A few years ago, it would take as long as a week just to get a developer VM at adidas. For engineers, says Daniel Eichten, Senior Director of Platform Engineering, “it felt like being an artist with your hands tied behind your back, and you’re supposed to paint something.”

To improve the process, “we started from the developer point of view,” and looked for ways to shorten the time it took to get a project up and running and into the adidas infrastructure, says Senior Director of Platform Engineering Fernando Cornago.

They found the solution with containerization, agile development, continuous delivery, and a cloud native platform that includes Kubernetes and Prometheus. Releases went from every 4-6 weeks to 3-4 times a day, and within a year, the team got 40% of the company’s most impactful systems running on the platform. 

How did they do it? One big factor was taking into consideration the company culture; adidas has sports and competition in its DNA. “Top-down mandates don’t work at adidas, but gamification works,” says Cornago. “So this year we had a DevOps Cup competition. Every team created new technical capabilities and had a hypothesis of how this affected business value. We announced the winner at a big internal tech summit with more than 600 people. It’s been really, really useful for the teams.”

Read more about how adidas won at cloud native in the full case study, and watch Fernando and Daniel chat about what’s worked for them in this video: