Las Vegas 2020

DevOps: Approaching Cruising Altitude

A few years back American Airlines started on a journey that was originally focused on DevOps transformation within IT, but has continued to build momentum and evolve into a product delivery transformation encompassing the entire business. Come learn how American Airlines approached this journey, which has grown out of a series of questions that American realized they needed to tackle as they continued to level up. Drawing on inspiration from unicorns, early adopters/influencers in this space, as well as thought leaders in the DevOps Community, American Airlines set out to deliver value faster through automation and building leaner IT processes.

With the vision to deliver value faster guiding them, American Airlines realized that achieving this outcome required them to tackle bigger challenges across the business, including moving to a product based organizational and funding model, introducing new roles and upskilling talent, and building broad leadership support and business champions all the way up to and including their CEO. Key to their journey’s success has been not only their passionate team members who’ve done the work to transform but also the support these executive level leaders have given the transformation.


Maya Leibman

Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, American Airlines


Ross Clanton

Managing Director, Chief Architect - Technology Transformation, American Airlines



Okay to introduce our first talk of the conference. I want to talk about one of the speakers, Ross Clanton. I met Ross at the velocity conference in 2013. Back when he was director of infrastructure services at target, where he helped lead the amazing dev ops movement. There, he has been a part of this DevOps enterprise movement from the very beginning, helping create and populize practices such as a DevOps dojo and project to product. I was so happy for my friend Ross, when he told me last year that he was joining American airlines and even more so when he told me that he was going to be working for Maya, Leibman their executive vice president and CIO, who I had the pleasure of meeting back in 2016. Ross is now the chief architect and managing director for technology and transformation. I am so excited that Maya and Ross will be talking about their journey changing, how technology works has performed and why it's so especially important. Now it is such an inspiring achievement. Pre COVID American airlines had 140,000 team members offering customers 6,800 daily flights to more than 375 destinations in 61 countries serving over 200 million customers per year. And they assure us they will surely again, be there when the COVID crisis is safely behind us. I also want to note that miss Liebman is one of the most senior leaders to present at this conference, showing how the work of this community matters to people who matter. So here's Maya and Ross.


Thank you Jean. For that lovely introduction, we are super excited to be here, to talk about our journey. Uh, before I do that, you know, a friend of mine sent me a bunch of these COVID related means recently. Um, I thought this one was particularly funny. Um, but I also thought it was really apropos of what's happening right now, because I have wanted to present in-person at this conference for like the last five years since I attended it in person myself. Um, and now finally, we have a good story to tell and we've been invited to present, but it's not in person. And for me, that is a load of 2020. Uh, but regardless, we are still excited to talk about our dev ops journey, which has really grown out of a series of questions. Uh, the first question being, uh, what is DevOps? I mean, we were really starting at the very bottom at the very beginning.


And so we did what anyone does when they're learning. The first thing we did is we, uh, we read some books, we went to some conferences and if that alone right there isn't enough shameless pandering to gene Kim. We actually invited him to come and speak to us. Uh, so we had the full gene Kim experience. Um, but it was great because it gave us a lot of foundation and a lot of knowledge and it allowed us to, to really get started. So that's how we got started, but we also had to stop doing some things. One of the things we had to stop doing was making excuses. You know, when we first started hearing about DevOps and this new way of working, a lot of the example, companies were things like Spotify, and we thought, of course, they have to do this. I mean, that's easy for them.


They were born in the cloud, but then we started going to conferences and reading other things. And we started seeing companies as whose logos looked a lot more like this. And we thought, you know what? These guys probably have a mainframe or two lying around, or they probably have some legacy architecture and we probably need to stop making excuses for why we can't do this and just get started. So that's what we did. We got started. Uh, the first thing we did was try to figure out what it was that we were going to measure and set some goals around that. Uh, we formalized our tool chain and that's kind of one of the easy, first things to do because it's, uh, it's, it's pretty straight forward. Uh, we brought in some coaches and mentors from the outside who could help us with this. We started experimenting.


