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Nudge Theory

Nudge Theory

Nudge theory: influencing empowered teams to do the things that matter to you

Successful DevOps means empowering teams. “You build it, you run it” is a fine principle, but it means you need to let your teams make their own choices. But you still have things you want all teams to do, and you need to balance the benefits of the right technologies against the costs of running multiple data stores, deployment platforms, languages, etc.

Includes a brief overview of nudge theory and the EAST framework developed by the UK government’s Behavioural Insights team as a framework for influencing behaviour and explores what nudge theory can teach us about making it easy and attractive for disparate teams to do things for the common good.

Continuous Lifecycle London 2017

Sarah Wells

May 18, 2017
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  1. Nudge theory: influencing empowered
    teams to do the things that matter to
    you
    Sarah Wells
    Principal Engineer, Financial Times
    @sarahjwells

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  2. @sarahjwells
    Hello

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  3. @sarahjwells
    1. The challenge
    2. Nudge theory
    3. Influencing teams at the FT

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  4. @sarahjwells
    1. The challenge

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  5. @sarahjwells
    Need to be able to try things out and take risks

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  6. @sarahjwells
    We don’t have time to wait for a decision

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  7. @sarahjwells
    We don’t have to build it right to find out if it’s the
    right thing

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  8. @sarahjwells
    Continuous delivery means we can get this stuff out
    there in days

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  9. @sarahjwells
    Being able to do stuff quickly is great!

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  10. @sarahjwells
    “You build it, you run it”

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  11. @sarahjwells
    Great for building stable well-monitored services

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  12. @sarahjwells
    I’m not going to support it if someone forced me to
    do it wrong

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  13. @sarahjwells
    One size does NOT fit all

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  14. @sarahjwells
    BUT…

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  15. @sarahjwells
    What happens when the project finishes?

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  16. @sarahjwells
    What’s it like to move teams?

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  17. @sarahjwells
    What about higher level goals?

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  18. @sarahjwells
    For the good of the company
    • Security
    • Cost control
    • Operability
    • Support

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  19. @sarahjwells
    For the good of the people
    • Recruitment
    • Career growth/learning
    • Ability to switch teams

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  20. @sarahjwells
    2. Nudge theory

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  21. @sarahjwells
    –David Halpern, ‘Inside the Nudge Unit’
    “a ‘nudge’ is essentially a
    means of encouraging or
    guiding behaviour”

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  22. @sarahjwells
    Attractive to governments!

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  23. @sarahjwells
    US government

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  24. @sarahjwells
    – https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/15/executive-
    order-using-behavioral-science-insights-better-serve-american
    “A growing body of evidence
    demonstrates that behavioral science
    insights … can be used to design
    government policies to better serve the
    American people”

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  25. @sarahjwells
    UK government

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  26. @sarahjwells
    The “Nudge Unit” now employs 70 people in London,
    New York and Sydney

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  27. @sarahjwells
    Data-driven

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  28. @sarahjwells
    Some examples

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  29. @sarahjwells
    Schiphol airport

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  30. @sarahjwells
    – https://worksthatwork.com/1/urinal-fly
    “Sphinx, the urinal manufacturer that
    provides the toilets for Schiphol, says that
    having the fly in the toilet represents savings
    in cleaning costs of 20% or more”

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  31. @sarahjwells
    UK organ donation register
    – http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/publications/applying-
    behavioural-insights-to-organ-donation/

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  32. @sarahjwells
    In one year, would mean ~ 96,000 additional
    registrations

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  33. @sarahjwells
    Travel during the London 2012 Olympics

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  34. @sarahjwells
    62 million journeys during the Olympics
    – 35 per cent above normal

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  35. @sarahjwells
    – http://content.tfl.gov.uk/olympic-legacy-personal-travel-report.pdf
    “Across the two weeks of the
    Olympics, more than three quarters of the
    London travelling population made some sort
    of change to their travel patterns as a result
    of the Games and just 23 per cent continued
    to travel as normal.”

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  36. @sarahjwells
    – http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/did-the-olympics-give-
    cycling-a-boost-31296
    “the government’s Ride to Work scheme
    … leapt in popularity after the
    Olympics, with a 30% increase in
    uptake in the third quarter of 2012
    compared with 2011.”

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  37. @sarahjwells
    So - how do you influence behaviour?

