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Simon Lyall: DevOpsDays Wellington 2016 – Day 1, Session 1

Thu, 2016-09-29 22:04
Ken Mugrage – What we’re learning from burnout and how DevOps culture can help

Originally in the Marines, environment where burnout not tolerated
Works for Thoughtworks – not a mental health professional

Devops could make this worse
Some clichéd places say: “Teach the devs puppet and fire all the Ops people”

Why should we address burnout?
– Google found psychological safety was the number 1 indicator of an effective team
– Not just a negative, people do better job when feeling good.

What is burnout
– The Truth about burnout – Maslach and Leiter
– The Dimensions of Burnout
– Exhaustion
– Cynicism
– Mismatch between work and the person
– Work overload
– Lack of control
– Insufficient reward
– Breakdown of communication

Work overload
– Various prioritisation methods
– More load sharing
– Less deploy marathons
– Some orgs see devops as a cost saving
– There is no such thing as a full stack engineer
– team has skills, not a person

Lack of Control
– Team is ultimately for the decissions
– Use the right technolgy and tools for the team
– This doesnt mean a “Devops team” contolling what others do

Insufficient Reward
– Actually not a great motivator

Breakdown in communication
– Walls between teams are bad
– Everybody involved with product should be on the same team
– 2 pizza team
– Pairs with different skill sets are common
– Swarming can be done when required ( one on keyboard, everybody else watching and talking and helping on big screen)
– Blameless retrospectives are held
– No “Devops team”, creating a silo is not a solution for silos

Absence of Fairness
– You build it, you run it
– Everybody is responsible for quality
– Everybody is measured in the same way
– example Expedia – *everything* deployed has A/B tesing
– everybody goes to release party

Conflicting Values
– In the broadest possible sense
– eg Company industry and values should match your own

Reminder: it is about you and how you fit in with the above

Pay attention to how you feel
– Increase your self awareness
– Maslach Burnout inventory
– Try not to focus on the negative.

Pay attention to work/life balance
– Ask for it, company might not know your needs
– If you can’t get it then quit

Talk to somebody
– Professional help is the best
– Trained to identify cause and effect
– can recommend treatment
– You’d call them if you broke your arm

Friends and family
– People who care, that you haven’t even meet
– Empathy is great , but you aren’t a professional
– Don’t guess cause and effect
– Don’t recommend treatment if not a professional

Q: Is it Gender specific for men (since IT is male dominated) ?
– The “absence of fairness” problem is huge for women in IT

Q: How to promote Psychological safety?
– Blameless post-mortems

 

Damian Brady – Just let me do my job

After working in govt, went to work for new company and hoped to get stuff done

But whole dev team was unhappy
– Random work assigned
– All deadlines missed
– Lots of waste of time meetings

But 2 years later
– Hitting all deadlines
– Useful meetings

What changes were made?

New boss, protect devs for MUD ( Meetings, uncertainty, distractions )

Meetings
– In board sense, 1-1, all hands, normal meetings
– People are averaging 7.5 hours/week in meetings
– On average 37% of meeting time is not relevant to person ( ~ $8,000 / year )
– Do meetings have goals and do they achieve those goals?
– 38% without goals
– only half of remaining meet those goals
– around 40% of meetings have and achieve goals
– Might not be wasted. Look at “What has changed as result of this meeting?”

Meetings fixes
– New Boss went to meetings for us (didn’t need everybody) as a representative
– Set a clear goal and agenda
– Avoid gimmicks
– don’t default to 30min or 1h

Distractions
– 60% of people interrupted 10 or more times per day
– Good to stay in a “flow state”
– 40% people say they are regularly focussed in their work. but all are sometimes
– 35% of time loss focus when interrupted
– Study shows people can take up to 23mins to get focus back after interruption
– $25,000/year wasting according to interruptions

Distraction Fixes
– Allowing headphones, rule not to interrupt people wearing headphones
– “Do not disturb” times
– Little Signs
– Had “the finger” so that you could tell somebody your were busy right now and would come back to them
– Let devs go to meeting rooms or cafes to hide from interruptions
– All “go dark” where email and chat turned off

Uncertainty
– 82% in survey were clear
– nearly 60% of people their top priority changes before they can finish it.
– Autonomy, mastery, purpose

Uncertainty Fixes
– Tried to let people get clear runs at work
– Helped people acknowledge the unexpected work, add to Sprint board
– Established a gate – Business person would have to go through the manager
– Make the requester responsible – made the requester decide what stuff didn’t get done by physically removing stuff from the sprint board to add their own

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