Cognitive Systems Engineering

Invited article in IEEE Software – Technical Debt: Challenges and Perspectives

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Earlier this year, I was asked to contribute to an article in IEEE Software, entitled “Technical Debt: Challenges and Perspectives.” I can’t post the entire article here, but I can post the accepted text of my part of the article here. Misusing the Metaphor John Allspaw All technical disciplines (not just software development) require different […]

Cognitive Systems Engineering

Some Principles of Human-Centered Computing

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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 […]

Complex Systems

Stress, Strain, and Reminders

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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 […]

Complex Systems

Teaching Engineering As A Social Science

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Below is a piece written by Edward Wenk, Jr., which originally appeared in PRlSM, the magazine for the American Society for Engineering Education (Publication Volume 6. No. 4. December 1996.) While I think that there’s much more than what Wenk points to as ‘social science’ – I agree wholeheartedly with his ideas. I might even say […]

Complex Systems

High Tempo, High Consequence

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A Time to Remember I want you to think back to a time when you found yourself in an emergency situation at work. Maybe it was diagnosing and trying to recover from a site outage. Maybe it was when you were confronting the uncertain possibility of critical data loss. Maybe it was when you and […]