Sakthi

    when can we expect DevOps Bangalore? should we need to think about these meet ups for offshore(India) as 80% of Dev and Ops associates are operating from offshore.

    May 28, 2014

    • Donnie B.

      When somebody organizes it. =)

      June 17, 2014

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