Sabine Wojcieszak is an enthusiastic Agile & DevOps Enabler at getNext IT, a German consultancy. As a coach she helps teams and organisations to improve their teamwork and their communication. She enables people to work in an agile way or to adopt the DevOps mentality and focuses on the human part of such changes. Sabine is a well-known speaker at international tech conferences, author of several articles and one of the DevOpsDays Kiel organisers. She also lectures on topics of APM, DevOps and Open Source at the University of Applied Science in Kiel.
Welcome failure! – Easier said than done!
In the agile world we find a lot of slogans around the topic of failure: “Welcome failure”, “fail fast”, “Fail early” or “Fail often” are used regularly. And in theory we all agree that we can learn from failure. Some of us also dreaming of a Blameless Culture. But then daily business chatches us up…
The search for the guilty person starts as well as the finger pointing procedure! Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief not being identified as the originator of a failure. The idea of having caused a failure is often closely connect with the fear of negative consequences. There ae still managers who believe that “punishing” is the only way to make people learn for the future. And yes, people learn: to hide failure; to avoid work, which is more complex; to not look out of their own box; to follow rules blindly and many more.
But in our modern and complex world failures often happen because of a concatenation of previous situations. If we use the chances of having a close and detailed look on all these events not only from the retrospective point of view, we will be able to identify weaknesses in our system and processes. And who can give us the best and most qualified insight of what has happened than the originator? The originator is the expert for this failure or failed situation and allows us a change in our perspective: not only the retrospective but also the situation and decisions through the eyes of the originator! But to enable this we need to guarantee a culture of psychological safety and punishment is not the way to do this! This talk will shed a light on the significance of the failure slogans for our daily work and doing as individual, as team and as manager. The talk will also take a look from the Just Culture perspective on the topic of failure and classify types of failures. The importance of knowledge management and resilience engineering will be discussed. The talk will try to answer the question what can be done to close the gap between our theoretical understanding of how to deal with failures and the actual daily doing. It will be a trip through the world of failure which will end up at the topics of culture, mindset, leadership and discipline to make the audience re-think their own behavior.