Conf42: Site Reliability Engineering 2021


Avoiding Goodhart's Law - Use SLO's as Tools Not Cudgels

Marco Coulter
Technical Evangelist @

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The concepts of SLI, SLO and Error Budget are there to balance risk (rates of change) and reward (business contentment). Using such metrics as red lines to punish teams, or force acceptance of risk by the business is missing the point. My experiences from SLA’s in service contracts for hospitals inform this conversation identifying that SLI, SLO and Error Budgets are better as a basis for conversations about the stress an application can withstand, and the three dimensions the measures should cover.

This session takes Goodhart’s law from economic policy as a frame for reconsidering SLI’s and SLO’s, and offers a few hints for approaching the negotiation meetings. Leave this session inspired to approach your SLO negotiations in the best possible way.

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