Prevent Heroism: How to Work Today to Reduce Work Tomorrow

Production is down, again, and The Lone Engineer worked all day and night to save the business! Overtime so routine that’s it’s no longer “over”, it’s “expected”. We create these scenarios by supporting strenuous environments and rewarding Save the Day behaviors. So let’s discuss how to change that.

Reactive work is a massive time and value sink, but unfortunately existing gaps in team structure and/or metrics don’t capture “what’s missing”. For example, how do you track calls not placed, outages that never occurred? Traditional structures and metrics don’t necessarily capture this shift, yet everyone benefits from a better user experience - i.e. the unplaced call or outage.

In this talk I’m going to discuss:

  • Level set: explain the concept “upstream work”, as defined by Dan Heath in his book Upstream
  • Explain why this focus is important
  • Discuss how teams can start to shift from reactive work to proactive work, i.e. move upstream; including shifting reward structures away from Heroes
  • Cover how to use metrics to support this shift in practice



Quintessence Anx

Quintessence has worked in the IT community for over 10 years, including as a database administrator and a DevOps / Cloud / Infrastructure engineer. She was a core contributor to Stark & ...