The Idealcast with Gene Kim by IT Revolution
Behind The State of DevOps Research, Favorite Aha Moments, and Where They Are Now: Interviews with The DevOps Handbook Coauthors (Part 2 of 2: Dr. Nicole Forsgren and Jez Humble)

Behind The State of DevOps Research, Favorite Aha Moments, and Where They Are Now: Interviews with The DevOps Handbook Coauthors (Part 2 of 2: Dr. Nicole Forsgren and Jez Humble)

January 27, 2022

In part two of this two-part episode on The DevOpsHandbook, Second Edition, Gene Kim speaks with coauthors Dr. Nicole Forsgren and Jez Humble about the past and current state of DevOps. Forsgren and Humble share with Kim their DevOps aha moments and what has been the most interesting thing they’ve learned since the book was released in 2016.

Jez discusses the architectural properties of the programming language PHP and what it has in common with ASP.NET. He also talks about the anguish he felt when Mike Nygard’s book, Release It!, was published while he was working on his book, Continuous Delivery.

Forsgren talks about how it feels to see the findings from the State of DevOps research so widely used and cited within the technology community. She explains the importance of finding the link between technology performance and organizational performance as well as what she's learned about the importance of culture and how it can make or break an organization.

Humble, Forsgren, and Kim each share their favorite case studies in The DevOps Handbook.

 

ABOUT THE GUEST(S)

Dr. Nicole Forsgren and Jez Humble are two of five coauthors of The DevOps Handbook along with Gene Kim, Patrick Debois and John Willis.

Forsgren, PhD, is a Partner at Microsoft Research. She is coauthor of the Shingo Publication Award-winning book Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and The DevOps Handbook, 2nd Ed., and is best known as lead investigator on the largest DevOps studies to date. She has been a successful entrepreneur (with an exit to Google), professor, performance engineer, and sysadmin. Her work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals.

Humble is co-author of Lean Enterprise, the Jolt Award-winning Continuous Delivery, and The DevOps Handbook. He has spent his career tinkering with code, infrastructure, and product development in companies of varying sizes across three continents, most recently working for the US Federal Government at 18F. As well as serving as DORA’s CTO, Jez teaches at UC Berkeley.

 

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT

  • Projects Jez and Gene worked on together before The DevOps Handbook came out.
  • What life is like for Jez as a site reliability engineer at Google and what he’s learned.
  • The story behind his DevOps aha moment in 2004, working on a large software project involving 70 developers.
  • The architectural properties of his favorite programming language PHP, what it has in common with ASP.NET, and the importance of being able to get fast feedback while building something.
  • The anguish that Jez felt when Mike Nygard’s book, Release It!, came out, wondering if there was still a need for the book he was working on, which was Continuous Delivery.
  • “Testing on the Toilet” and other structures for creating distributed learning across an organization and why this is important to create a genuine learning dynamic.
  • What Dr. Forsgren is working on now as Partner of Microsoft Research.
  • Some of Dr. Forsgren’s goals as we work together on the State of DevOps research and how it feel to have those findings so widely used and cited within the technology community.
  • The importance of finding the link between technology performance and organizational performance and why it probably was so elusive for at least 40 years in the research community.
  • What Dr. Forsgren has learned about the importance of culture, how it can make or break an organization, and the importance of great leadership.

 

RESOURCES

 

TIMESTAMPS

[05:22] Intro

[05:34] Meet Jez Humble

[10:19] What Jez is working on these days

[15:56] What inform his book, “Continuous Delivery”

[24:02] Assembling the team for the project

[26:30] At what point was PHP an important property

[31:56] The most surprising thing since the DevOps Handbook came out

[35:07] His favorite pattern that went into the DevOps Handbook

[43:40] What DevOps worked on in 2021

[44:46] Meet Dr. Nicole Forsgren

[50:32] What Dr. Forsgren is working on these days

[52:18] What it’s like working at Microsoft Research

[55:58] The response to the state of DevOps findings

[59:18] The most surprising finding since the findings release

[1:05:59] Her favorite pattern that influence performance

[1:08:49] How Dr. Forsgren met Dr. Ron Westrum

[1:11:06] The most important thing she’s learned in this journey

[1:14:46] Her favorite case study in the DevOps Handbook

[1:19:12] Dr. Christina Maslach and work burnout

[1:20:46] More context about the case studies

[1:25:32] The Navy case study

[1:29:04] Outro

Personal DevOps Aha Moments, the Rise of Infrastructure, and the DevOps Enterprise Scenius: Interviews with The DevOps Handbook Coauthors (Part 1 of 2: Patrick Debois and John Willis)