We knew that automation was really the key to all of this, and we just started automating things. And we got, um, really involved in, uh, in having immersive practical training we needed to learn while we were doing. And our ultimate goal in all of this was to deliver value faster. There were so many times when a business counterpart would bring something to the table, a new idea, and they'd say, well, this is what we want to do, but it's going to take it like six months or a year to get it done. And those experiences just killed me. Um, and so really the impetus behind all of this was how do we not be the long tent pole? And we knew that there was a better way of working that would help us achieve that. So, uh, so we had to figure out what it was that we were gonna measure.


And these were some of the metrics that we chose. These are really familiar to anyone and there's red accelerate or the state of dev ops report. And we didn't know exactly where we were going, but we knew that if we improved our deployment frequency, if we reduced our meantime to recovery, if we did all these things, then good things would happen. We had a lot of successes. Um, I have to say even early on, uh, one of them was the value stream mapping efforts that we went through. You know, these were great. I mean, obviously they achieved their goal of identifying, you know, all the processes and all the waste associated with them. But beyond that, they were like terrific team bonding experiences. There's nothing like sitting with your teammates and same way you do that. Um, that's what it takes for us to do something.


And then developing sort of a lot of energy around how we were going to attack it and make it better. Um, the people that came out of those efforts were just super enthusiastic, but with all of our successes, we also had plenty of setbacks as well. Um, one of the first ones was we, we started talking about this concept of minimum viable product. That's what we were going to do. We were going to do the MVP and we started talking to our business counterparts about it and they said, okay, well, those initials are okay, but we want the M to stand for maximum. We don't want you to deliver just a minimum. This should be the maximum. So that's what MVP meant to our, uh, our business colleagues initially. Um, but we had other successes, uh, as I said, we did a lot of immersive learning.


We also brought in you to me to do some self-paced learning. We developed the learning journeys, and those were also just really positive experiences, but we had other setbacks as well. For example, at our first business advocates kickoff, we invited 25 people, six people showed up. Three of them were from my own organization who were leading the effort. So that was sort of the initial stages and how we got started, how we learned about dev ops and how we started, uh, being practitioners. And that led us to our next question, finance friend, or foe, um, you know, finance thought that the project approval process was really simple and straightforward, but it really looked a lot more like this was just like months of approval cycles. You know, I used to describe it as a process that's designed to make you give up, which, you know, actually is a pretty effective way of controlling spending because you know, that people aren't really going to start the process unless they're really serious about wanting to spend the money, but it ended up making us, you know, have a financial approval process that looked a little bit like this.


Like no nothing happened without finance involvement. Uh, the projects were approved, but not any headcount in which to do them. Uh, you know, all requests got the same scrutiny regardless of how big they were, how risky the effort was, all requests got the same scrutiny, even if they were the number one top corporate priority. And we knew for sure that we were going to do it. Uh, it still went through the process and this led to a lot of really creative ways of people hiding money and finding ways to get things done. And in fact, we actually have projects that would complete before they were actually approved. So even finance knew that this model had to change. Um, but you know, there was, there was actually some, some lack of trust between the organizations. Um, you know, I heard through the grapevine that our finance colleagues had, uh, described the it organization as drunk and disorderly and, uh, and you know, they actually made a good point, which was, we have a lot of visibility as a finance organization into that third of your spend that we would call grow initiatives like new features and new functionality, new initiatives, but this other two thirds of what you spend on these run initiatives, just to, to run this, these systems, you know, we don't know what that is.


We don't know where that money's going. We don't know, uh, what the opportunities are there. And, um, and you know, they, they had a point. So we went through a pretty extensive cost mapping process where we took our products and we assigned all the costs to them, even the costs to run those systems. And it was a great, because on the it side, we could look at that and say, Hey, you know, it actually is. We're actually spending a lot of money for an experience like the gate and boarding experience, you know, is that the right place for us to be investing that much money? And at the same time, I think what finance saw when they had that visibility was there. Weren't just like huge wads of cash being thrown around at the bar. Um, there wasn't this giant, you know, amount of waste happening.


