Learn Sociotechnical Systems The Hard Way

Sociotechnical system theory emerged in the 1950s studying the impact of rapid changes in technology and social organization on British coal mining. The theory considers the interdependence of social and technical factors in the work and proposes that optimal organizational performance can only be achieved by systems that account for both. The research showed that considerable investments in automation did not necessarily result in increased productivity and often decreased both safety and morale. The empirical results showed that cross functional teams integrated and aligned with technology investments were more productive, more safe and more happy. And then what happened? This presentation will present a chronicle of research and anecdotes from British coal in the 50s to Serverless platforms of today highlighting how generations relearn and forget the same basic lessons about capabilities, incentives, autonomy and agency. The audience should gain an increased understanding of the impact of work design on organizational performance with a focus on the complex and dynamic challenges of delivering software in the modern workplace.



Andrew Clay Shafer

Andrew Clay Shafer evangelized DevOps tools and practices before DevOps was a word. Living at the intersection of Software Delivery, Cloud Computing and Open Source with experience in almost every ...