Personal DevOps Aha Moments, the Rise of Infrastructure, and the DevOps Enterprise Scenius: Interviews with The DevOps Handbook Coauthors (Part 1 of 2: Patrick Debois and John Willis)

December 16, 2021

In part one of this two-part episode on The DevOpsHandbook, Second Edition, Gene Kim speaks with coauthors Patrick Debois and John Willis about the past, present, and future of DevOps. By sharing their personal stories and experiences, Kim, Debois, and Willis discuss the scenius that inspired the book, and why and how the DevOps movement took hold around the world.

 

They also examine the updated content in the book, including new case studies, updated metrics, and practices. Finally, they each share the new lessons they have learned since writing the handbook and the future challenges they think DevOps professionals need to solve for the future.

Kim will conclude the series in Part 2, where he interviews the remaining two coauthors, Jez Humble and Dr. Nicole Forsgren. 

 

ABOUT THE GUEST(S)

Patrick Debois is considered to be the godfather of the DevOps movement after he coined the term DevOps accidentally in 2008. Through his work, he creates synergies projects and operations by using Agile techniques in development, project management, and system administration. He has worked in several companies such as Atlassian, Zender, and VRT Media Lab. Currently, he is a Labs Researcher at Synk and an independent IT consultant.

 

John Willis an author and Senior Director of the Global Transformation Office at Red Hat.. He has been an active force in the IT management industry for over 35 years. Willis’ experience includes being the Director of Ecosystem Development at Docker, the VP of Solutions for Socketplane, the VP of Training and Services at Opscode. He also founded Gulf Breeze Software, an award-winning IBM business partner, which specializes in deploying Tivoli technology for the enterprise. 

 

Patrick DeBois and John Willis are two of five coauthors of The DevOps Handbook along with Gene Kim, Jez Humble, and Nicole Forsgren, PhD.

 

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT

  • The DevOps origin story from coining the term, why it took off, to launching the DevOps Days conference as an offshoot of the velocity conference. 
  • How people thought of DevOps when it was first presented (their reactions, their mentalities, and their willingness to adopt it).  
  • What has changed in the DevOps world since the first edition of The DevOps Handbook was published.
  • How the rise of SaaS companies is altering the DevOps world and participating in its evolution, and how building solid relationships with SaaS vendors and communicating comprehensive feedback to them is integral to DevOps. 
  • The significance of speed in changing team dynamics.
  • Why resilient companies like Google and Amazon engineer chaos, and why companies like Toyota are happy when production stoppages happen.  
  • Why you can’t afford to provide a high variety of products if you also offer high product variation.

 

RESOURCES

 

TIMESTAMPS

[00:00] Intro 

[01:18] What’s new and improved in the second edition of the DevOps handbook 

[03:56] Meet Patrick DeBois

[10:35] How faster technology made ideas like DevOps possible

[18:11] The myths and inefficiencies of team autonomy

[20:04] What the first DevOps days were like

[27:59] Different opinions between the dev community and ops community

[30:49] Mob programming and the future of collaboration

[39:31] Two surprising things Patrick learned about DevOps

[47:20] Patrick DeBois’ favorite DevOps patterns 

[51:28] How fear of not delivering on time can mask technical errors

[59:45] What Patrick DeBois is working on these days

[1:04:38] What was expanded in the second edition of the DevOps handbook

[1:06:30] How Gene Kim entered the DevOps world. 

[1:07:38] Meet John Willis

[1:10:42] Why the DevOps movement took off

[1:16:00] Mastering production disasters

[1:23:32] The birth of the DevOps Days conference

[1:37:37] Feelings of belonging and connection in a conference

[1:41:29] A few clarifications

[1:49:32] Two of the greatest DevOps open spaces

[1:52:40] The difference between variety and variation (the cost of knowledge work). 

[2:07:12] Why you should want more stoppages in your production line

[2:10:16] John Willis’ two favorite DevOps case studies

[2:18:55] Outro

Simplifying The Inventory Management Systems at the World’s Largest Retailer Using Functional Programming Principles with Scott Havens

Simplifying The Inventory Management Systems at the World’s Largest Retailer Using Functional Programming Principles with Scott Havens

September 23, 2021

In this episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim speaks with Scott Havens, who is the Director of Engineering at Wayfair, where he leads Engineering for the Wayfair Fulfillment Network. Havens is a leading proponent of applying functional programming principles to technical and organizational design. Previously, Havens was the architect for Walmart's global omnichannel inventory system, unifying availability and replenishment for the largest company in the world by revenue.

