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Velocity Amsterdam 2016: Nudge theory: Influencing empowered teams to do the things that matter to you

A288fb976fc633cde90a2bc19bf2b5a6?s=47 Sarah Wells
November 07, 2016

Velocity Amsterdam 2016: Nudge theory: Influencing empowered teams to do the things that matter to you

“You build it, you run it” is a fine principle, but it means you need to let your teams make their own choices. No one wants to support a system running on [insert inappropriate or flaky technology here] just because that’s the company’s recommended queue technology or data store. One size does not fit all.

But what happens when you end up with multiple CDNs, data stores, queuing technologies, issue-tracking systems, communication tools, build and deployment tools, and languages? What’s the implication for ongoing support of your services? It’s all fine when a big team is working on the new shiny thing, but what happens when they leave and you have five people supporting all the “legacy” stuff? And what about first responders who need to work out what system is broken from a web of interconnected services?

Relatedly, how can the technology leadership make sure program teams still pay attention to department goals that may not match their short-term incentives? You want to save costs on AWS; they want to get stuff out there and optimize performance later.

At the Financial Times, teams are pretty empowered to make the right decisions for themselves, but this means they’re very resistant to top-down dictates. As a result, company leadership has had to find other ways to influence people to do the right thing, including nudge theory.

Sarah Wells offers a brief overview of nudge theory and the EAST framework developed by the UK government’s Behavioural Insights team (the Nudge Unit) for influencing behavior. Sarah then shares the things that worked at the Financial Times and, drawing on real-world examples, explores what nudge theory can teach about how to make it easy and attractive for development teams to do the things that matter at a cross-team level.

A288fb976fc633cde90a2bc19bf2b5a6?s=128

Sarah Wells

November 07, 2016
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Transcript

  1. Nudge theory: influencing empowered teams to do the things that

    matter to you Sarah Wells Principal Engineer, Financial Times @sarahjwells
  2. @sarahjwells Hello

  3. @sarahjwells 1. The challenge 2. The theory 3. Influencing teams

    at the FT 4. Recommendations
  4. @sarahjwells 1. The challenge

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

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

  7. @sarahjwells We don’t have to build it right to find

    out if it’s the right thing
  8. @sarahjwells Continuous delivery means we can get this stuff out

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

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

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

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

    me to do it wrong
  13. None
  14. @sarahjwells One size does NOT fit all

  15. @sarahjwells BUT…

  16. @sarahjwells What happens when the project finishes?

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

  18. @sarahjwells What about higher level goals?

  19. @sarahjwells For the good of the company • Security •

    Cost control • Operability • Support
  20. @sarahjwells For the good of the people • Recruitment •

    Career growth/learning • Ability to switch teams
  21. @sarahjwells 2. The theory

  22. @sarahjwells –David Halpern, ‘Inside the Nudge Unit’ “a ‘nudge’ is

    essentially a means of encouraging or guiding behaviour”
  23. None
  24. @sarahjwells Attractive to governments!

  25. @sarahjwells US government

  26. @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”
  27. @sarahjwells UK government

  28. @sarahjwells The “Nudge Unit” now employs 70 people in London,

    New York and Sydney
  29. None
  30. @sarahjwells Data-driven

  31. @sarahjwells Some examples

  32. @sarahjwells Schiphol airport

  33. None
  34. @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”
  35. @sarahjwells UK organ donation register – http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/publications/applying- behavioural-insights-to-organ-donation/

  36. None
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  38. None
  39. @sarahjwells In one year, would mean ~ 96,000 additional registrations

  40. @sarahjwells Travel during the London 2012 Olympics

  41. @sarahjwells 62 million journeys during the Olympics – 35 per

    cent above normal
  42. None
  43. None
  44. @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.”
  45. @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.”
  46. @sarahjwells So - how do you influence behaviour?

