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Is efficiency a good thing?

Is efficiency a good thing?

We live in a golden age of efficiency. Our modern cloud native applications have tiny footprints. Our infrastructure is now code. Everything is automated, even creative endeavours like writing and artwork. And yet. Despite all the optimisation, despite all the automation, many of us feel unproductive - and it’s worse than that. Busywork hasn’t gone away, our systems are stretched so thin any disturbance destabilises them, our people are burning out, and IT consumes more resources than ever before. What’s going on? Was efficiency the wrong goal, or are we just doing it wrong?

Holly Cummins

November 24, 2023
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  1. is efficiency
    a good
    thing?
    holly cummins
    7 december, 2023
    tech.rocks

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  2. @holly_cummins
    #RedHat
    now
    senior principal software engineer
    helping to build Quarkus

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  3. @holly_cummins
    #RedHat
    now
    senior principal software engineer
    helping to build Quarkus
    2007
    let’s make garbage
    collection more
    efficient!

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  4. @holly_cummins
    #RedHat
    now
    senior principal software engineer
    helping to build Quarkus
    2007
    let’s make garbage
    collection more
    efficient!
    2015
    lean and xp makes
    your team more
    efficient!

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  5. @holly_cummins
    #RedHat
    now
    senior principal software engineer
    helping to build Quarkus
    2007
    let’s make garbage
    collection more
    efficient!
    2015
    lean and xp makes
    your team more
    efficient!
    2022
    quarkus is
    wonderfully efficient!

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  6. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “j’aimerais bien être inefficace”

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  7. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “j’aimerais bien être inefficace”
    none us of us say this

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  8. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  9. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  10. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    machine
    1700s

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  11. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    machine
    1700s
    energy

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  12. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    machine
    1700s
    energy energy

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  13. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    machine
    1700s
    energy energy
    useful

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  14. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    processes
    1890s

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  15. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    processes
    time
    money
    1890s

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  16. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    processes
    time
    money
    1890s
    value

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  17. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    processes
    time
    money
    1890s
    “interaction at scale”
    value

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  18. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    manufacturing
    1900s

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  19. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    manufacturing
    1900s
    value
    value

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  20. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    manufacturing
    1900s
    value
    value
    value
    lean

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  21. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    software
    1960s

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  22. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    software
    time
    electricity
    hardware
    1960s

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  23. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    software
    time
    electricity
    hardware
    answers
    1960s

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  24. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    takeaway
    consider all kinds of efficiency
    -processes
    -production
    -software

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  25. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    after 200 years, we’re getting good at efficiency

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  26. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    source: http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~moyer/GEOS24705/2016/Assignments/PS7.pdf
    steam engine
    efficiency

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  27. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    koomey’s law: the energy efficiency of
    computers doubles roughly every 18
    months
    computer
    efficiency

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  28. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    koomey’s law: the energy efficiency of
    computers doubles roughly every 18
    months
    computer
    efficiency

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  29. software
    efficiency

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  30. starting a java application in 2010

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  31. starting a java application in 2010
    slower than making tea

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  32. starting a java application in 2023

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  33. starting a java application in 2023
    faster than a lightbulb

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  34. starting a java application in 2023
    faster than a lightbulb
    quarkus

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  35. #Quarkus @[email protected]
    memory + CPU == €€
    cloud

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  36. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    we have automated all the things

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  37. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    infrastructure as code

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  38. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    … us as code

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  39. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  40. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  41. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  42. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    @holly_cummins

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  43. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    @holly_cummins

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  44. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    @holly_cummins
    all my cool ideas were
    apparently not very original!

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  45. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    even after 200 years, we are not
    always very good at efficiency
    but.

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  46. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    process inefficiency

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  47. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “this provisioning
    software is broken”

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  48. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    what we sold
    “this provisioning
    software is broken”
    10 minute
    provision-time

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  49. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    what we sold
    “this provisioning
    software is broken”
    10 minute
    provision-time
    3 month
    provision-
    time
    what the
    client
    thought
    they’d got

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  50. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    what we sold
    “this provisioning
    software is broken”
    10 minute
    provision-time
    3 month
    provision-
    time
    what the
    client
    thought
    they’d got
    the reason
    84-step
    pre-approval process

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  51. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    software inefficiency

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  52. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    https://blog.linkedin.com/2017/august/3/making-linkedin-more-accessible-via-linkedin-lite

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  53. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    https://blog.linkedin.com/2017/august/3/making-linkedin-more-accessible-via-linkedin-lite
    “my heart sank … our new feature
    failed to load because of poor
    internet connectivity”