Havens shares his views on what makes great architecture great. He details what happened when an API call required 23 other synchronous procedures calls to return a correct answer. He discusses the challenges of managing inventory at Wal-Mart, how one implements event sourcing patterns on that scale, and the functional programming principles that it depends upon. Lastly, he talks about how much category theory you need to know to do functional programming and considerations when creating code in complex systems.

Before listening to this interview, please listen to Episode 22, which provides Scott Havens's  2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit talk with commentary from Gene Kim.

 

ABOUT THE GUEST(S)

Scott Havens is a Director of Engineering at Wayfair, where he leads Engineering for the Wayfair Fulfillment Network. Scott cares deeply about scalable data-intensive software systems; he is a leading proponent of applying functional programming principles to technical and organizational design. Previously, Havens was a Director of Engineering at Jet.com and was the architect for Walmart's global omnichannel inventory system, unifying availability and replenishment for the largest company in the world by revenue.

In his home life, Havens enjoys good food, good wine, bad movies, and asking his daughter to stop "redecorating" his Minecraft castles, pretty please.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-havens/

Twitter: @ScottHavens

Email: scott@sphavens.com

 

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT

  • His views on what makes great architectures great
  • The details on what happened when an API call requires 23 other synchronous procedures calls to return a correct answer
  • How one implements event sourcing patterns on a large scale, using Wal-Mart as an example, and the functional programming principles it depends upon
  • The challenges of managing inventory at Wal-Mart
  • How much category theory to know to do functional programming

 

RESOURCES

 

TIMESTAMPS

[00:24] Intro

[02:23] Meet Scott Havens

[03:48] How architecture fits in functional programming

[04:48] Event source systems at Wal-Mart 

[19:45] The effects and behaviors

[22:36] Duality of code and data

[26:13] Currying

[32:34] How the 23 service teams’s world change

[40:56] Hallmarks of great architecture

[51:10] How he replaced the dominant architecture at Wal-Mart

[56:46] Configurations and speculations with couplings

[1:03:51] How can simple systems suffer from problems like this

[1:09:11] Idempotence, Clojure and side effect

[1:17:01] Issues with switching to event-driven asynchronous architectures

[1:25:15] Vast scale in which these organizations operate in

[1:29:54] A moment that showed Scott the effects of what he helped create

[1:33:51] Onboarding new engineers to the new system

[1:45:11] Working in the Windows 3.1 multicast networking group

[1:47:32] Reflection on Moda Operandi experience

[1:52:11] Advice to someone who wants to replicate Scott’s journey

[1:56:17] What to understand about category theory and algebraic thinking

[2:01:11] How to contact Scott

[2:02:48] Outro

(Dispatch from the Scenius) Fabulous Fortunes, Fewer Failures, and Faster Fixes from Functional Fundamentals: Scott Havens’ 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit Talk with Commentary from Gene Kim

(Dispatch from the Scenius) Fabulous Fortunes, Fewer Failures, and Faster Fixes from Functional Fundamentals: Scott Havens’ 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit Talk with Commentary from Gene Kim

September 21, 2021

In this episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim shares and gives commentary on Scott Havens’ talk from the 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas. Havens is a Director of Engineering at Wayfair, where he leads Engineering for the Wayfair Fulfillment Network. He is a leading proponent of applying functional programming principles to technical and organizational design. Previously, Scott was the architect for Walmart's global omnichannel inventory system, unifying availability and replenishment for the largest company in the world by revenue.

In his 2019 DevOps Enterprise Summit talk, Havens highlights functional programming and e-commerce systems work. He also talks about what he did to massively simplify those systems while also making them more testable, reliable, cheaper to operate, and easier to change. Finally, he discusses the implications of using functional programming to change how to design systems and systems of systems on a larger scale.

 

ABOUT THE GUEST

Scott Havens is Director of Engineering at Wayfair, where he leads Engineering for the Wayfair Fulfillment Network. Scott cares deeply about scalable data-intensive software systems. He is a leading proponent of applying functional programming principles to technical and organizational design. Previously, Scott was Director of Engineering at Jet.com and was the architect for Walmart’s global omnichannel inventory system, unifying availability and replenishment for the largest company in the world by revenue.

