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RACHEL SANDERS 
PYCON UK
people -> systems
unhappy 
mediocre 
stagnant
is this inevitable?
¯_(ツ)_/¯ 
it depends
large 
scalable 
fault-tolerant 
systems of people
Lessons from Strangers: 
Better Engineering 
through 
Not Doing Engineering
what makes people happy at work?
people are happiest when they 
can get work done
What contributes most to your employees’ happiness? 
• Money 
• Recognition 
• Interpersonal support (respect, camaraderie...
5%
you can be trained 
out of seeing the obvious
we are makers 
people use our work to do theirs
code performance 
latency 
O(n)
what’s the human time complexity?
what you can’t see, you can’t fix
ENGINEERING UI /UX
there’s no magic 
to design
Nobody wants to use your stuff. 
They want to HAVE used it.
the 2 steps of user evaluation 
1. What is this? 
2. What can it do?
Make these answers 
as obvious as possible to find
duh. documentation.
“If you have to refer to the documentation 
every time you use a module, 
find (or build) a new module.” 
- Kenneth Reitz
get the API right, 
and the rest will follow
Your users have better things to do. 
Let them.
“I want to make software that’s tolerated” 
- nobody, ever
You ask, and you listen
why don’t we use this?
like we got time for that
how do you change a culture?
“safety culture”
2 
Lost workdays per 100 workers, 2012 (u.S) 
3 
4 4 
7 
11 
12 
9 
6 
3 
0 
Chemical Steel Construction Mining AIr Transp...
happens
Problem: 
sometimes happens
Attempt #1
Problem: People
people 
make mistakes 
push the envelope 
don’t follow the rules
Attempt #2 
Industry used More Bureaucracy!
It wasn’t very effective.
“Management systems are primarily rational inventions, 
defined on paper in offices and capable of 
objective evaluation i...
Attempt #3 
Acceptance
People are going to screw up 
People have free will and opinions 
Nobody wants to read the damn manual
…but most people want to do the right thing
Solution: change the culture
“We believe that to influence culture 
you need more than management.”
leaders drive culture, not management
each team responsible for safety 
address root cause for accidents 
plan for mistakes
88% decline in lost work days 
Zero incidents in 2013
10 
LOST WORKDAYS FOR AIR TRANSPORT PER 100 Workers 
8 9 
8 
7 7 
11 
10 
9 
8 
7 
6 
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 
Sourc...
Culture can be changed
Let’s make this a thing
human design patterns
we’re all (potential) leaders
make stuff that’s loved, not tolerated 
(and not explodey )
Thank you! 
@trustrachel
BIBI LOGRAPHY 
• Teresa Amabile, The Power of Small Wins 
http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=40244 
• Teresa A...
BIBI LOGRAPHY 
• Target Zero: A Culture of Safety, Defence Aviation Safety Centre Journal 
2008, p22 
https://dl.dropboxus...
AT TRIBUT IONS 
• RAF Helicopter - https://www.flickr.com/photos/defenceimages/7502339574 
• Horizon Fire 2 https://www.fl...
AT TRIBUT IONS 
• Oops! https://www.flickr.com/photos/terry_wha/426980617/ 
• See no evil https://www.flickr.com/photos/ti...
PyCon UK 2014 Keynote
PyCon UK 2014 Keynote
PyCon UK 2014 Keynote
PyCon UK 2014 Keynote
PyCon UK 2014 Keynote
PyCon UK 2014 Keynote
PyCon UK 2014 Keynote
PyCon UK 2014 Keynote
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PyCon UK 2014 Keynote

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This is the keynote I gave at PyCon UK on Sept 19, 2014.