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  54. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    https://blog.linkedin.com/2017/august/3/making-linkedin-more-accessible-via-linkedin-lite
    modern web is so inefficient it is
    useless for part of its audience
    “my heart sank … our new feature
    failed to load because of poor
    internet connectivity”

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  55. #RedHat
    @[email protected]
    waste everywhere

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  56. #RedHat
    @[email protected]
    25%
    of 16,000 servers
    doing no useful work
    https://www.anthesisgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Comatose-Servers-Redux-2017.pdf
    zombie servers

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  57. #RedHat
    @[email protected]
    zombie
    “they haven't delivered any information or
    computing services for six months or more”

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  58. #RedHat
    @[email protected]
    29%
    of 4,000 active less
    than 5% of the time
    https://www.anthesisgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Comatose-Servers-Redux-2017.pdf
    under-utilised servers

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  59. #RedHat
    @[email protected]
    the average server:
    12 - 18% of capacity
    30 - 60 % of maximum power
    https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/data-center-efficiency-assessment-IB.pdf

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  60. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    it’s not just money

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  61. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    it’s not just electricity
    it’s not just money

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  62. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    it’s not just electricity
    it’s water
    it’s not just money

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  63. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    it’s not just electricity
    it’s water
    it’s e-waste
    it’s not just money

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  64. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    it’s not just electricity
    it’s water
    it’s e-waste
    it’s not just money
    it’s embodied carbon

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  65. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    we cling on to inefficiency

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  66. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    true story from the software marketing trenches

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  67. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    our amazing product makes
    your team more efficient
    true story from the software marketing trenches

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  68. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    our amazing product makes
    your team more efficient
    ooh, no, definitely
    don’t want that
    true story from the software marketing trenches

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  69. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    our amazing product makes
    your team more efficient
    ooh, no, definitely
    don’t want that
    and it’s yours for only –
    wait, what?
    true story from the software marketing trenches

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  70. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    our amazing product makes
    your team more efficient
    ooh, no, definitely
    don’t want that
    and it’s yours for only –
    wait, what? if we became more
    efficient our headcount
    would be reduced
    true story from the software marketing trenches

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  71. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    our amazing product makes
    your team more efficient
    ooh, no, definitely
    don’t want that
    and it’s yours for only –
    wait, what? if we became more
    efficient our headcount
    would be reduced
    my status
    would be lower
    true story from the software marketing trenches

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  72. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    our amazing product makes
    your team more efficient
    ooh, no, definitely
    don’t want that
    and it’s yours for only –
    wait, what? if we became more
    efficient our headcount
    would be reduced
    my status
    would be lower
    true story from the software marketing trenches

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  73. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    if I tell my boss about an
    inefficiency, what if my friends get laid
    off because less staff are needed after
    it’s fixed?

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  74. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    takeaway
    drive out inefficiency

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  75. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    takeaway
    drive out inefficiency
    ⁃ stupid processes
    ⁃ bloated software
    ⁃ terrible resource utilisation

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  76. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    takeaway
    drive out inefficiency
    ⁃ stupid processes
    ⁃ bloated software
    ⁃ terrible resource utilisation
    make sure incentive structures do not reward inefficiency

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  77. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    once you’ve eliminated the obvious waste …
    go further

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  78. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “There is nothing so useless as
    doing efficiently that which
    should not be done at all."
    Peter Drucker

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  79. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    defect triage team

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  80. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    defect triage team

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  81. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    let’s … set the priority
    to ‘medium’!
    defect triage team

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  82. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    let’s … set the priority
    to ‘medium’!
    defect triage team
    could we turn this
    whole meeting into a
    small shell script?

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  83. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    let’s … set the priority
    to ‘medium’!
    defect triage team
    could we turn this
    whole meeting into a
    small shell script?
    what if … we just got rid
    of the priority field?

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  84. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    instead of using ai to fill in boilerplate,
    could we just … get rid of the boilerplate?

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  85. @holly_cummins
    #RedHat
    example: logging without quarkus
    package com.example;
    import org.jboss.logging.Logger;
    public class MyService {
    private static final Logger log = Logger.getLogger(MyService.class);
    public void doSomething() {
    log.info("It works!");
    }
    }

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  86. @holly_cummins
    #RedHat
    example: logging without quarkus
    package com.example;
    import org.jboss.logging.Logger;
    public class MyService {
    private static final Logger log = Logger.getLogger(MyService.class);
    public void doSomething() {
    log.info("It works!");
    }
    }
    import io.quarkus.logging.Log;
    Log
    with quarkus

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  87. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    takeaway
    - think different
    - go for radical waste reduction

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  88. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    can you try too hard for efficiency?

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  89. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    1700 1900 2000

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  90. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    1700 1900 2000

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  91. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    1700 1900 2000

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  92. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    1700 1900 2000

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  93. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    1700 1900 2000

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  94. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    1700 1900 2000

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  95. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    taylorism

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  96. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    taylorism

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  97. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    taylorism

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  98. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    taylorism

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  99. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  100. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  101. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “data-driven”

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  102. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    measuring the efficiency of people

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  103. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  104. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  105. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  106. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    it’s easy to measure wrong

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  107. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    you get what you measure
    are you measuring what you actually want?

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  108. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    when efficiency isn’t efficient
    trade-offs

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  109. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    automation may not save as
    much time as you think

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  110. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    https://www.sify.com/ai-analytics/the-hilarious-and-horrifying-hallucinations-of-ai/

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  111. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “What is the world record for crossing
    the English channel entirely on foot?”
    https://www.sify.com/ai-analytics/the-hilarious-and-horrifying-hallucinations-of-ai/

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  112. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “What is the world record for crossing
    the English channel entirely on foot?”
    “The world record for crossing the
    English Channel entirely on foot is
    held by Christof Wandratsch of Germany,
    who completed the crossing in 14 hours
    and 51 minutes on August 14, 2020.”
    https://www.sify.com/ai-analytics/the-hilarious-and-horrifying-hallucinations-of-ai/

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  113. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “What is the world record for crossing
    the English channel entirely on foot?”
    “The world record for crossing the
    English Channel entirely on foot is
    held by Christof Wandratsch of Germany,
    who completed the crossing in 14 hours
    and 51 minutes on August 14, 2020.”
    https://www.sify.com/ai-analytics/the-hilarious-and-horrifying-hallucinations-of-ai/
    bullshit as a service

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  114. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  115. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “The submission accused firms of involvement
    in scandals that either didn’t exist or that they
    had nothing to do with. It referenced partners
    being dismissed by firms that had never
    employed them.”

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  116. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  117. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “illusion of efficiency”

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  118. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    can we afford efficiency?

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  119. energy efficiency
    of programming
    languages

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  120. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “Rust is the hardest programming
    language up to that time I’ve met.”
    -Vorner
    https://vorner.github.io/difficult.html

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  121. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    language design trade-offs

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  122. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    language design trade-offs
    low-level control

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  123. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    language design trade-offs
    low-level control
    higher-level
    abstractions

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  124. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    language design trade-offs
    low-level control
    higher-level
    abstractions
    “zero overhead”,
    performant

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  125. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    language design trade-offs
    low-level control
    higher-level
    abstractions
    “zero overhead”,
    performant
    developer
    productivity

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  126. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    language design trade-offs
    low-level control
    higher-level
    abstractions
    “zero overhead”,
    performant
    developer
    productivity
    raw performance may not
    actually matter, but all
    developers pay the cost of
    the extra cognitive burden

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  127. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    it is not sensible to rewrite all our business
    apps in rust, no matter how efficient it is

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  128. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    super-optimised code is less maintainable

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  129. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    super-optimised code is less maintainable
    software
    efficiency

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  130. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    super-optimised code is less maintainable
    software
    efficiency
    developer
    efficiency

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  131. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    super-optimised code is less maintainable
    software
    efficiency
    developer
    efficiency
    trade-off

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  132. #Quarkus @[email protected]
    focus on making the
    bottleneck efficient

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  133. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    make sure you consider all requirements

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  134. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    #RedHat

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  135. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    highly efficient
    (optimum number of legs)
    #RedHat

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  136. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    less efficient
    (more legs than needed)
    highly efficient
    (optimum number of legs)
    #RedHat

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  137. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    less efficient
    (more legs than needed)
    highly efficient
    (optimum number of legs)
    resilient
    #RedHat

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  138. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    less efficient
    (more legs than needed)
    highly efficient
    (optimum number of legs)
    resilient
    #RedHat

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  139. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    less efficient
    (more legs than needed)
    highly efficient
    (optimum number of legs)
    no resiliency resilient
    #RedHat

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  140. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    less efficient
    (more legs than needed)
    highly efficient
    (optimum number of legs)
    resiliency is inefficient
    no resiliency resilient
    #RedHat

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  141. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    it’s the same for people

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  142. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    ‘le blurring’ can be harmful to health

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  143. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    le fun-at-work can help productivity

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  144. job satisfaction is
    the no. 1 predictor
    of organizational
    performance

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  145. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    research shows:
    fun is good for business.

