John Allspaw on Common Ground and Coordination in Joint Activity

John Allspaw on Common Ground and Coordination in Joint Activity

The paper I'm going to discuss is the result of what happens when people with backgrounds in mathematics, psychology, and artificial intelligence (Feltovich and Bradshaw) get together to ask questions about how teams operate alongside the originators of modern decision-making and cognitive systems engineering research (Klein and Woods).

The concepts outlined in the paper have provided frames and directions in designing tools and environments where successful work requires multiple actors (whether they are people or software agents!) to succeed. This seminal paper takes a deep dive into not just people and teamwork, but what comprises the sometimes invisible activity of coordination, collaboration, cooperation, and the contracts and expectations entities have with each other along the way.

The paper has had far-reaching influence in multiple domains: military intelligence, space transportation and aviation, and more recently: software engineering and operations on the web. Let me walk you through where this paper came from, what makes this paper critical to the future of software, and a hint about what I'm sure it means about the future.

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Papers_We_Love

May 25, 2016
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  1. 1 Common Ground And Coordination in Joint Activity A Walkthrough

    By John Allspaw (CTO, Etsy) 5/25/16 Papers We Love NYC f(x)=x
  2. The Paper 2 What Should I Read Next? 3 Context

    1 Agenda
  3. 3 SECTION # I See Connections!

  4. 4 Priming The Pump of Connections

  5. 4 Priming The Pump of Connections “When the cost of

    coordinating change increases, one of two things happen. Either people find ways to reduce the coordination/ communication costs, or they stop making changes. The latter is exactly how we end up with large, hard-to-maintain codebases.” Newman, Sam (2015-02-02). Building Microservices (Kindle Locations 3923-3925). O'Reilly Media. Kindle Edition.
  6. 5 Priming The Pump of Connections

  7. 5 “In large organizations where the delivery process is divided

    between different groups such as development, DBA, operations, testing, etc., the cost of coordination between these silos can be enormous, sometimes stalling the release process in ticketing hell.” Humble, Jez; Farley, David (2010-07-27). Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation Priming The Pump of Connections
  8. Connections You May See 6 CAP Theorem microservice/monolith justification validation

    of Conway’s “Law” reification of Dunbar’s Number distributed systems consensus concepts
  9. 7 CAP Theorem microservice/monolith justification validation of Conway’s “Law” reification

    of Dunbar’s Number distributed systems consensus concepts RESIST THE URGE TO MAP THESE TO THIS PAPER
  10. 8 CHAPTER 7 GROUNDING IN COMMUNICATION HERBERT H. CLARK AND

    SUSAN E. BRENNAN GROUNDlNG It takes two people working together to play a duet, shake hands, play chess, waltz, teach, or make love. To succeed, the two of them have to coordinate both the content and process of what they are doing. Alan and Barbara, on the piano, must come to play the same Mozart duet. This is coordination of content. They must also synchronize their entrances and exits, coordinate how loudly to play forte and pianissimo, and otherwise adjust to each other’s tempo and dynamics. This is coordination of process. They cannot even begin to coordinate on content without assuming a vast amount of shared information or common ground-that is, mutual knowledge, mutual beliefs, and mutual assumptions (Clark & Carlson, 1982; Clark & Marshall, 1981; Lewis, 1969; Schelling, 1960). And to coordinate on process, they need to update their common ground moment by moment. All collective actions are built on common ground and its accumulation. We thank many colleagues for discussion of the issues we take up here. The research was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant BNS 83-20284 and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Correspondence concerning this chapter should be addressed to Herbert H. Clark, Department of Psychology, Jordan Hall, Building 420, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2130, or Susan E. Brennan, Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook NY 11794-2500. 127
  11. 9 Dr. Paul Feltovich B.S., Math PhD, Educational Psychology Post-doc,

