Fail4Lib Failing with graceand style... or not. Jason Casden and Andreas Orphanides NCSU Libraries(jmcasden|akorphan)@ncsu. edu
Outline1. Identifying and managing failure2. Failure anxiety!3. Talking about failure4. Lightning talks
Outcomes1. I like to think about wrongness and failure a. Can we talk about it in a productive way? b. Can we improve the ways we handle, seek, or discuss failure?2. Is this kind of workshop useful? a. There will be a survey.
Readings1) The Long, Dismal History of Software Project Failure (Coding Horror)http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/05/the-long-dismal-history-of-software-project-failure.html2) Sowing Failure, Reaping Success (New York Times)http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/07/sowing-failure-reaping-success-what-failure-can-teach/3) On Being Wrong (Kathryn Schulz via TED)http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong.html
Some flavors of failure● Technical failure● Failure to effectively address a real user need● Overinvestment● Outreach/Promotion failure● Design/UX failure● Project team communication failure● Missed opportunities (risk-averse failure) (!)● Failure to launch
Hosted by Nina McHale and Chris Evjy, featuring Monique Sendze, Jason Battles, Rachel Vacek, and Steve Teeri.
Breakout 1: Understanding and dealing with failure in your own practice● What are the symptoms of failure?● How do you identify an incipient failure and try to recover/adjust?● What do you do after a project has failed? How do you make failure valuable? (Post-mortems, recovery, etc....)● How do you plan for the unknown when beginning a project?● How do you manage risk to mitigate potential damage when undertaking work in new areas?
Readings1) Mitt Romney learns the hard way: mission critical systems are called that for a reason (ArsTechnica)http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/11/inside-team-romneys-whale-of-an-it-meltdown/2) The Therac-25 disaster: the dangers of a “nothing will go wrong” mentalityShort version (CalPoly software engineering): http://users.csc.calpoly.edu/~jdalbey/SWE/Papers/THERAC25.htmlFull report (Nancy Levison, PI of the Therac-25 investigation) -- Optional, but a fascinating read:http://sunnyday.mit.edu/papers/therac.pdf3) How risk averse is too risk averse? Bruce Schneier on "Cover Your Ass" security policy (Wired)http://www.wired.com/politics/security/commentary/securitymatters/2007/02/72774?currentPage=all
2: THERAC-25 & software control● Risk management and risk severity● High-risk software dev anti-practices ○ Inherited software, new hardware ○ Poor code design and management ○ Redundant hardware checks? ○ Test environment / reality mismatch● Limits and risks of software control● Opaque error reporting● Denial
3: TSA CYA● Hindsight-based security practices● Relative risk versus perceived risk● "Just in case" thinking● Visible but ineffective "security theater"● What drives risk management decisions?
Breakout 2: Wheres the sweet spot?● How could these problems have been avoided, or their damage mitigated?● How can we manage the need for assigning blame? How do we focus on moving forward after a failure? Are there cases where finding a responsible party is warranted?● What liabilities are associated with too great a focus on blame/responsibility? What liabilities are associated with setting aside the assignment of responsibility?● What are the worst case scenarios for your own work? How does this affect your risk management choices?
Readings1) James Dyson on living a life of failure (37 Signals)http://37signals.com/svn/posts/408-james-dyson-on-living-a-life-of-failure2) Quantity always trumps quality (Coding Horror)http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2008/08/quantity-always-trumps-quality.html3) Blameless PostMortems and a Just Culture (Etsy: Code as Craft)http://codeascraft.etsy.com/2012/05/22/blameless-postmortems/
Balancing credibility and flexibilityCertainty is a limited resource early onThis isnt an excuse for poor planning orcommunication
Breakout 3: Surviving failure, risk, and the unexpected with grace.● How do you prepare colleagues for unexpected outcomes?● What is your organization’s approach to risk and failure? ○ Is risk well-tolerated/well-managed? ○ What are the consequences of a failed project? ○ Is failure seen as an endpoint -- a negative outcome to an endeavor -- or merely a step in the development process?● How do you talk about “failure” with your colleagues? Supervisors? Stakeholders? Patrons? Reports? What kind of language do you use?