So we both learned a lot and we built up trust and that allowed us to do a pilot where we basically took some product teams. We said, here's a chunk of money. This is what you have to spend. And, uh, you develop your okay, ours and you spend this money in the way that's going to achieve them, which was, was really terrific. It allowed us to test before we rolled it out. It allowed us to really focus on accountability and outcomes and finance could really get some visibility and, uh, and see what it was working on. And, uh, and this was really successful. And it actually led in the second year for us to really scale out the model to basically do that, uh, mapping cost mapping process against all of our products. Once we had defined them and basically define a, a new funding process that looked like that pilot, where basically we were giving people the funds and telling them you have the opportunity to pivot as the context changes and use those funds in the best way to make your product awesome.


And it was, it was really a terrific moment. Um, five point is our name for a business case. And there was just this like mind blowing experience where our, our people would say, well, wait a second, you mean, I don't have to write a five point in order to, uh, to, to do this new initiative. You mean, I have this money to spend, it was, it was terrific. And it really was a huge accelerator in our journey. So that led us to, uh, sort of our third question, like, how do we know what the score is? This has been an issue for me in this journey all along. You know, I've often wished that there's like this mythical scorecard in the outfield, um, that is telling us, you know, how many runs are we putting up on the board? Like, what progress are we making?


And it's, it's kind of, um, not intuitive and it's not super easy to see. And this was the moment at which we started to really focus on, um, not just our inputs and outputs, but our outcomes. And so, you know, if we go back to sort of the year one kind of activity, we were really focused on, we have to do agile. We have to think about products. We have to migrate to the cloud and all of these things that are largely inputs in this journey. Um, we also needed to, we had also sort of talked about right, what if we knew those things, what do we get? And we thought, you know what, well, if we, you know, increase our deployment frequency, that's a really good thing. But it was finally at this point where we started talking in year three outcomes, look, all that stuff is great.


But at the end of the day, what we want to do is we want to make money. We want to improve our operation. We want to increase our customer satisfaction. We want to reduce our costs. Those are the things that we really need to focus on. And the way this looked like in year one, one of our objectives, if you go back and look at our objectives, one of them was X percent of people are going to go to agile training. And in year two, as we started focusing more on outputs, the objective sort of change to be X, percent of teams are going to up their agile maturity from this level to this level. And by the time we got to year three, agile wasn't even an objective anymore. We realized that that's, that's not the point. The inputs and outputs are great. We got to measure them, but ultimately we got to be focused on the outcome.


And that leads us to our fourth question is this whole concept around product. We had dabbled in it before, but now it was time to really fully flesh out our taxonomy. And I have to say, this was probably one of the more tortured, uh, efforts that we went through. There were so many opinions and so many different thoughts about how we should approach this. And the fact is there was no one right answer. And so finally we just said, look, get something on paper. Let's organize around that. And if it's wrong, then we'll fix it as we go along. And so we had some successes, you know, we were able to, uh, define our taxonomy. Um, but at the same time we had some setbacks, um, you know, we were shooting for one product owner per product. Um, and in some cases, you know, we got six and, um, so that wasn't, uh, quite ideal, but, um, it really speaks to the fact that there are a lot of stakeholders now, as we think about products, they're very, cross-functional in nature.


So you have a lot of stakeholders who all want a role in the product and in the journey to make it awesome. But, uh, the real education that we focused on here is that the product owner is responsible for working with the stakeholders. Um, people are going to be involved and have a say, um, but not everyone gets to be the product owner. We also had to start thinking a lot about what are the rules? What are we asking people to do? How are roles different than titles? Are those roles part of the product team? Are they part of the scout squad? Are they part of the overall grouping and portfolio? And this led to a lot of really tortured discussions as well. Um, but finally we just said, look, we're going to put something down on paper. We're going to start to work in this way and if it's wrong, then we'll fix it.


Um, we had some successes, we were able to organize around our products. Um, we developed squads around them. Um, but we had some setbacks as well. You know, for example, at our first two pizza team meeting, we really focused on that. We ate 12 pizzas. Um, so, uh, you know, we were really growing, uh, into this process and that led us ultimately to our fifth question. And that is, you know, this feels way bigger than, um, than just dev ops. You know, it's sort of like we knew what we knew, but we also knew that there was a lot that we didn't know. And there were a few things we had to do. One is we really had to bring in some external talent who had done this before, who could really help guide us and take our practice to the next level. So we brought on a celebrity, the one and only Ross Clanton pictured here.