    Cognitive Psychology Dr. Jeff Bradshaw B.S., Math PhD, Cognitive Science Post-doc, Cognitive Psychology Dr. David Woods PhD, Cognitive Psychology Dr. Gary Klein PhD, Experimental Psychology
  12. Background Studies Relay races Driving in traffic Coaching high school

    football teams 10
  13. 11 A Note On Models

  14. Herbert Clark 12

  15. Noticed that people repair when they miscommunicate. Usually, these miscommunications

    aren’t “fatal”. Herbert Clark 12
  16. Noticed that people repair when they miscommunicate. Usually, these miscommunications

    aren’t “fatal”. People have a repair process that is ongoing. Herbert Clark 12
  17. Noticed that people repair when they miscommunicate. Usually, these miscommunications

    aren’t “fatal”. People have a repair process that is ongoing. People are sensitive to each other during the process of communicating. Herbert Clark 12
  18. “pertinent mutual knowledge, mutual beliefs, and mutual assumptions that support

    interdependent actions in some joint activity.” Common Ground 13
  19. 14 Not a thing. Not a state. Instead: grounding

  20. Common ground does not mean knowing the same things! 15

  21. Common ground does not mean knowing the same things! •

    A process during communication where I understand the other’s person’s perspective. I can understand the relationship between their knowledge, beliefs, and assumptions and my own. 15
  22. Common ground does not mean knowing the same things! •

    A process during communication where I understand the other’s person’s perspective. I can understand the relationship between their knowledge, beliefs, and assumptions and my own. • We invest in the process of grounding to avoid miscommunication. In other words, we’re continually repairing. 15
  23. Common ground does not mean knowing the same things! •

    A process during communication where I understand the other’s person’s perspective. I can understand the relationship between their knowledge, beliefs, and assumptions and my own. • We invest in the process of grounding to avoid miscommunication. In other words, we’re continually repairing. • We monitor it by asking explicitly about our knowledge, beliefs, and assumptions. 15
  24. Common ground does not mean knowing the same things! •

    A process during communication where I understand the other’s person’s perspective. I can understand the relationship between their knowledge, beliefs, and assumptions and my own. • We invest in the process of grounding to avoid miscommunication. In other words, we’re continually repairing. • We monitor it by asking explicitly about our knowledge, beliefs, and assumptions. • Detecting a mismatch in common ground is one of the primary ingredients in comedy. 15
  25. Airplane, Paramount Pictures, 1980

  26. Airplane, Paramount Pictures, 1980

  27. Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen)

  28. You’d better tell the Captain Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen)

  29. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen)
  30. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen)
  31. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty)
  32. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital A hospital Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty)
  33. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital A hospital What is it? Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty)
  34. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital A hospital What is it? Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty)
  35. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital A hospital What is it? It’s a big building with patients Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty)
  36. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital A hospital What is it? It’s a big building with patients But that’s not important right now Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty)
  37. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital A hospital What is it? It’s a big building with patients But that’s not important right now Tell the Captain I must speak to him Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Dr. Rumack (Leslie Neilsen) Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty)
  38. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital A hospital What is it? It’s a big building with patients But that’s not important right now Tell the Captain I must speak to him
  39. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital A hospital What is it? It’s a big building with patients But that’s not important right now Tell the Captain I must speak to him
  40. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital A hospital What is it? It’s a big building with patients But that’s not important right now Tell the Captain I must speak to him
  41. You’d better tell the Captain We’ve got to land as

    soon as we can This woman has to be gotten to a hospital A hospital What is it? It’s a big building with patients But that’s not important right now Tell the Captain I must speak to him
  42. The Pink Panther Strikes Again, MGM, 1976

  43. The Pink Panther Strikes Again, MGM, 1976

  44. None
  45. Does your dog bite? Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers)

  46. Does your dog bite? Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) QUESTION

  47. Does your dog bite? Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) No. Inkeeper

    QUESTION
  48. Does your dog bite? Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) No. Inkeeper

    ANSWER QUESTION
  49. Does your dog bite? Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) No. Inkeeper

    I thought you said your dog does not bite. Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) ANSWER QUESTION
  50. Does your dog bite? Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) No. Inkeeper

    I thought you said your dog does not bite. Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) That is not my dog. Inkeeper ANSWER QUESTION
  51. Does your dog bite? Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) No. Inkeeper

    I thought you said your dog does not bite. Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) That is not my dog. Inkeeper ANSWER QUESTION
  52. Does your dog bite? Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) No. Inkeeper

    I thought you said your dog does not bite. Insp. Clouseau (Peter Sellers) That is not my dog. Inkeeper ANSWER QUESTION Shared views of the world establish context
  53. The Bedford Incident, Columbia, 1965

  54. The Bedford Incident, Columbia, 1965

  55. None
  56. None
  57. Captain, you are a fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke

  58. Finlander, leave it alone Ben Munceford Captain, you are a

    fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke
  59. Finlander, leave it alone Ben Munceford Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.

    Take it easy, Ralston Captain, you are a fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke
  60. Finlander, leave it alone Ben Munceford Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.

    Take it easy, Ralston Captain, you are a fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Ensign Ralston All systems in automatic control sir... weapons armed and ready
  61. Finlander, leave it alone Ben Munceford Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.

    Take it easy, Ralston Captain, you are a fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Ensign Ralston All systems in automatic control sir... weapons armed and ready Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N. Take it easy
  62. Finlander, leave it alone Ben Munceford Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.

    Take it easy, Ralston Captain, you are a fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Ensign Ralston All systems in automatic control sir... weapons armed and ready Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N. Take it easy Ensign Ralston Fire control A.O.K. sir... all systems armed and ready... ready
  63. Finlander, leave it alone Ben Munceford Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.

    Take it easy, Ralston Captain, you are a fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Ensign Ralston All systems in automatic control sir... weapons armed and ready Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N. Take it easy Ensign Ralston Fire control A.O.K. sir... all systems armed and ready... ready This is insane Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke
  64. Finlander, leave it alone Ben Munceford Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.

    Take it easy, Ralston Captain, you are a fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Ensign Ralston All systems in automatic control sir... weapons armed and ready Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N. Take it easy Ensign Ralston Fire control A.O.K. sir... all systems armed and ready... ready This is insane Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Now don’t worry commodore Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.
  65. Finlander, leave it alone Ben Munceford Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.

    Take it easy, Ralston Captain, you are a fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Ensign Ralston All systems in automatic control sir... weapons armed and ready Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N. Take it easy Ensign Ralston Fire control A.O.K. sir... all systems armed and ready... ready This is insane Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Now don’t worry commodore Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N. the Bedford will never fire first
  66. Finlander, leave it alone Ben Munceford Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.

    Take it easy, Ralston Captain, you are a fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Ensign Ralston All systems in automatic control sir... weapons armed and ready Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N. Take it easy Ensign Ralston Fire control A.O.K. sir... all systems armed and ready... ready This is insane Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Now don’t worry commodore Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N. the Bedford will never fire first but if he fires one, I’ll fire one
  67. Finlander, leave it alone Ben Munceford Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N.

    Take it easy, Ralston Captain, you are a fool Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Ensign Ralston All systems in automatic control sir... weapons armed and ready Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N. Take it easy Ensign Ralston Fire control A.O.K. sir... all systems armed and ready... ready This is insane Cmdr Wolfgang Schrepke Now don’t worry commodore Captain Eric Finlander U.S.N. the Bedford will never fire first but if he fires one, I’ll fire one Fire one Ensign Ralston
  68. A Convoy As a Distributed Team

  69. INTENTION INTERDEPENDENCE 24 Criteria for “joint activity”

  70. 25 Basic Compact Criteria for “joint activity” INTENTION

  71. 25 Basic Compact “constitutes a level of commitment for all

    parties to support the process of coordination.” Criteria for “joint activity” INTENTION
  72. 25 Basic Compact “constitutes a level of commitment for all

    parties to support the process of coordination.” Goal Alignment Criteria for “joint activity” INTENTION
  73. 26 Criteria for “joint activity” INTERDEPENDENCE

  74. 26 “what party “A” does must depend in some significant

    way on what party “B” does and vice versa.” Criteria for “joint activity” INTERDEPENDENCE
  75. 26 “what party “A” does must depend in some significant

    way on what party “B” does and vice versa.” Mutual influence Criteria for “joint activity” INTERDEPENDENCE
  76. INTERPREDICTABILITY C O M M O N G R O

    U N D D I R E C TA B I L I T Y 27 Requirements for “joint activity”
  77. INTERPREDICTABILITY C O M M O N G R O

    U N D D I R E C TA B I L I T Y 28 Requirements for “joint activity”
  78. INTERPREDICTABILITY C O M M O N G R O

    U N D D I R E C TA B I L I T Y 29 Requirements for “joint activity”
  79. 30 1.Initial common ground 2.Public events so far 3.Current state

    of the activity Requirements for “joint activity” C O M M O N G R O U N D
  80. 31 Joint Activity

  81. 31 Joint Activity depends on

  82. 31 Joint Activity interpredictability depends on

  83. 31 Joint Activity interpredictability depends on based on

  84. 31 Joint Activity interpredictability common ground depends on based on

  85. 31 Joint Activity interpredictability common ground depends on based on

    defined as
  86. 31 Joint Activity interpredictability common ground depends on based on

    defined as mutual knowledge mutual beliefs mutual assumptions
  87. 31 Joint Activity interpredictability common ground depends on based on

    defined as assumes a mutual knowledge mutual beliefs mutual assumptions
  88. 31 Joint Activity interpredictability common ground depends on based on

    defined as Basic Compact assumes a mutual knowledge mutual beliefs mutual assumptions
  89. 31 Joint Activity interpredictability common ground depends on based on

    defined as Basic Compact assumes a which is a mutual knowledge mutual beliefs mutual assumptions
  90. 31 Joint Activity interpredictability common ground depends on based on

    defined as Basic Compact assumes a commitment to participate and align goals which is a mutual knowledge mutual beliefs mutual assumptions
  91. PHA SE S SI GNAL I NG C O O

    R D I N AT I O N D E V I C E S C O O R D I N AT I O N C O S T S 32 Choreography of “joint activity”
  92. 33 Choreography of “joint activity” Phases ENTRY B O D

    Y O F A C T I O N EXI T
  93. 34 Choreography of “joint activity” Signaling

  94. 35 Choreography of “joint activity” Coordination Devices

  95. 35 Choreography of “joint activity” Coordination Devices AGR EEMEN T

  96. 35 Choreography of “joint activity” Coordination Devices AGR EEMEN T

    CO NV EN TION
  97. 35 Choreography of “joint activity” Coordination Devices AGR EEMEN T

    CO NV EN TION PRECEDEN T
  98. 35 Choreography of “joint activity” Coordination Devices AGR EEMEN T

    CO NV EN TION PRECEDEN T SALIENCE
  99. 36 Choreography of “joint activity” Coordination Costs

  100. 36 Choreography of “joint activity” Coordination Costs SYNC HRONI ZATI

    ON OVERHEAD
  101. 36 Choreography of “joint activity” Coordination Costs SYNC HRONI ZATI

    ON OVERHEAD CO MMU NI CAT I ON OVERH EAD
  102. 36 Choreography of “joint activity” Coordination Costs SYNC HRONI ZATI

    ON OVERHEAD CO MMU NI CAT I ON OVERH EAD RE DIRECTION OVERHEAD
  103. 36 Choreography of “joint activity” Coordination Costs SYNC HRONI ZATI