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  38. @sarahjwells
    If you want to encourage a behaviour, make it:

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  39. @sarahjwells
    Easy
    • Reduce the ‘hassle’ factor of taking up a service
    • Harness the power of defaults
    • Simplify messages

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  40. @sarahjwells
    Attractive
    • Attract attention
    • Think about the incentives

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  41. @sarahjwells
    Social
    • Show what other people are doing
    • Use the power of networks
    • Encourage people to make a commitment

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  42. @sarahjwells
    Timely
    • Pick the right time
    • Offer immediate costs and benefits
    • Help people plan behaviour in advance

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  43. @sarahjwells
    Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely (EAST)
    – http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/
    BIT-Publication-EAST_FA_WEB.pdf

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  44. @sarahjwells
    3. Influencing teams at the FT

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  45. @sarahjwells
    Developer tooling: then and now

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  46. @sarahjwells
    FT Platform

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  47. @sarahjwells
    Lots of decisions made for you

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  48. @sarahjwells
    Didn’t collaborate with their end users

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  49. @sarahjwells
    ‘Forced’ upgrades

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  50. @sarahjwells
    – matt.chadburn.co.uk/notes/teams-as-services.html
    “pick the best value tools for the job at hand,
    be they things developed and supported by
    internal teams or external to the company.”

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  51. @sarahjwells
    Internal teams no longer have a captive market

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  52. @sarahjwells
    But they should have all the advantages

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  53. @sarahjwells
    Tools and APIs over platforms

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  54. @sarahjwells
    “Look at this! And here’s how
    easy it is to use”

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  55. @sarahjwells
    Defining what it means to build a system

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  56. @sarahjwells
    “Your system is expected to be
    stable, secure and well
    monitored”

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  57. @sarahjwells
    “If you as a project choose new
    technologies, either you do overnight
    support or you provide enough
    documentation and handover for first
    line to be happy doing so”

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  58. @sarahjwells
    Define what you want, not how
    to do it

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  59. @sarahjwells
    “It should be possible for a new
    developer to get their development and
    deployment environment set up in 20
    minutes”

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  60. @sarahjwells
    The Engineering Checklist

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  61. @sarahjwells
    Checklists are great

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  62. @sarahjwells
    Github web hook

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  63. @sarahjwells
    “Your web application health
    check should look like this”

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  64. @sarahjwells
    Communication

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  65. @sarahjwells
    Good things get around

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  66. @sarahjwells
    Graphite and Grafana

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  67. @sarahjwells
    Circle CI

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  68. @sarahjwells
    Giving people information

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  69. @sarahjwells
    Programmatic checks for standards compliance

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  70. @sarahjwells
    FT AWS tag standards
    • team
    • environment
    • stopSchedule
    • etc…

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  71. @sarahjwells
    Tagbot: checking AWS tags and terminating
    instances that don’t comply

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  72. @sarahjwells
    If no-one is doing the thing you want them to - it’s
    your problem

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  73. @sarahjwells
    You need to be willing to discuss things (e.g. github
    user names)

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  74. @sarahjwells
    How does this relate to Nudge
    theory again?

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  75. @sarahjwells
    Easy: a reminder
    • Reduce the ‘hassle’ factor of taking up a service
    • Harness the power of defaults
    • Simplify messages

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  76. @sarahjwells
    Easy:
    • Checklists
    • APIs
    • Example code, client libraries

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  77. @sarahjwells
    Easy:
    • Supporting self-service
    • Customer service: dedicated slack channel, status pages,
    helpful error messages, feedback mechanisms

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  78. @sarahjwells
    Attractive: a reminder
    • Attract attention
    • Think about the incentives

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  79. @sarahjwells
    Attractive:
    • Showing how this will make their life less painful
    • Making clear the value that team and the FT as a whole get
    from doing it

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  80. @sarahjwells
    Attractive:
    • Information in places people look at
    • Great documentation, screen shots, demos

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  81. @sarahjwells
    Social: a reminder
    • Show what other people are doing
    • Use the power of networks
    • Encourage people to make a commitment

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  82. @sarahjwells
    Social:
    • Show how other people are doing on this measure
    • Agreeing on when a team will tackle something

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  83. @sarahjwells
    Social:
    • Showing off about stuff - lightning talks, demos, explainer
    sessions, posters
    • Getting client teams to talk about how easy/useful it is

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  84. @sarahjwells
    Timely: a reminder
    • Pick the right time
    • Offer immediate costs and benefits
    • Help people plan behaviour in advance

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  85. @sarahjwells
    Timely:
    • Telling people what they are going to need to do and when
    • Frequently and via lots of mechanisms

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  86. @sarahjwells
    Timely:
    • Telling people what’s coming next
    • Talking to customers and doing things for them proactively

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  87. @sarahjwells
    1. The challenge
    2. Nudge theory
    3. Influencing teams at the FT

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  88. @sarahjwells
    Teams that make their own decisions can move
    faster

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  89. @sarahjwells
    But you can end up with a proliferation of
    approaches

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  90. @sarahjwells
    Provide a good solution and teams will use it

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  91. @sarahjwells
    EAST can help to nudge the teams towards that
    solution

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  92. @sarahjwells
    Thank you!

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