In his home life, Scott enjoys good food, good wine, bad movies, and asking his daughter to stop “redecorating” his Minecraft castles, pretty please.

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-havens/

Twitter: @ScottHavens

Email: scott@sphavens.com

 

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT

  • Functional programming and what it is.
  • How e-commerce systems work.
  • What Havens did to massively simplify those systems while also making them more testable, reliable, cheaper to operate, and easier to change.
  • The implications of using functional programming to change how to design systems and systems of systems on a larger scale.

 

RESOURCES

 

TIMESTAMPS

[00:24] Intro

[02:52] Functional programming

[07:59] Gene introduces Scott

[09:13] Working at Wal-Mart

[11:13] Disaster struck

[14:10] One common piece of e-commerce website functionality

[17:07] The implications of functional programming for system design

[21:05] Changing how to design systems and systems of systems

[28:55] Using Panther

[33:11] How this affects the hot path and cost

[36:43] One bite a time

[37:52] Contacting Scott

[38:13] Outro

Open Source Software as a Triumph of Information Hiding, Modularity, and Creating Optionality with Dr. Gail Murphy

Open Source Software as a Triumph of Information Hiding, Modularity, and Creating Optionality with Dr. Gail Murphy

September 2, 2021

In this newest episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim speaks with Dr. Gail Murphy, Professor of Computer Science and Vice President of Research and Innovation at the University of British Columbia. She is also the co-founder, board member, and former Chief Scientist at Tasktop. Dr. Murphy’s research focuses on improving the productivity of software developers and knowledge workers by providing the necessary tools to identify, manage, and coordinate the information that matters most for their work.

 

During the episode, Kim and Dr. Murphy explore the properties of modularity and information hiding, and how one designs architectures that create them. They also discuss how open source libraries create the incredible software supply chains that developers benefit from everyday, and the surprising new risks they can create.

 

They discuss the ramifications of system design considerations and decisions made by software developers and why defining software developers’ productivity remains elusive. They further consider open-source software as a triumph of information hiding and how it has created a massively interdependent set of libraries while also enabling incredible co-evolution, which is only made possible by modularity. Listen as Kim and Dr. Murphy discuss how technologists have both succeeded and fallen short on the dream of software being like building blocks, how software development is a subset of knowledge work, and the implications of that insight.

 

ABOUT THE GUEST

 

Gail C. Murphy is a Professor of Computer Science and Vice President of Research and Innovation at the University of British Columbia. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), as well as co-founder, board member, and former Chief Scientist at Tasktop.

 

After completing her BS at the University of Alberta in 1987, she worked for five years as a software engineer in the Lower Mainland. She later pursued graduate studies in computer science at the University of Washington, earning first a MS (1994) and then a PhD (1996) before joining University of British Columbia.

 

Dr. Murphy’s research focuses on improving the productivity of software developers and knowledge workers by providing the necessary tools to identify, manage, and coordinate the information that matters most for their work. She also maintains an active research group with post-doctoral and graduate students.

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT

  • Why defining software developers’ productivity remains elusive and how developers talk about what factors make them feel productive.
  • The value of modularity and how one can achieve it.
  • Ways to decompose software that can have surprising outcomes for even small systems.
  • How open-source software is a triumph of information hiding, creating a massively interdependent set of libraries that also enable incredible co-evolution, which is only made possible by modularity.
  • How we have exceeded and fallen short of the 1980s dream of software being like building blocks, where we can quickly create software by assembling modules, and what we have learned from the infamous leftpad and mime-magic incidents in the last two years.
  • Why and how, in very specific areas, the entire software industry has standardized on a set of modules versus in other areas, where we continue to seemingly go in the opposite direction.
  • A summary of some of the relevant work of Dr. Carliss Baldwin, the William L. White Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Dr. Baldwin studies the process of design and its impact of design architecture on firm strategy, platforms, and business ecosystems.
  • How software development is a subset of knowledge work and the implications of that insight.

