Stress, Strain, and Reminders

This is a photo of the backside of the T-shirt for the operations engineering team  at Etsy: This diagram might not come as a surprise to those who know that I come from a mechanical engineering background. But I also wanted to have this on the T-shirt as a reminder (maybe just to myself, but...
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Counterfactual Thinking, Rules, and The Knight Capital Accident

In between reading copious amounts of indignation surrounding whatever is suboptimal about healthcare.gov, you may or may not have noticed the SEC statement regarding the Knight Capital accident that took place in 2012. This Release No. 70694 is a document that contains many details about the accident, and you can read what looks like on the surface...
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Learning from Failure at Etsy

(This was originally posted on Code As Craft, Etsy’s engineering blog. I’m re-posting it here because it still resonates strongly as I prepare to teach a ‘postmortem facilitator’s course internally at Etsy.) Last week, Owen Thomas wrote a flattering article over at Business Insider on how we handle errors and mistakes at Etsy. I thought...
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Prevention versus Governance versus Adaptive Capacities

The other day I posted about the intersections of Systems Safety and web operations and engineering. One of the largest proponents of bringing a systems thinking perspective to safety (specifically ‘software safety’) is Dr. Nancy Leveson, who has been in that field (really a multidisciplinary field) for at least a couple of decades. She’s the...
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