    ON OVERHEAD CO MMU NI CAT I ON OVERH EAD RE DIRECTION OVERHEAD DIAGN OSI S OVERHEAD
  104. 37

  105. 37

  106. 38 http://bit.ly/AllspawThesis

  107. Ethnographic Coding

  108. None
  109. None
  110. None
  111. IE2 PE2 IE5 IE1 IE1 PE3 IE3 PE3 PE3 ProdEng1

    re-enables the sidebar, with blog turned off 13:06:44 13:15:00 13:30:00 13:45:00 14:00:00 14:15:00 14:30:00 ProdEng2 turns off homepage sidebar module disable a CDN? Load balancer changes? Network changes? Wordpress issue? Frozen shop? Featured shop? PE1 PE1 Varnish queuing? Featured staff shop? Sidebar loading staff shop? IE1 IE1 IE1 IE1 IE1 IE1 IE1 Varnish not caching? IE3 Database schema change? IE2 IE2 IE1 Errors from Homepage sidebar IE2 400 response code IE2 PublicShops_GetShopCards API method PE3 Featured shop loading OK IE2 “Shop 1234567 does not exist” Varnish queuing, not caching 400 responses? Stated hypothesis Critical relayed observation
  112. 44 BACK TO THE PAPER

  113. 45 some ‘most important’ types

  114. 45 some ‘most important’ types •the roles and functions of

    each participant;
  115. 45 some ‘most important’ types •the roles and functions of

    each participant; •the routines that the team is capable of executing;
  116. 45 some ‘most important’ types •the roles and functions of

    each participant; •the routines that the team is capable of executing; •the skills and competencies of each participant;
  117. 45 some ‘most important’ types •the roles and functions of

    each participant; •the routines that the team is capable of executing; •the skills and competencies of each participant; •the goals of the participants, including their commitment to the success of the team activity; and
  118. 45 some ‘most important’ types •the roles and functions of

    each participant; •the routines that the team is capable of executing; •the skills and competencies of each participant; •the goals of the participants, including their commitment to the success of the team activity; and •the “stance” of each participant (e.g., his or her perception of time pressure, level of fatigue, and competing priorities).
  119. Fundamental Common Ground Breakdown 46

  120. Fundamental Common Ground Breakdown 46 • Party A believes that

    Party B possesses some knowledge.
  121. Fundamental Common Ground Breakdown 46 • Party A believes that

    Party B possesses some knowledge. • Party B doesn’t have this knowledge, and doesn’t know he or she is supposed to have it.
  122. Fundamental Common Ground Breakdown 46 • Party A believes that

    Party B possesses some knowledge. • Party B doesn’t have this knowledge, and doesn’t know he or she is supposed to have it. • Therefore, he or she doesn’t request it.
  123. Fundamental Common Ground Breakdown 46 • Party A believes that

    Party B possesses some knowledge. • Party B doesn’t have this knowledge, and doesn’t know he or she is supposed to have it. • Therefore, he or she doesn’t request it. • This lack of a request confirms to Party A that Party B has the knowledge.
  124. “We are asserting that people need to have a model

    of the machine as an agent participating in the joint activity.” p.169 47
  125. 48

  126. 48

  127. 49

  128. 50 “I WANT TO TREAT THE PATIENT- NOT THE ALARM”

    USER IMAGE MISMATCH IN ANESTHESIA ALARM DESIGN Thesis/Project work submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MSc in Human Factors and System Safety Karen Raymer, M.D., FRCP(C) LUND UNIVERSITY SWEDEN Date of submission: 2012-06-04
  129. 51

  130. 51

  131. 51

  132. None
  133. 53 Parting Thought

  134. 54

  135. 54 “As alternative to CAP, we propose a "delay-sensitivity" framework,

    which analyzes the sensitivity of operation latency to network delay, and which may help practitioners reason about the trade-offs between consistency guarantees and tolerance of network faults.”
  136. 55

  137. 55 “Alternative OSs like microkernels have long been considered more

    stable and easier to reason about by the systems community, but the performance overhead that comes with running them means typically our OSs still resemble the ones from the ‘60s."
  138. 56

  139. 56 “For those who don't think they're interested in compilers,

    consider how insight into JIT optimizations can help you reason about the performance of all that JavaScript, JVM, and .NET code you interact with all the time!”
  140. 57

  141. 57 What does it mean to reason about something?

  142. 57 What does it mean to reason about something? Does

    reasoning come only from our minds?
  143. 57 What does it mean to reason about something? Does

    reasoning come only from our minds? Do we reason when we’re participating in joint activity?
  144. QUESTIONS? 58 The End