RESOURCES

TIMESTAMPS

[00:27] Intro

[03:52] Meet Dr. Murphy

[04:32] Determining where design occurs in software development

[10:30] Refactoring

[16:08] Defining developer productivity and why it defies explanation

[20:26] What is modularity, architecture and why they’re important

[28:52] An extreme example

[30:51] Information hiding

[36:06] The leftpad and mime-magic incidents and SemanticConflict

[44:13] The work of André Meyer

[47:23] Open source is a triumph of information hiding

[52:56] Architectures give different trade offs to different problems

[57:25] Relationships between a leader’s roles and responsibilities

[1:05:10] BLAS: Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms

[1:09:20] Communication paths within an organization

[1:16:58] The Mylyn project

[1:20:11] Analysis of Dr. David Parnas’ 1972 paper

[1:26:23] Falcon missile program and socio-technical congruence

[1:31:10] The work of Dr. Carliss Baldwin

[1:40:01] How Dr. Baldwin defines modularity

[1:47:26] Modularity and open source software

[1:51:31] Defining real options

[1:53:17] 1 billion dollar rearchitecture project

[1:55:29] This work is primarily about making decisions

[2:01:58] Open source systems are Darwinian systems

[2:06:33] Dr. Murphy’s ideal of software developer’s daily work

[2:09:53] How to contact Dr. Murphy

[2:11:01] Outro

Exploring COVID-19 and Just-in-Time Supply Chains, Chaos Engineering, and the Soviet Centrally Planned Economy with Dr. Steve Spear

Exploring COVID-19 and Just-in-Time Supply Chains, Chaos Engineering, and the Soviet Centrally Planned Economy with Dr. Steve Spear

August 4, 2021

In this episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim speaks with Dr. Steven Spear on his critiques of several articles from the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal, and their characterization of the impact of Just-in-Time (JIT) supply chains and the widespread shortages caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. While the unprecedented health crisis created a widespread shortage of almost everything—from toilet paper to semiconductor chips to raw materials vital for medical materials—with results that impacted everyday life on a global scale, Dr. Spear makes the claim that JIT lessened the severity of shortages, as opposed to causing them.

The discussion is informed by Spear’s work on accelerating learning dynamics within organizations and the Toyota Production System, and from his time observing and working directly with a tier-one Toyota supplier. Kim and Spear dive deep into supply chain dynamics and why they are important to society. The discussion delves into how JIT manufacturing not only revolutionized manufacturing but also the entire manufacturing supply chain and how it increased (not decreased) resilience, productivity, efficiency, and prosperity. 

They also explore the structure and dynamics of these JIT supply chains, as well as the similarities of the famous Netflix Chaos Monkey, famous for helping Netflix build resilient services that can survive even widespread cloud outages and the larger, emerging field of Chaos Engineers (arguably, a subset of resilience engineering).

Additionally, they explore Toyota’s manufacturing and how its history helped it become one of the least impacted by the semiconductor shortages. They follow that with an examination of the JIT’s antithesis and how it’s similar to the dynamics found in the Soviet’s centrally planned economy, particularly with its IT structure and dynamic results. Kim and Spear tie these things into the three basic tools of finance: net present value, option theory, and portfolio diversification.

 

ABOUT THE GUESTS

Dr. Steve Spear (DBA MS MS) is principal for HVE LLC, the award-winning author of The High-Velocity Edge, and patent holder for the See to Solve Real Time Alert System. A Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School and a Senior Fellow at the Institute, Dr. Spear’s work focuses on accelerating learning dynamics within organizations so that they know better and faster what to do and how to do it. This has been informed and tested in practice in multiple industries including heavy industry, high tech design, biopharm R&D, healthcare delivery and other social services, US Army rapid equipping, and US Navy readiness.  

Visit Steve Spear's Website

 

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT

  • What are supply chains, why they’re so vast and complex, and why they are important to society
  • How Just-in-Time (JIT) manufacturing revolutionize manufacturing, the entire manufacturing supply chain, and the supply chain for basically everything
  • How JIT increased, not deceased, the resilience of the supply chain
  • Why Toyota is one of the auto manufacturers least impacted by the semiconductor shortages, partially as a result of what they learned during the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in 2011
  • How the structure and dynamics of the Toyota supply chain are almost exactly the same as the structure and dynamics of great systems discussed in previous episodes, such as the COVID mass vaccination clinic with Trent Green and Team of Teams
  • How Toyota has the ability to reconfigure themselves with a low cost of change
  • How these principles are very similar to Netflix chaos monkey and the entire field of what is now called chaos engineering
  • How the antithesis of  JIT is similar to the dynamics found in the Soviet’s centrally planned economy, particularly with its IT structure and results in dynamics
  • How inventory is a substitute for knowledge
  • How this all ties into the three basic tools of finance: net present value, option theory, and portfolio diversification