Published in: Technology
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PyCon UK 2014 Keynote

  1. 1. RACHEL SANDERS PYCON UK
  2. 2. people -> systems
  3. 3. unhappy mediocre stagnant
  4. 4. is this inevitable?
  5. 5. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ it depends
  6. 6. large scalable fault-tolerant systems of people
  7. 7. Lessons from Strangers: Better Engineering through Not Doing Engineering
  8. 8. what makes people happy at work?
  9. 9. people are happiest when they can get work done
  10. 10. What contributes most to your employees’ happiness? • Money • Recognition • Interpersonal support (respect, camaraderie) • Clear goals • Meaningful progress on work
  11. 11. 5%
  12. 12. you can be trained out of seeing the obvious
  13. 13. we are makers people use our work to do theirs
  14. 14. code performance latency O(n)
  15. 15. what’s the human time complexity?
  16. 16. what you can’t see, you can’t fix
  17. 17. ENGINEERING UI /UX
  18. 18. there’s no magic to design
  19. 19. Nobody wants to use your stuff. They want to HAVE used it.
  20. 20. the 2 steps of user evaluation 1. What is this? 2. What can it do?
  21. 21. Make these answers as obvious as possible to find
  22. 22. duh. documentation.
  23. 23. “If you have to refer to the documentation every time you use a module, find (or build) a new module.” - Kenneth Reitz
  24. 24. get the API right, and the rest will follow
  25. 25. Your users have better things to do. Let them.
  26. 26. “I want to make software that’s tolerated” - nobody, ever
  27. 27. You ask, and you listen
  28. 28. why don’t we use this?
  29. 29. like we got time for that
  30. 30. how do you change a culture?
  31. 31. “safety culture”
  32. 32. 2 Lost workdays per 100 workers, 2012 (u.S) 3 4 4 7 11 12 9 6 3 0 Chemical Steel Construction Mining AIr Transport Firefighting Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
  33. 33. happens
  34. 34. Problem: sometimes happens
  35. 35. Attempt #1
  36. 36. Problem: People
  37. 37. people make mistakes push the envelope don’t follow the rules
  38. 38. Attempt #2 Industry used More Bureaucracy!
  39. 39. It wasn’t very effective.
  40. 40. “Management systems are primarily rational inventions, defined on paper in offices and capable of objective evaluation in audits.” -Patrick Hudson
  41. 41. Attempt #3 Acceptance
  42. 42. People are going to screw up People have free will and opinions Nobody wants to read the damn manual
  43. 43. …but most people want to do the right thing
  44. 44. Solution: change the culture
  45. 45. “We believe that to influence culture you need more than management.”
  46. 46. leaders drive culture, not management
  47. 47. each team responsible for safety address root cause for accidents plan for mistakes
  48. 48. 88% decline in lost work days Zero incidents in 2013
  49. 49. 10 LOST WORKDAYS FOR AIR TRANSPORT PER 100 Workers 8 9 8 7 7 11 10 9 8 7 6 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
  50. 50. Culture can be changed
  51. 51. Let’s make this a thing
  52. 52. human design patterns
  53. 53. we’re all (potential) leaders
  54. 54. make stuff that’s loved, not tolerated (and not explodey )
  55. 55. Thank you! @trustrachel
  56. 56. BIBI LOGRAPHY • Teresa Amabile, The Power of Small Wins http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=40244 • Teresa Amabile, The Progress Principle • Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things • Patrick Hudson, Safety Management and Safety Culture: The Hard and Winding Road, https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/105439/PyConUK/Hudson%20Long% 20Hard%20Winding%20Road.pdf
  57. 57. BIBI LOGRAPHY • Target Zero: A Culture of Safety, Defence Aviation Safety Centre Journal 2008, p22 https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/105439/PyConUK/DASCJournal2008. pdf • Patrick Hudson, Achieving a Safety Culture in Aviation, http://www.atec.or.jp/sympo2010/ATEC_Sympo10_Presentation_1.pdf
  58. 58. AT TRIBUT IONS • RAF Helicopter - https://www.flickr.com/photos/defenceimages/7502339574 • Horizon Fire 2 https://www.flickr.com/photos/visionshare/4578360732/ • Patrick Hudson: Screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZDxV_6sNUQ
  59. 59. AT TRIBUT IONS • Oops! https://www.flickr.com/photos/terry_wha/426980617/ • See no evil https://www.flickr.com/photos/tim_ellis/482381094 • The Pink Nightmare https://www.flickr.com/photos/lessapathymorecake/4209375193 • D3 Line Chart http://bl.ocks.org/mbostock/3883245

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