Yes, this is our celebrity. He, um, he truly is a unicorn, uh, in his unicorn costume here. Uh, you know, he's the type of guy, he's a guru in this space, but at the same time, he's really humble. And down to earth, you know, he's somebody who can really drive for results and get things done, but he's also a really caring and empathetic leader. Um, and most importantly, he can drink beer through a unicorn head and, uh, and that makes him a unicorn in the wild, uh, right there. Um, so with that, I'm going to turn it over to Ross. And he's going to talk a little bit about how he's helped shape the journey since he's been here.


Thank you, Maya. Well,


But I think is funny actually, is that you hired someone that was trying to drink beer through a unicorn mask and tasked them with leading the transformation here. Definitely a risk taker. All right. So actually, before I move on, I want to tell a little bit of a story about how my journey started with American. And about a year and a half ago, I was invited to come here and speak at an internal dev ops conference that we were running and, or that American was running before I was here. And what was really exciting for me to see is I stayed all day at that conference and I met Maya. I met her leadership team. I saw how we were really leading from the front and really champion in driving this transformation. And really all the leaders really engaging, reaching out to me asking questions, how can we get better at this?


And it was, it was just a really inspiring and exciting experience and her and I started a conversation then about my career and what I'm doing and, and, uh, little did I know at that point in time that a year later, um, I'd be joining the company to come in and actually help lead this journey forward. And, uh, you know, it was even when a year later when I had those conversations with my, uh, it was so awesome to see how much of a leadership focus there was on this. I even spoke with our CEO, Doug Parker, and he talked about how important this transformation was to the company as well. And so I was sold, I was in, uh, and ready to do this.


So let me talk about another interesting thing about when I joined, we're not selling this transformation internally, we're, everyone's on board, it's about accelerating and executing. And that was really exciting for me to, to tackle as well, because often in the past, I've, I've had to really focus on the front end. I'm doing a lot of the selling and what really wasn't about that. It was about how do we scale this? And so this is what we're doing. Um, the vision has been set, deliver value faster. Maya shared that earlier. Uh, this is really the structure that we've put in place to drive the change across the, the business. And there's really four key pillars that we're focused on. Uh, the first being delivery excellence, which is really our practices, how we work things like product mindset, dev ops, agile, the way our teams are actually working, uh, operating excellence is how we're focusing structurally on the change.


So what do we need to do to change how work is structured and how our teams are structured? That's things like our product taxonomy, our funding model, our operating model. How do we scale prioritization across the business? Uh, those are structural things that we have to put in place to help that, um, take hold people excellence, which I truly believe is the most important focus area in this whole transformation. That is our culture. It's how we're growing our talent. It's how we're evolving our leadership behaviors. Um, all of those things are so critical for this stuff to take hold. And then finally our technology excellence, uh, track, which is really focused on setting the infrastructure, uh, foundation and the technology foundation, things like automation and platforms and move to cloud. These are all really important enablers to make, to enable these teams to move faster.


Well, that's great. So we have our vision and our strategy, but I think we all know that culture eats strategy for breakfast. And so we know, and we, we've known that we really want to double down and focus on the culture that, that we're driving forward, uh, here at American. And, uh, it's really, uh, across three key attributes, um, passionate, selfless, and accountable, which we often refer to as PSA internally. And let me just talk about how that's taking shape in our organization. Um, first bring the passion. This is about teams focused on delighting their customers every day. Uh, they're being the best at getting better. And then not only did they embrace failure, but they get stronger because of it they're selfless and how they collaborate and share across the organization. They're sharing their knowledge, they're sharing their code, they're doing things like inner sourcing and they're, they're making space for other's voices and helping others win. And then finally own it from an accountability perspective, owning the outcomes, even when they're hard and recognizing that how you do something is as important as what you do. These teams are empowered and they're going out of their way to empower others.