 

RESOURCES

 

TIMESTAMPS

[00:37] Intro

[09:07] What Dr. Spear found objectionable in the NYT article

[13:41] How JIT increased resilience of the supply chain

[17:18] What are supply chains and what makes it so complex

[24:11] The economic impact of inventory and recapture

[28:17] The impact created by mass adoption of JIT practices

[42:00] JIT vs lean manufacturing

[44:46] How Toyota could handle the semiconductor shortage

[51:19] An example of the resilience of Toyota’s supply chain and manufacturing capabilities

[57:03] How to motivate everyone to mobilize

[1:02:12] What happened with Netflix’s chaos monkey and EYE-shin mattress factory plant

[1:08:13] Twitter feedback

[1:09:37] The link between experimentation at the EYE-shin plant and low cost of change

[1:17:30] Four characters of simplification, standardization, stabilization and synchronization

[1:20:46] The 2002 West Coast Port Lockout

[1:33:43] What triggered this conversation

[1:38:57] The opposite of JIT

[1:43:11] Three finance theories

[1:50:45] How the Soviet’s centrally planned economy compares with the four characteristics

[1:58:23] A misunderstanding of JIT

[2:05:15] Outro

Unleashing Human Creativity To Deliver 8K+ COVID Vaccines Per Day and Improve the Overall Healthcare System with Trent Green

Unleashing Human Creativity To Deliver 8K+ COVID Vaccines Per Day and Improve the Overall Healthcare System with Trent Green

June 10, 2021

In March of 2021, Gene Kim visited the mass vaccination site at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, which has been described by the press as a logistical masterpiece where over 465,000 Oregonians have been vaccinated as of May 2021.

After a three-hour tour of the site, Gene Kim sat down with Trent Green, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Legacy Health and one of the organizers of the mass vaccination operation. Kim and Green discuss firsthand what it looks like to vaccinate 8,000 people a day and the strategic level of planning it took to produce and operate the mass vaccination clinic.

Green reveals what those first few days of operation were like and how the site was able to increase distribution from 2,000 vaccines per day to 8,000 per day. Lastly, he discusses the lessons he learned during the rollout process and how those lessons can inform how to improve the overall health care system.

Also joining the conversation is Dr. Steve Spear, who has helped the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative create its “Perfecting Patient Care System” and has worked on a few pilot programs with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

 

ABOUT THE GUESTS

Trent Green, COO of Legacy Health, focusing on innovation in Legacy Health’s hospital operations and service lines, and responsible for Legacy Laboratory Services, Legacy Imaging Services and Unity Center. Green oversees the OHSU Knight-Legacy Health Cancer Collaborative, the LifeFlight partnership, as well as other ventures that directly impact hospital operations. Prior to his most recent role, Green served as Legacy Health’s senior vice president, chief strategy officer, and president of Legacy Medical Group. He brings more than 20 years of experience in leading health care organizations, with specific strengths and accomplishments in clinic and hospital operations, strategic planning, business development, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, and finance. 

 

Green’s notable achievements include advancing a re-imagined Master Facility Plan for the Legacy Emanuel and Randall Children’s Hospital campus; navigating a complex regulatory situation at Unity Center by providing decisive leadership and a unified approach to problem-solving, resulting in the successful restoration of status, cultural alignment, best in system performance on medication administration practices, and accelerated incident review and mitigation implementation practices. He also led and developed several of Legacy’s most transformational initiatives, including the PacificSource joint venture, Silverton Health affiliation, Legacy-GoHealth urgent care joint venture, and the OHSU Knight–Legacy Health Cancer Collaborative, among others.

 

Dr. Steve Spear (DBA MS MS) is principal for HVE LLC, the award-winning author of The High-Velocity Edge, and patent holder for the See to Solve Real Time Alert System. A Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School and a Senior Fellow at the Institute, Dr. Spear’s work focuses on accelerating learning dynamics within organizations so that they know better and faster what to do and how to do it. This has been informed and tested in practice in multiple industries including heavy industry, high tech design, biopharm R&D, healthcare delivery and other social services, US Army rapid equipping, and US Navy readiness.  

