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. 1.

    Nudge theory: influencing empowered teams to do the things that

    matter to you Sarah Wells Principal Engineer, Financial Times @sarahjwells
  2. 13.
  3. 19.

    @sarahjwells For the good of the company • Security •

    Cost control • Operability • Support
  4. 20.

    @sarahjwells For the good of the people • Recruitment •

    Career growth/learning • Ability to switch teams
  5. 22.

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

    essentially a means of encouraging or guiding behaviour”
  6. 23.
  7. 29.
  8. 33.
  9. 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”
  10. 36.
  11. 37.
  12. 38.
  13. 42.
  14. 43.
  15. 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.”
  16. 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.”
  17. 48.

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

    a service • Harness the power of defaults • Simplify messages
  18. 50.

    @sarahjwells Social • Show what other people are doing •

    Use the power of networks • Encourage people to make a commitment
  19. 51.

    @sarahjwells Timely • Pick the right time • Offer immediate

    costs and benefits • Help people plan behaviour in advance
  20. 63.
  21. 65.
  22. 66.
  23. 67.
  24. 68.
  25. 69.
  26. 71.
  27. 72.
  28. 73.
  29. 74.
  30. 75.
  31. 76.
  32. 77.
  33. 78.
  34. 82.
  35. 83.
  36. 85.
  37. 87.
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  39. 89.
  40. 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.”
  41. 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”
  42. 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
  43. 103.

    @sarahjwells “It should be possible for a new developer to

    get their development and deployment environment set up in 20 minutes”
  44. 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
  45. 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
  46. 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
  47. 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
  48. 113.

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

    taking up a service • Harness the power of defaults • Simplify messages
  49. 115.

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

    channel, status pages, helpful error messages, feedback mechanisms
  50. 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
  51. 118.
  52. 119.

    @sarahjwells Social: a reminder • Show what other people are

    doing • Use the power of networks • Encourage people to make a commitment
  53. 120.

    @sarahjwells Social: • Show how other people are doing on

    this measure • Agreeing on when a team will tackle something
  54. 121.

    @sarahjwells Social: • Showing off about stuff - lightning talks,

    demos, explainer sessions, posters • Getting client teams to talk about how easy/useful it is
  55. 122.

    @sarahjwells Timely: a reminder • Pick the right time •

    Offer immediate costs and benefits • Help people plan behaviour in advance
  56. 123.

    @sarahjwells Timely: • Telling people what they are going to

    need to do and when • Frequently and via lots of mechanisms
  57. 124.

    @sarahjwells Timely: • Telling people what’s coming next • Talking

    to customers and doing things for them proactively