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"Stupid Bloody System!"

"Stupid Bloody System!"

Now with full and corrected speaker's notes to every slide.
Bad IA in the workplace, the causes of stress, and the rise of bureaucracy 2.0.
Talk given at EuroIA 2012, in Rome, by Jonas Söderström

Jonas Söderström
PRO

September 28, 2012
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  1. STUPID BLOODY SYSTEM
    Jonas Söderström • EuroIA 2012
    Bad IA in the workplace, the causes of stress, and
    the rise of Bureaucracy 2.0

    View Slide

  2. @jonas_blind_hen
    #EuroIA
    #stupidbloodysystem
    twitter

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  3. Create new document
    In an enterprise system, used by big corporations and organisations and with a price-tag of well over
    100 million Euros, this icon means “Create new document”.

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  4. 30
    1200
    3 000 000
    15
    10
    5
    Credit
    Maximum interest
    Mortgage
    Clearance
    Times overdraw
    Risk rating
    In another system, for mid-sized to small companies, every second screen looked like this.

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  5. 1994 –
    I’ve been working as an IA/UX with digital systems since the mid-nineties, and I’ve seen a lot of things
    like the one’s mentioned.
    However, this is not a talk about absurd interface bloopers. That’s not why I wanted to come here and
    not why I decided to write a book. This is a call to action – a call to arms even.
    And what motivated me was the trend shown in the next graph:

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  6. Reported stress & severe
    psychological pressure at work
    1996 2003
    12
    6
    0
    15
    9
    3
    %
    In Sweden, from the mid nineties to around 2005, the share of the total workforce that experienced severe stress
    at work more than doubled.
    This graph showed a new trend. Formerly, bad times, recession, and thus risk of unemployment, were the main
    predictors behind stress at work.
    But the bad times in Sweden were the first half of the nineties. From 1995 onwards, the economy was booming
    and unemployment soon reached a historical low point.
    So everyone expected these numbers to go down. Instead, the curve went up steeply.
    The exception this time, was a radical shift in the workplace, a massive new use of technology, digitising and
    computerizing a lot of businesses and sectors in a short time.
    We often call it the dotcom-bubble; but it affected more than e-commerce and public web sites. In workplaces, all
    kinds of new systems were introduced at very high speed. Systems had low usability, and were not well-adapted
    to the actual work. Often the developers were boys in their late teens or at best early twenties, straight out of
    college or even high school, with no own experience of the workplace at all.

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  7. 1.000.000 8 hrs/day
    +
    This is not a small issue. Sweden is an advanced country, digitised to a high degree.
    Out of a workforce of four million, one million white-collar workers spend eight hours a day in front of
    the computer.
    Even sectors like health-care and education, are heavily digitised; even as a teacher or a nurse, you’d
    spend a lot of time with digital devices of all kinds.

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  8. 1/3
    It’s estimated, that one third of the total working hours in Sweden are spent with hands in direct
    contact with technology.

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  9. Angry, stressed, frustrated
    with IT once or several times
    a week
    +20000 2012
    In a study released this summer, around 20,000 people were surveyed: 60% said they had problems
    with IT every week: a shocking 20 % reported problems EVERY DAY.

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  10. 1. Internet
    2. Computer
    3. Printer
    4. Boss
    5. Meetings
    Biggest source of
    frustration on the job?
    7000 2012
    Yet another recent study gave these results.

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  11. Time lost every day
    Mean estimate, ≈30.000 2012
    A mean of several surveys of the time lost because of IT problems, estimates it at just under thirty
    minutes a day.
    These are the estimates of the users themselves. As UX/IA experts, I and my colleagues often find that
    people underestimate the time wasted. They often can’t see that a better IA/IxD solution would solve
    the task more quickly.

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  12. Loses up to 2 hours
    every week on IT
    +1000 2006
    Another way to present the same findings, from a similar survey: 75 % report losing up to two hours
    every week
    These are the statistics. How does it look in detail?

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  13. 7, 5 9, 5
    18 procedures
    System for creating user’s
    manuals for trucks
    A truck manufacturer had a system for creating user’s’ manuals for trucks. In this system, changing a number –
    for example from ”7,5 litres” to ”9,5 litres” – required eighteen different procedures. Each procedure consisted of
    several steps. There were many possibilities for mistakes – feedback from the system was often lacking, so you
    were often not sure if a procedure had been successful. The system was also sluggish and often crashed in mid-
    procedure.

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  14. To change one sentence can take
    one whole working day
    You feel a complete failure,
    like your personal competence
    just blew out the window
    Being good with words and
    pictures has no value; it’s all about
    taming the system
    I don’t want to work with X-system
    any more, I hope I’ll nd something
    else as soon as possible
    This is what people who worked with the systems told us when my colleagues interviewed them.

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  15. Swedish passport offices
    ”the breakdown room”
    In another epic failure, the Swedish passport offices started to use a new system to produce passports
    in 2005.
    The system simply didn’t work, for a long time. This meant, that the staff had to draw straws in the
    afternoon, to determine who would have to go out to the waiting room, and tell perhaps 250 people,
    who had been waiting for up to eight hours, that they wouldn’t get their passports today either. ”Come
    back tomorrow, perhaps you’ll get your passports then, but we’re not sure.”
    As a temporary solution to the problem, the offices had to create special ”break-down rooms” for the
    staff, where they could go and cry after having faced countless angry customers.

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  16. What’s
    going on?
    Clearly, something strange is going on here.

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  17. Although we in fact build machines and computers to do the work for us, it seems that we just get
    more and more stressed out.
    I argue that this is the total effect of a lot of small changes in how we work. The workplace has been
    transformed, in many small steps. Each and every one of them might have looked perfectly OK. Every
    one probably seemed well-intentioned. Many might even have been tied to a business case (though not
    nearly as often as you might imagine).
    In the book, I examine eight different factors or scenarios that put a lot of burden on the worker. Not
    every workplace exhibits all of them. But I haven’t yet encountered one single organisation that hasn’t
    had at least half of them.
    If all the factors are present, the risk for heavy stress and adverse health effects is very high.
    We shan’t have time to go through them all, so I’ll just pick a few.

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  18. Too many
    systems
    Since the mid-nineties, the sheer number of applications (systems, sites, software) that we have to use
    in the workplace, has exploded. In the supermarket that I studied, they had to use 20–25 different
    systems - one for ordering meat, one for ordering tobacco, one for ordering dairy products, one for
    handling coupons, one for handling loyalty cards, etc, etc.

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  19. Primula (HR system),
    Tur och Retur (travel expenses),
    Raindance (economy),
    UU+ (budget),
    Edgar (recruiting),
    W3D3 (documents),
    KDB (contracts),
    UpDok (tracking student’s performances),
    Time Edit (managing premises),
    AKKA (catalogue administration),
    PingPong (course administration),
    Opus (references),
    Selma (class web),
    The student portal
    and so on …
    This is a small sample of the administrative systems that professors and teachers at a university have
    to handle – at the same time as they are supposed to teach and do research.

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  20. Treserva (social bene ts system)
    WebbSotis (old social bene ts system)
    Giraff (internal invoicing)
    Horisonten (accounting)
    Prognosprogram (economy)
    Winst (procurement portal)
    Rappet (client reports)
    Personec (HR reports)
    Time Care (work schedule)
    Winlas Webb (temps worked hours)
    Time Care pool (assigning temps)
    Lisa (accident reporting)
    Adato (rehabilitation process management)
    Offentliga jobb (recruiting)
    Telephone self-service system
    Lotus Notes (mail)
    Webbmail (mail at home)
    Here is about half the list of the c. 35 administrative systems that are used by social workers in
    Sweden.
    Note that they are simultaneously using a new and an old system for social benefits. That is often the
    case; a new system often does not replace an old one completely. It’s often possible to find – or invent
    – some reason for keeping the old system as well.

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  21. Systems are
    different
    These systems are typically built by ever-changing teams of consultants or companies.
    And as a rule, they are different – in small but crucial details.

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  22. Ctrl-O
    1) calculate
    2) close & do not save
    At one shop - actually a pharmacist’s – two systems where used simultaneously in the computerised
    cash register. One was to calculate the amount of the prescribed drug; the other was to print the labels
    for the boxes.
    In the first one, a certain shortcut did just the thing you wanted: calculate the amount. In the next step,
    however, using the printing function, the same shortcut was assigned to “close and do not save”.

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  23. Liza reports hours worked in two systems:
    one uses point, the other comma
    1.5 hours 1,5 hours
    Having to use parallell systems is a reality for many people. Liza is a consultant; she reports time both
    to her employer and to her client.

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  24. What happens if she uses a comma
    in the system that wants a point?
    1,5 hours 1,5 hours
    15 hours The system ignores the
    comma and registers
    15 hours, without any
    error message.

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  25. • Put in vacation plans - how often?
    • Hard to learn
    • ”...how did you handle this system, then?”
    • Even if each system is used quite seldom …
    • … some system is used each month or week.
    Used seldom, but ...
    Many systems may be used infrequently -- which makes learning harder. “How on earth are you
    supposed to handle this system, then?”
    But since there are so many systems, you encounter this situation every month or every week.

    View Slide

  26. Speed of
    introduction
    Another factor that has changed in the last ten years is the speed with which new systems are
    implemented in the workplace. This is thanks to the web architecture, whereby a whole business can be
    upgraded overnight.

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  27. The supermarket chain opens at 10, and the staff arrives at 8. They then have just sixty minutes to
    order the goods for the day after tomorrow - or they will have an empty store with no milk and no
    bread. They queue up, because they have only one computer. On the computer screen, a clock is
    ticking down: 54 minutes to last order, 53 minutes to last order. And having placed their orders, they
    have a lot of other things to deal with: making the shop tidy and neat, arranging products and signs,
    etc.
    The morning I was observing them, all staff got an e-mail in their inboxes, saying “Hi. Your system has
    been upgraded.” Attachment: a twenty-page Word document with screen dumps.
    No-one had the time to read that, not that day, nor the next, nor the next.

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  28. Burden of
    vigilance
    We don’t take into account the effort and time the user has to spend on things like virus protection,
    upgrades, passwords, etc. These problems accelerate when you connect many systems to each other -
    all become potentially vulnerable, and need upgrades and protection.

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  29. No training
    Among the strangest things that you find in the workplace is the fact that so little training, so little
    introduction, so little support is given in handling all these systems.
    True, systems should be intuitive - but it’s an illusion to suppose that they can all be mastered without
    any introduction.

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  30. Treserva (social bene ts system)
    WebbSotis (old social bene ts system)
    Giraff (internal invoicing)
    Horisonten (accounting)
    Prognosprogram (economy)
    Winst (procurment portal)
    Rappet (client reports)
    Personec (HR reports)
    Time Care (work schedule)
    Winlas Webb (temps worked hours)
    Time Care pool (assign temps)
    Lisa (accident reporting)
    Adato (rehabilitation process managment)
    Offentliga jobb (recruiting)
    Telephone self-service system
    Lotus Notes (mail)
    Webbmail (mail at home)
    ”It’s just a small
    system”
    The excuse for not giving training is often “It’s only a small system”.
    Yes - another small system added to the thirty we already have!

    View Slide

  31. The supermarket’s system
    This lady works in the supermarket. The system she uses has well over 120 screens, which is by no
    means unique; many other systems are even bigger.
    Every screen can have over a hundred controls (fields, buttons, menus, etc).
    But we see only one screen. If we were to visualise the total size of the system she has to master, we
    could for example print out screen-dumps and paste them to the wall in front of her. But that would
    not be enough. We would have to use the wall to her right, the table, even the ceiling to try to visualise
    it ...
    ... and when it adds up like this, to me it starts to look ...

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  32. Two years training
    ... very much like this system.
    To handle this system, you get two years’ training.

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  33. Two days training
    To master this system, she has two days’ training.

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  34. x-ray delta one/flickr under a cc-license
    YOUR
    PRODUCT
    To summarise a bit:
    This is your view of your IT-product. And it might be right ... but ...
    (Photo: x-ray delta one/flickr under a cc-license)

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  35. The user’s
    experience
    pchweat/flickr under cc-license
    ... the user’s environment will still be this.
    (Photo: pchweat/flickr under a cc-license)

    View Slide

  36. Jared Spool
    Martin Kliehm/flickr under cc-license
    Jared Spool tried to find out: “Is there a certain method that always gives good results?”
    His answer was NO. There is no method. But there is a number of traits that you find behind successful
    products and projects.
    Photo: Martin Kliehm/flickr under cc-license

    View Slide

  37. Jared: Has every member of
    the team, during the last six
    weeks, observed real users
    using the product or service
    for at least two hours?
    This is the most interesting, and perhaps the most important.
    But when you design systems to be used in the workplace, I don’t think that is enough. You can’t look
    at just the specific product. You have to look at the total situation at work.

    View Slide

  38. Observe
    the users
    When my colleague Richard Gatarski and a few friends wanted to dine in the Swedish city of Norrköping
    a few weeks ago, they booked a table at a downtown Italian restaurant that seemed nice.
    When they arrived, they were greeted by the headwaiter, who asked if they had a reservation. Richard
    confirmed, and the headwaiter looked at his computer screen.
    ”Gatarski? Hm, let’s see .. yes, there’s your reservation. Welcome!”
    The headwaiter then picked up what Richard first thought must be some kind of new, electronic touch-
    pen, and moved it toward the screen. Richard is a tech savvy Internet entrepreneur, and therefore quite
    curious about what kind of new gadget they used at this restaurant. So he leaned in and looked a little
    closer …
    Photo: Richard Gatarski

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  39. … and suddenly realised that it was a perfectly ordinary whiteboard felt-tip pen. The head waiter just
    draw an “X” over their booking, directly on to the computer screen!
    “That’s very interesting,” Richard said to the head waiter. “How come you do that?”
    “Well, you know,” the head waiter answered with a great sigh. “The guys that create these kinds of
    systems … they have …. Well, you can’t do things the way you wanna do them. You can check off a
    reservation in the system, with the mouse, but hey, it’s at least four clicks away from this screen. And
    you can’t tell if the guests have been shown to their table or are still waiting in the bar. So it’s much
    easier just to draw on the screen (and when the evening is over I just wipe the screen with a cloth).
    We’re very busy here, and this works just fine.”
    The point is that the waiter at this restaurant wanted to give the customers the best possible
    impression, focusing on them from the very beginning. Remember: first impressions last. He did not
    want to tell them “wait a minute” and then focus on the machine.

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  40. Jonas: Has every member of
    the team, during the last six
    weeks, observed real users
    do everything they do at work
    for at least two days?
    On the other hand, in a conventional usability-testing situation, for instance in a lab where the
    customers probably exist only as instructions, this system might have erformed quite well.
    So this is my version of Jared’s statement. When you’re making systems or products that are to be
    used in the workplace, you have to spend much more time, to be able to capture the full experience of
    your users. As a rule of thumb: at least two days.

    View Slide

  41. Who’s to
    blame?
    By now you’ll be wondering “how come such idiotic systems exist? Who’s responsible?”

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  42. The nerd?
    esc.ape(d) / Flickr
    Not that
    much
    The nerd? Sometimes, certainly, when interfaces are clumsy or too technical. But actually, he’s the
    smallest part of the problem, and often quite eager to do better.
    (Photo: esc.ape(d)/flickr under a cc-license)

    View Slide

  43. Let’s examine a
    few more
    problems.
    Let’s examine a few more issues, and then come back to another (perhaps somewhat surprising)
    reason for many of the problems.

    View Slide

  44. Something
    is lost ...
    In many situations, it’s clear that something in the workplace is lost.

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  45. ”One black
    and tan,
    please”
    ”Can’t do
    that ...”
    A friend tries to order a “black and tan”–half-Guinness, half-lager–in a pub. Although the bartender has
    both Guinness and lager in the pub, he tells him “Sorry, I can’t do that ...”

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  46. ”...because of the system”
    “... there’s no entry for that in the computerised cash-register”
    This is perhaps a banal and mundane example, but the same principle shows up in many places and
    many contexts: systems that limit the way you can conduct your work.

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  47. Loss of
    flexibility
    It’s rather paradoxical -- since the Internet and digital technology have made our lives as consumers
    and private citizens more free and flexible.

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  48. Process managment
    More ”command and
    control”
    Dis-empowerment
    But in the workplace there’s a growing element of command-and-control, driven by IT.

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  49. Controls my work
    ”in an annoying
    and unreasonable way”
    8000 2012
    Indeed, in a survey among eight thousand white-collar workers, 50% agreed that “IT systems control
    my work in an annoying and unreasonable way”.
    Which is a bit strange - since we invented machines to do the work for us.
    Are we working for them?

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  50. Not just an issue for
    white-collar workers
    The controlling technology

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  51. Meet Lena
    Licensed practical nurse, providing for the
    elderly in a public home care program
    Lena is a licensed practical nurse (LPN - in some countries, equivalent to “enrolled nurse” or “Division 2
    nurse”). She works in a Public Home Care programme, providing for the elderly.
    She carries a digital device – a smartphone, or a bar-code reading pen - that registers her every task
    and every move during the day.

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  52. Lena’s schedule
    • Arrive at elderly A
    • Food: 7 minutes
    • Bedclothes: 4 minutes
    • To elderly B: 13 minutes
    • Food: 7 minutes
    • Sweeping: 12 minutes
    • To elderly C: 19 minutes
    She’s connected to a planning system that breaks down her working day into a single-minute
    schedule.

    View Slide

  53. Lena’s schedule
    • Arrive at elderly A
    • Food: 7 minutes
    • Bedclothes: 4 minutes
    • To elderly B: 13 minutes
    • Food: 7 minutes
    • Sweeping: 12 minutes
    • To elderly C: 19 minutes







    She must check in
    with her device for
    every single task
    done
    She has to register every single task in her device, connected to a central management database, that
    creates wonderful reports.
    But what happens to a person’s motivation for her job, when she’s controlled in every single detail?
    Where is trust?
    And where is the compassion?

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  54. Chores,
    not work
    It is highly typical that many of the things now demanded of us at work are things that we really don’t feel are “our REAL
    work”. Not really helping the elderly. Not really engaging with pupils in the classroom. Not the things that made us want
    to be nurses, doctors, teachers, etc.
    Social workers, doctors, police, teachers are now spending more time on documenting and reporting than on actually
    meeting the clients, the patients, the pupils.

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  55. ”...we are
    overburdened
    by
    administrative
    systems”
    Professors and teachers
    at Uppsala University
    This is an alarming article, published last year by a group of professors and researchers at Uppsala
    University. “We’re drowning in administrative systems that take more and more time away from
    teaching and doing research”, they wrote. (We saw part of their list of systems in an earlier slide.)

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  56. +6%
    They note that a lot of things, which were previously handled by a central administration, are now
    pushed out to the periphery - the departments. They now have to do wages, planning, budget ... etc,
    etc.
    But, in spite of this, central administration has not shrunk. On the contrary, its budget has grown by 6%
    (which is a lot, in an organisation where you often get MINUS 1 or 2 % annually).
    The university administration replied that 6 % was not exceptional; indeed, it was the average for
    Swedish universities. The professors’ final reply was “then it’s even worse than we thought”.
    But the number “6 percent” stuck in my head. Where had I heard “6 percent” before?
    As it turned out, I had to go back in time.

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  57. C Northcote Parkinson
    In 1955 a then little-known history professor at the university in Singapore wrote an article in ‘The
    Economist’. Cyril Northcote Parkinson was a specialist in naval history ...

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  58. He could show that although the number of seamen in the British Navy had fallen quickly during the
    first half of the Twentieth century, the number of Admiralty officials in Whitehall had nearly doubled.

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  59. In the same way, as the British colonies gained independence, the staff at the Colonial Office just grew
    and grew.

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  60. His “startling discovery”, as ‘The Economist’ put it, was – in short – that bureaucrats strive to get more
    power, and they do it by hiring subordinates.

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  61. Thus, an ever-growing class of middle managers is created - without any more actual work being
    done.

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  62. Parkinson’s law
    This is the core of what has come to be known as Parkinson’s Law.

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  63. Parkinson collected his writings in the book “Parkinson’s law”, which became a bestseller all over the
    world ...

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  64. ... translated into countless languages.

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  65. +6 %
    Growth of bureaucracy
    And what Parkinson found was exactly this: a bureaucracy will grow “naturally” each year - by 6
    percent.

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  66. So the problem is not really the nerd - it’s middle management.

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  67. VALUE
    I suggest, IT systems are often really not about this.
    As IAs or UXers, we probably take for granted that the reasons for projects, for services that we are about to
    develop, must be essentially good, rational, benevolent.
    Of course there will be disturbances or interference from egos, from politics, or for practical reasons. But
    the reasons behind the project should be sound, about values and the demands of customers.
    Given what we’ve learned from the history of bureaucracy, I propose a more radical theory of IT systems in
    the workplace.

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  68. POWER
    It’s about power for middle management.
    The fundamental drive for many systems is NOT to create value - but to create power.

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  69. Professor Parkinson lived in a time when it was possible to hire new people easily, and increase your
    power that way. That is virtually impossible in today’s organisations.
    What is possible, however, is to implement a new IT system. Being in charge of an IT system means
    having power, to influence decisions, to choose directions ...
    So IT is an ideal vehicle for the purposes of the middle management class. It’s also sexy, glorified;
    almost by definition, an IT system is a good thing - it’s the icon of our times, of progress and the
    future.

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  70. Bureaucracy 2.0
    Welcome to Bureaucracy 2.0.

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  71. Bureaucracy 1.0 Bureaucracy 2.0
    Parkinson also noticed that one bureaucrat will create work for two others.
    It’s rather easy to see that one IT system creates the need for approximately two other systems. If you
    start with a simple system for money in and out, it’s easy to put in the argument for a budget
    projection system, a time reporting system, then you’ll need a system for aggregating data from other
    sources, etc, etc.

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  72. ”No clear vision or idea
    behind the IT system”
    8000 2012
    This might sound crazy. But it fits with a number of empirical observations.
    For example, in one of the Swedish surveys of white-collar workers, a majority - 60 % - said that there
    was “no clear or firmly-established reason given for the new system.”

    View Slide

  73. does NOT set concrete
    effect goals for
    new business system
    85 %
    ComputerSweden 2010
    Or that just 15% of companies, which invested in new business systems, had set any concrete effect
    goals for the new system ...

    View Slide

  74. 40 %
    abandoned
    Or the strange fact, established over several years of studies (for example the Standish reports), that
    around 40 % of IT projects are abandoned in mid-construction.
    It’s hard to understand why this happens so often, if the projects would really have had good value as a
    clear goal.

    View Slide

  75. And: “Why don’t they listen to us?!?”
    We know how to build products or services that provides good user experiences, but too often we are
    ignored still - or perhaps politely listened to, yet ignored in the end. Why?
    Well, if the real - the deeper, unacknowledged - reasons aren’t service to the customer, but something
    else ... it would make a bit more sense.

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  76. ”... all the software
    designed to save us from
    administrative
    responsibilities turned us
    into part- or full-time
    administrators”
    I’ve given you mainly examples from Sweden, but the signs and traces of bad systems in the workplace
    seem common in many countries.
    The following slide is a quotation from David Graeber, writer and historian:

    View Slide

  77. ”university professors seem
    to feel it is inevitable they will
    spend more of their time
    managing grants ...
    learning how to perform jobs
    once performed by travel
    agents, brokers, and
    accountants.”

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  78. ”If we do not notice
    that we live in
    a bureaucratic society,
    that is because
    bureaucratic norms and
    practices have become
    so all-pervasive ...

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  79. ... that we cannot see
    them, or, worse, cannot
    imagine doing things any
    other way.”
    David Graeber
    ”Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit”
    The Baffler, March 2012

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  80. Stress in the
    digital workplace:
    overview
    I’ll let that sink in, and give you a framework for how to look at stress in the digital workplace.

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  81. Technology
    malfunctions
    Computer crashes
    Network down
    Printer jammed
    Slow server response
    This is familiar to most people.

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  82. Technology
    malfunctions
    ✓ Easily identified
    by users
    ✓ Loved by
    IT departments /
    support
    ✓ Solution: more money
    to IT companies
    And they are typically the problems that first spring to mind, when workers are asked about their
    problems.
    Unfortunately they are often the ONLY problems that are considered by IT departments and
    management.
    That means that other, bigger problems are overlooked.

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  83. Technology
    malfunction
    Poor
    adaption to
    humans
    I.e, this.

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  84. Technology
    malfunction
    Poor
    adaption to
    humans
    Typical UX, IA, IxD,
    usability problems
    New systems introduced
    too fast / frequently
    Too many differences
    between systems
    Lack of training or proper
    introductions

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  85. Technology
    malfunction
    Poor
    adaption to
    humans
    ✓ Not well understood
    by users
    ✓ Not well understood
    by support / IT
    departments
    ✓ Blame the humans:
    ”Not technology
    savvy”, ”Whiners”
    Bad IA/UX is much harder for users to spot. They often don’t have the training to see that a system
    could be designed in a better way. So they sometimes don’t recognise these inefficiencies.
    And of course, in contrast to the former category, these are problems that arise when systems do work
    - or at least seem to work, from a purely technological point of view.

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  86. Technology
    malfunction
    Poor
    adaption to
    humans
    Changes in
    how work
    is carried out
    Ever-increasing
    documentation
    and reporting
    ”Self-service” solutions
    Command and control
    Prescribing process/
    workflow management
    Geo-tracking
    And then we have a third category.
    What we see now is the rise of what some scholars call– instead of “the information age” - “the
    administration age”. Others speak of “the control society”.
    Computers and IT go extremely well with increasing demand for command-and-control in the
    workplace. This is often given names like “process management”, “workflow systems”; and it comes
    with detailed tracking, documentation and reporting.

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  87. Technology
    malfunction
    Poor
    adaption to
    humans
    Changes in
    how work
    is carried out
    ✓ Loss of flexibility, routinisation, digital Taylorism
    ✓ De-professionalisation
    ✓ Transfer of power to central management
    ✓ IT at the core of this development
    ✓ Middle management + IT companies = ♥
    It is often claimed that these IT solution leads to higher efficiency. However, there are several studies
    that actually show the opposite. And they also have a number of negative consequences for the
    individual.
    The most important thing to understand is that IT is actually the driving force here. Nobody would
    dream of implementing these policies using paper forms; that would seem ridiculous.
    And in contrast to the guild of form-makers, which catered for the needs of the bureaucrats of
    Parkinson’s first discovery, the IT industry today is an aggressive, multi-billion industry. And yet many
    workplace systems are indeed just plain forms - on screen instead of on paper.

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  88. Summary

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  89. Observe the users
    • Other systems
    • Training
    • Speed / frequency of introduction of new
    systems
    • The burden of vigilance
    If you design systems that are to be used in the workplace, please consider these points.

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  90. ”Consumer-grade
    usability”
    The systems used at work are still to a large extent grey, ugly, poorly-adapted to human tasks and
    needs.
    There is no reason why the systems we (have to) use at work should not be as pleasant, easy to use and
    well-integrated as the systems we choose to download to our smartphones. Workers need “consumer-
    grade usability”.

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  91. But it’s not just about the
    interface.
    This is not just a question of the interface.

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  92. Freedom
    Empowerment
    Trust
    Self-organizing
    Control
    Distrust
    vs
    So many things that the web and digital age have given us as consumers, in our private life, give us
    freedom. Enable empowerment. Build upon trust. Make self-organising possible.
    The trend in the workplace is the opposite: More control. More distrust.

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  93. Work with internal
    systems – people
    need yor help
    At conferences like this, e-commerce or consumer products and services are often in focus.
    I invite you, I encourage you, I beg you - come and work in corporate systems. Your help is badly
    needed. People are hurt. IA and UX can have a profound impact.

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  94. Do good (and business)
    Work with ergonomist, unions,
    Occupational Safety & Health
    agencies
    I can see no other group being in a better position to do good here.
    And it’s a huge business opportunity. Because the occupational health & safety people don’t have the
    qualifications to do it. They’re - sort of - still “stuck with the chairs”.

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  95. Keep on
    barking
    If we want to do good, we must keep on challenging the powers.

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  96. Stupid
    bloody
    system!
    This is the book - currently just in Swedish. The subtitle is “How a dismal digital work environment
    stresses us at work - and how to take back control”.

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  97. Thank you!
    Mail:
    [email protected]
    Twitter:
    @Jonas_Blind_Hen
    Site:
    www.javlaskitsystem.se
    Slideshare:
    Jonas_inUse
    If you have examples of stupid systems in the workplace - or of course good systems - please contact me.

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