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

  48. @sarahjwells Easy • Reduce the ‘hassle’ factor of taking up

    a service • Harness the power of defaults • Simplify messages
  49. @sarahjwells Attractive • Attract attention • Think about the incentives

  50. @sarahjwells Social • Show what other people are doing •

    Use the power of networks • Encourage people to make a commitment
  51. @sarahjwells Timely • Pick the right time • Offer immediate

    costs and benefits • Help people plan behaviour in advance
  52. @sarahjwells Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely (EAST) – http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ BIT-Publication-EAST_FA_WEB.pdf

  53. @sarahjwells 3. Influencing teams at the FT

  54. @sarahjwells A story

  55. @sarahjwells FT Platform

  56. @sarahjwells Lots of decisions made for you

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

  58. @sarahjwells ‘Forced’ upgrades

  59. @sarahjwells Tools and APIs over platforms

  60. @sarahjwells How do you get people to use your tools

    and APIs?
  61. @sarahjwells Defining what it means to build a system

  62. @sarahjwells Checklists are great

  63. None
  64. @sarahjwells An engineering checklist

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  70. @sarahjwells Github web hook

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  79. @sarahjwells Communication

  80. @sarahjwells Good things get around

  81. @sarahjwells Graphite and Grafana

  82. None
  83. None
  84. @sarahjwells Circle CI

  85. None
  86. @sarahjwells Giving people information

  87. None
  88. None
  89. None
  90. @sarahjwells Programmatic checks for standards compliance

  91. @sarahjwells FT AWS tag standards • team • environment •

    stopSchedule • etc…
  92. @sarahjwells Tagbot: checking AWS tags and terminating instances that don’t

    comply
  93. @sarahjwells 4. Recommendations

  94. @sarahjwells 1. Treat internal teams as service providers

  95. @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.”
  96. @sarahjwells Internal teams no longer have a captive market

  97. @sarahjwells But they should have all the advantages

  98. @sarahjwells 1. Treat internal teams as service providers 2. Define

    expectations
  99. @sarahjwells “Your system is expected to be stable, secure and

    well monitored”
  100. @sarahjwells 1. Treat internal teams as service providers 2. Define

    expectations 3. Offer options
  101. @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”
  102. @sarahjwells 1. Treat internal teams as service providers 2. Define

    expectations 3. Offer options 4. Define what you want, not how to do that
  103. @sarahjwells “It should be possible for a new developer to

    get their development and deployment environment set up in 20 minutes”
  104. @sarahjwells 1. Treat internal teams as service providers 2. Define

    expectations 3. Offer options 4. Define what you want, not how to do that 5. Define standards
  105. @sarahjwells “Your web application health check should look like this”

  106. @sarahjwells 1. Treat internal teams as service providers 2. Define

    expectations 3. Offer options 4. Define what you want, not how to do that 5. Define standards 6. Share knowledge
  107. @sarahjwells “Look at this! And here’s how easy it is

    to use”
  108. @sarahjwells 1. Treat internal teams as service providers 2. Define

    expectations 3. Offer options 4. Define what you want, not how to do that 5. Define standards 6. Share knowledge 7. Show people how they’re doing
  109. @sarahjwells 1. Treat internal teams as service providers 2. Define

    expectations 3. Offer options 4. Define what you want, not how to do that 5. Define standards 6. Share knowledge 7. Show people how they’re doing 8. If no-one is doing the thing you want them to - it’s your problem
  110. @sarahjwells You need to be willing to discuss things

  111. @sarahjwells 9. Trust your teams

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

  113. @sarahjwells Easy: a reminder • Reduce the ‘hassle’ factor of

    taking up a service • Harness the power of defaults • Simplify messages
  114. @sarahjwells Easy: • Checklists • APIs • Example code, client

    libraries
  115. @sarahjwells Easy: • Supporting self-service • Customer service: dedicated slack

    channel, status pages, helpful error messages, feedback mechanisms
  116. @sarahjwells Attractive: a reminder • Attract attention • Think about

    the incentives
  117. @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
  118. @sarahjwells Attractive: • Information in places people look at •

    Great documentation, screen shots, demos
  119. @sarahjwells Social: a reminder • Show what other people are

    doing • Use the power of networks • Encourage people to make a commitment
  120. @sarahjwells Social: • Show how other people are doing on

    this measure • Agreeing on when a team will tackle something
  121. @sarahjwells Social: • Showing off about stuff - lightning talks,

    demos, explainer sessions, posters • Getting client teams to talk about how easy/useful it is
  122. @sarahjwells Timely: a reminder • Pick the right time •

    Offer immediate costs and benefits • Help people plan behaviour in advance
  123. @sarahjwells Timely: • Telling people what they are going to

    need to do and when • Frequently and via lots of mechanisms
  124. @sarahjwells Timely: • Telling people what’s coming next • Talking

    to customers and doing things for them proactively
  125. @sarahjwells 1. The challenge 2. The theory 3. Influencing teams

    at the FT 4. Recommendations
  126. @sarahjwells Thank you!