Mental models - why saying 'I didn't know it worked that way' is a sign of expertise not incompetence

This Ignite talk advocates for DevOps engineers to show off their misunderstandings in the name of demonstrating their expertise! DevOps is fundamentally about change - creating change, recognizing change, managing the effects of intended and unintended change… you get the picture, so it stands to reason you need to continually update your mental model of how the system functions under variable load conditions, how it interacts with dependent services and how it degrades. The DevOps experts I’ve studied are masters are recognizing and vocalizing when their models are outdated and view these times as important indicators they need assistance in re-orienting.

We’ll cover:

  • What is a mental model
  • Why it’s always wrong
  • Why that doesn’t matter
  • What experts do to account for being wrong
  • How the phrase ‘wait, what?’ is a revolutionary act