So that leads us to our R six question, really the question we're tackling now, which is how do we get everyone to act and think this way across the business, across the entire organization, because we're really at a stage where this isn't an it transformation. This is a business transformation. And, and that's part of what scaling this looks like in the organization. So let's talk about how we're approaching that. Interestingly, this has even further underscored by the new world that we live in. I mean, we are in a pandemic right now that is creating a lot of disruption across the industry, across many companies, not just airlines, but many, many different industries. And now more than ever, it is critical that that companies are figuring out how to do more with less, how to move faster, how to focus on their customer and how to really get zeroed in on the most important things. So these are the things that we've valued that are allowing our teams to get amazing results. Even in this, this pandemic, in this tough time that the world is in we're valuing action and doing over analysis and meetings, collaboration over silos, and people really working to collaborate across organizational boundaries, clarity of mission, being really clear on what we're going after versus trying to tackle everything. We value, empowerment over putting our personal leadership stamp on every single initiative and every effort we're trying to do, set the goals and power of the teams to get there.


We value getting something out and doing MVPs, not the maximum viable product, but the minimum viable product over getting it perfect. We can do this over hierarchy, which is a little bit more of a riff on the collaboration. We can, we can pull people together across organizational boundaries and focus on outcomes quickly, and finally finishing things over, starting and eliminating that work in progress and really going after our top priorities. So that's the world that we have been in. And what's interesting is as Maya and I were talking about how do we really drive this discussion further across the business? I really started thinking about a friend of mine in the community, Mark Schwartz. Who's an awesome thought leader in this space and awesome transformation thought leader. And he's written some really amazing books that really help, uh, help kind of orient your thinking around this space.


But Ross does, does he have a uniform costume?


Uh, I don't know if he has a unicorn costume, but I'll bet he has a Napoleon costume. Uh, and for folks that don't know what I mean, read his book, war peace in it. And you'll, you'll see all the, the similarities between the Napoleonic wars and how do you drive these changes in organizations, very creative story, but he wrote another book that has some really, really powerful quotes that we've used to really start to orient and drive this discussion across our business. Uh, and that's a seat at the table. I would encourage everyone to read that as well. This first quote, really, I think captures the essence of why we even do this. And it's the only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization's ability to learn and adapt faster than the competition in eight years of doing transformation in a few different companies. Now, I don't think any statement has ever rang more true to me on why we are doing what we're doing.


This is all about building a competitive advantage. And that's, that's exactly what we're doing here right now. All right. So that's why I think another really powerful quote that we've used to really orient how we drive the discussion with our business is how, how are our teams, our business, and it teams working together differently in this new model. And I think the simplicity in this quote is really powerful and it's, there are no requirements. We're just a team of people working together to figure out how to maximize business value. And that really at its core changes the engagement model between business and it, we're not talking about people throwing requirements over a wall to an it delivery team to pick it up and run with it. We're talking about a team of people that is made up of business stakeholders and it stakeholders and designers, and they're figuring it out together. And that is really what we're doing.


All right. So how, how will we work and how are we now working? Um, so from a planning perspective, we have we've pivoted our model and we are, we are really focused on having leaders define outcomes, uh, that are clear and measurable that are derived from what our corporate goals are. All right. And after the leaders do that, the teams can figure out the best hypothesis to test how they're going to deliver on those outcomes and how they deliver is really by focusing on small tasks that add value incrementally. And by keeping those tasks small, we're able to really finish them quickly. And the role of leaders in enabling this change has really changed as well. The leaders are there to serve the teams. And so all layers above the team are absolutely focused on removing the impediments and the constraints that the teams are facing and the way leaders engage aren't through status meetings and status reports anymore.


It's through attending what we call our playbacks, which would be like demos. They'll come into the demos, see what the teams are doing and give guidance and direction, um, in, in the moment as they're learning what's happening. All right. So now that we said that let's talk about some success stories and these are all I'm going to share three stories, all of which we've achieved in the last few months while we've actually been in a pandemic. And the first one I want to talk about is, uh, delivering our touchless kiosk in six weeks. So, you know, in this new world, it's more important than ever that our customers have a completely touchless check-in experience. Now, um, in general, they have a touchless check-in experience through their mobile app. The problem is, is if they have to check in a bag, if you have to check in a bag and get a bag tag, we send you to a kiosk and you have to start touching the kiosk to get that tag.