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  146. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    research shows:
    fun is good for business.

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  147. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    studies show…

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  148. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    studies show…
    employee
    fun

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  149. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    studies show…
    employee
    fun

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  150. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    studies show…
    employee
    fun
    harder
    working

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  151. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    studies show…
    employee
    fun
    harder
    working
    more
    productivity

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  152. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    studies show…
    employee
    fun
    harder
    working
    more
    productivity
    less sick leave

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  153. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    https:/
    /hbr.org/2012/01/positive-intelligence

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  154. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    “Your brain at positive is 31%
    more productive than your
    brain at negative, neutral or
    stressed. "
    https:/
    /hbr.org/2012/01/positive-intelligence

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  155. @holly_cummins #RedHat

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  156. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    https:/
    /www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/eproto/workingpapers/happinessproductivity.pdf

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  157. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    "Individuals [who just watched a
    comedy video] have
    approximately
    12%
    greater productivity."
    https:/
    /www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/eproto/workingpapers/happinessproductivity.pdf

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  158. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    play helps creativity
    we work in a creative industry

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  159. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    doing nothing helps creativity

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  160. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    the default mode network
    idle minds can solve hard problems

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  161. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    psychology says we need idle time; maths agrees

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  162. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    queueing theory says systems need to run under-capacity to cope
    psychology says we need idle time; maths agrees

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  163. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    queuing theory basics

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  164. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    queuing theory basics
    arrival process

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  165. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    queuing theory basics
    arrival process
    Poisson distribution

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  166. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    queuing theory basics
    queue
    arrival process
    Poisson distribution

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  167. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    queuing theory basics
    queue
    arrival process
    Poisson distribution

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  168. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    queuing theory basics
    queue
    arrival process servers
    Poisson distribution

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  169. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    queuing theory basics
    queue
    arrival process servers
    Poisson distribution

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  170. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    queuing theory basics
    queue
    arrival process servers completed work
    Poisson distribution

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  171. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    queue
    arrival process servers completed work
    if server capacity is too low, wait times are high

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  172. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    if arrival rates are low, servers will be idle
    queue
    arrival process servers completed work

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  173. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    utilisation
    lead time
    http://brodzinski.com/2015/01/slack-time-value.html
    assuming Poisson
    distribution of arrivals

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  174. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    utilisation
    lead time
    http://brodzinski.com/2015/01/slack-time-value.html
    assuming Poisson
    distribution of arrivals
    80% utilisation → 90% utilisation:
    wait times double

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  175. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    utilisation
    http://brodzinski.com/2015/01/slack-time-value.html
    cost
    delay
    cost
    assuming Poisson
    distribution of arrivals
    80% utilisation → 90% utilisation:
    wait times double

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  176. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    utilisation
    http://brodzinski.com/2015/01/slack-time-value.html
    cost
    delay
    cost
    cost of idle
    capacity
    assuming Poisson
    distribution of arrivals
    80% utilisation → 90% utilisation:
    wait times double

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  177. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    trains could go faster than
    the schedule needs them to

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  178. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    speed
    trains could go faster than
    the schedule needs them to

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  179. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    speed
    vs
    predictability
    trains could go faster than
    the schedule needs them to
    but then any minor
    delay is irrecoverable

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  180. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    this is great

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  181. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    this is great
    relaxing has business value

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  182. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    takeaway
    - measure thoughtfully; you will get
    what you measure
    - remember the paradoxes:
    - efficiency is not always efficient
    - fun and idleness improves efficiency

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  183. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    are you optimising the right thing?
    efficiency can take unexpected forms

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  184. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    what problem are
    we trying to solve?

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  185. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    what problem are
    we trying to solve?
    efficient
    cool and bouncy

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  186. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    what problem are
    we trying to solve?
    efficient
    cool and bouncy
    more efficient
    squashy and blobby

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  187. @holly_cummins #RedHat
    tl;dpa ⁃ our processes, development, and
    software can all be more efficient
    ⁃ do look for waste, and get rid of it
    ⁃ don’t treat people like machines
    ⁃ beware the illusion of efficiency
    ⁃ remember that people and systems
    function better with some idle time
    (too long; didn’t pay attention)

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  188. thank you
    @[email protected]
    slides
    thank you
    #RedHat
    @holly_cummins

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