Multiple Perspectives On Technical Problems and Solutions

Over the years, a number of people have asked about the details surrounding Etsy’s architecture review process. In this post, I’d like to focus on the architecture review working group’s role in facilitating dialogue about technology decision-making. Part of this is really just about working groups in general (pros, cons, formats, etc.) and another part...
Continue reading...

Reflections on the 6th Resilience Engineering Symposium

I just spent the last week in Lisbon, Portugal at the Resilience Engineering Symposium. Zoran Perkov and I were invited to speak on the topic of software operations and resilience in the financial trading and Internet services worlds, to an audience of practitioners and researchers from all around the globe, in a myriad of industries....
Continue reading...

Some Principles of Human-Centered Computing

From Perspectives On Cognitive Task Analysis: Historical Origins and Modern Communities of Practice (emphasis mine) The Aretha Franklin Principle Do not devalue the human to justify the machine. Do not criticize the machine to rationalize the human. Advocate the human–machine system to amplify both. The Sacagawea Principle Human-centered computational tools need to support active organization of...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...