Well, our goal was to change that. And so what we did is the leaders got together and they set very clear outcomes. We want to encourage our customers to travel, and we believe to do that. It's really important that we get to a completely touch it, touchless checking experience, even when you have bags. So they set the goal, set the outcome, and then the teams went to work on figuring out how, and they did a three, you know, they explore three possible through these rapid design thinking sessions. And coming out of that, they zeroed in on an MVP, an MVP that they could go and start tackling. And the teams went to work, right? The leaders were out of their way. They went to work starting to prove this stuff out. And what happened the end result of that is what was interesting is our OKR hours that we set.


We said that we wanted to improve. We wanted to increase by 25% boarding pass scans to start a kiosk session. And by 25%, we wanted to increase the use of pre-paid bag functionality. In our app, we actually blew those out of the water. We achieved 145% increase in boarding pass scans and a 57% increased in the pre-paid bag functionality. Uh, and not only that, the average session time at these kiosks was reduced by 17 seconds, which is a pretty big deal. It's a long period of time that people are no longer standing in front of a kiosk. And we did that across 2100 kiosks and 230 airports in six weeks, truly an amazing accomplishment, and really goes to show, you know, where these teams have matured to in this time period. All right, let's talk about Uh, you know, a lot of people come in and talk about stories at the enterprise summit.


I know there's been plenty of stories on that, but let me tell you why this story is so powerful and why I really think it deserves to be discussed here. Um, about a year ago, team got together and they started doing an improvement kata, and they set this at the time, this crazy north star goal that said when a developer submits a pull request, their code is in production within one hour. And every step in that process is completely automated, no touch, right? No, one's touching that code after they submit that pull request. At the time that goal was laughable. Literally the people around the room were laughing out loud. I mean, they've been on a transformation journey for years. They've driven a lot of improvements in velocity, but still there was a lot of, you know, uh, integrations, technical integrations, silos, handoffs, integrated QA silos, a lot of barriers and impediments that they had to overcome to get there.


And it didn't seem possible at the time, but what they did is they set out on a journey to just continuously improve and clear at one impediment at a time tackling the next biggest problem until they ultimately achieve this outcome. And really what they did over that year, as they tackled process barriers, they tackled that integrated QA silo. They tackled more tests, automation, they moved to Kubernetes. They did a whole bunch of technical things to kind of help the architecture and the environment get there as well. And a year later, we now are able to do PR based pull request based, no touch deployments, and the lead time to get changes into the environment, dropped from three weeks to one hour, which is just mind boggling. If you ask me and really what a, what an amazing accomplishment. And in three short weeks, since we've been in this model, we've already done 40 plus deployments in that space.


Uh, not only that we were able to blow up the release counter. So we got rid of the whole release calendar where we used to batch different releases together so that we could deploy together. That's gone. And so we're kind of moved away from that integrated, uh, release train approach so that we were doing before. So really powerful story. All right. Last story. I don't want to just talk about our digital spaces, right? Let's talk about the legacy caught space, right. And what I'm here to say is yes, you can do the DevOpsy stuff and your legacy cot spaces as well. And what we've done. Our loyalty product runs on our Siebel, uh, on the CBO platform. And, um, what we did this year is we moved it to a hybrid cloud model and we invested in building our CICB pipelines to really automate delivery and infrastructure end to end for this product.


And, um, what's happened since we've done. That is the teams are deploying much more frequently in the last couple months, since we've moved to this model, we've already had 50 plus automated deployments in this space. And what's interesting is that the conversation and the dynamic change between the business and it in this space to one where the business was waiting on it often before to get changes in for what they were looking for. And now we can actually deploy changes more frequently and seamlessly than the businesses even ready to validate and accept, which is exciting because it's changing the conversation. And now the, the product team is looking at to collectively the business and it folks in the product team are looking at how do we optimize that end to end process to achieve higher deployment frequency? Uh, beyond that we had some other really good benefits with this effort too, including, uh, you know, the cost optimization through the cloud because we can spin up and spin down environments as needed. Now we're not keeping them out there. Um, we actually improve the performance of our loyalty product as well, which has had really, really good feedback from our agents, um, in the business, the customers of the product. All right, I'm going to hand it over to Maya now to really talk about how the conversation is changing at the executive level.


Thanks Ross, why don't you stay up here with me? Um, as Russ said, you know, this, this whole, all of these examples that he gave sort of fit within the question of how do we get everybody to talk and think and act this way. And, um, we realized that we actually have to give people the words, give them the vocabulary. Um, and so we came up with some of this before and after chart, before, you know, a leader might've said something like, I want to create a pop-up to incentivize people to download the mobile app. And afterwards, what we want our leaders to say is we need to shorten lines to the airport. That's our objective. You go figure out how before we might've said, Hey, what did that other airline do? And now we're saying, what do our customers value before we might've said, well, when will this project be done?


To be honest, we probably still say that a lot. Um, but what we really want to pivot towards is, you know, when are we going start seeing value from this? Uh, we might've said before, uh, what went wrong here? And what we want to say going forward is what did we learn here? And how can I as leader help you, uh, before we might've asked for something really huge, like, I want this completely new website, and now we're saying, what is the first thing that we can try to experiment with with this idea? And in the past, we might've said, what is delivery transformation? That's sort of our internal name for this journey. And now we want leaders saying, where are my POM poms? Um, because we need all of our leaders to be cheerleaders. And frankly, we're, we're, we're getting there. And, um, you know, uh, Ross mentioned at the beginning, uh, in the recruitment process of him, I got him, uh, to talk to our CEO so that he could see that, um, one of our biggest cheerleaders is the, uh, is the chairman of the company. And, uh, and so now we'd like all of you to see, uh, as well, one of our biggest cheerleaders. So dad, do you remember that time when I interviewed you and I made you dress up like Chewbacca and talk like a walkie,


I do,


Well, don't worry. I'm not going to make you do that again. In fact, this interview is not going to have anything to do with star wars at all. Really. I just want to ask you three quick questions. You know, the first one is when we talk about delivery transformation and this journey that we're on here at American airlines, w what does that kind of mean for you? How do you, how do you interpret that?


That's just, it's a different way of doing business, particularly as it relates to it. And it's really about the entire business it's making this more efficient. We get, we get projects done more quickly. Uh, the projects that are delivered are more designed to what the user needs. Um, all those things that just made it are already making a huge difference in how we manage projects in America.


That's great. What, like, who do you think has responsibility for doing this?


Uh, now what I've really learned to this and watching is, and what am I most really proudest? The, it is, these are not, these are the champions of delivering transformation is not really ID anymore. It's the business leaders who embraced it, and they're getting inner, seeing how much faster they're getting your work done, and they are, they're spreading the word everywhere else, and that's making a big difference.


Awesome. Okay. Last question. Um, so who is your favorite character in star wars? I know, but I tricked you. I was lying. Everything's about star wars. Who's your favorite character like? Oh, yeah. Duh obvious. All right. Thanks very much. I appreciate it. Uh, so as you can see, we, uh, we're fortunate enough to have cheerleaders, uh, even at the very top of the company. Um, and that brings us towards the end of the presentation. Ross, why don't you talk about what we, what we could need from this community?


Yeah. You know, for me and for us, I think what's really important is to build collaboration with this community. We want to connect with more, with more of you, learn how we can go tackle some of these problems. I know many of you are tackling these problems as well, and we'd just love to connect and start those conversations. So during the networking time, that's set up, please come spend some time with us. I'll make sure we have some other folks from our organization there to connect and talk about this stuff too.


That'd be great. All right. A couple of last things, one, I just want to give a huge shout out to the it organization here. Um, you know, I just have the most awesome organization. I can get emotional when I think about how much progress we've made in this journey and where we were and where we've come to. And it happened as a result of, um, the leadership of so many people in this organization who, uh, who have really just persevered change is hard. There's no question. Um, but I'm really in awe of this terrific organization. And then finally, one last message to all of you sticking with the COVID meme theme. Uh, I want to make sure that everybody is, uh, is recognizing that it's, uh, the planes are clean and, uh, and it's, it's time for everybody to start traveling again.