Visit Steve Spear's Website

 

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT

  • Green’s role as the Chief Operating Officer, how it compares to the Chief Medical Officer, and what are the other key leadership roles in a healthcare organization
  • The strategic level of planning, human creativity, and problem-solving it took to produce and operate the mass vaccination clinic as efficient as possible
  • Green’s role and the various leadership roles at the vaccination clinic
  • What the first days of operations at the vaccination site were like
  • The major milestones Green saw as distribution increased from 2,000 vaccines per day to 8,000 vaccines per day
  • Fast versus slow integrated problem-solving styles and theory building versus theory testing
  • The lessons Green has learned during the COVID vaccination rollout process and how these lessons could inform how to improve the overall health care system

 

RESOURCES

 

TIMESTAMPS

[00:20] Intro

[04:39] Meet Trent Green

[06:19] Key leadership positions in a healthcare organizations

[07:52] Meet Steve Spear and his work in the healthcare industry

[11:13] The early days of the operations

[14:02] The major milestones from increasing distribution

[20:42] Steve’s thoughts on an organization’s ability to adapt

[24:42] The DevOps Enterprise Summit videos and journal

[25:35] Continuation of Steve’s thoughts

[26:56] The path of good ideas and barriers

[32:04] Trent’s role at the vaccination site

[36:15] The strategic level of planning

[39:19] Two interviews with Dr. Patrick Cawley and Eroom's law

[47:31] Gene’s firsthand observations at the vaccination site

[54:40] Fast vs. slow integrated problem-solving styles

[1:01:58] Lesson learned in the vaccination process

[1:09:50] Uncovering constraints

[1:22:25] Cost of change goes down, frequency of change goes up

[1:25:46] Becoming an effective coach

[1:30:19] Gene adds additional context

[1:36:57] Contacting Trent Green

[1:38:05] Outro

Patterns of Generative Cultures: How They Can Be Destroyed and the Importance of Trust with Dr. Ron Westrum

Patterns of Generative Cultures: How They Can Be Destroyed and the Importance of Trust with Dr. Ron Westrum

May 20, 2021

In the second part of this two-part episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim continues his conversation with Dr. Ron Westrum, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University and creator of the Westrum organization typology model. 

 

In part two of their conversation, Kim and Westrum talk about generative cultures and why Westrum thinks they are more important now than it they were a hundred years ago. Westrum also shares his observations on the increasing number of functional specialities in organizations. He discusses the challenges that arise from having matrixed organizations and the tools to overcome these challenges. 

 

Finally, Westrum previews the new book he’s working on about information flow within organizations.

 

ABOUT THE GUEST

Ron Westrum is Emeritus Professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University. He holds a B.A. (honors) from Harvard University and a Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Chicago.

 

Dr. Westrum is a specialist in the sociology of science and technology, and on complex organizations. He has written three books, Complex Organizations: Growth, Development and Change; Technologies and Society: The Shaping of People and Things, and Sidewinder: Creative Missile Design at China Lake. He has also written about fifty articles and book chapters. His work on organizational culture has been valuable for the aviation industry and to medical safety, as well as to other areas of endeavor. He has been a consultant to NASA, the National Research Council, and the Resilience Core Group. He is currently at work on a book on information flow cultures.

 

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT

  • Why Westrum thinks creating generative cultures is more important now than it was 100 years ago
  • His observations on the increasing number of functional specialities and how long it’s been going on
  • The challenges that arise from having matrix organizations and the tools to overcome these challenges
  • The book he’s working on about information flow within organizations, what areas he’s pursuing and what has surprised him as he delves into specific examples

 

RESOURCES

 

TIMESTAMPS

 

[00:00] Intro

[02:39] Why generative cultures are more important now

[14:50] Exposing latent pathogens

[19:39] Gene’s thoughts and a few corrections

[28:59] The increase in silos

[34:53] How Westrum would organize the organization

[40:42] Why matrix organizations are fundamentally unstable and how to cope

[44:57] LaunchDarkly and DevOps Enterprise Summit Virtual

[46:47] Matrix organizations and how to help increase likelihood of success

[57:26] Building the Boeing 777

[1:06:24] Where generative characteristics came from

[1:11:10] Bridging the world of R&D to the world of operations

[1:14:58] Team of Teams example

[1:20:09] General George C. Marshall

[1:24:35] Other mechanisms Westrum has seen in high performing teams

[1:32:30] Westrum’s new book

[1:38:53] What DevOps has helped Westrum

[1:39:47] Contacting Admiral Richardson

[1:41:36] Outro

The Sociology and Typologies of Organizations, and Technical Maestros with Dr. Ron Westrum

The Sociology and Typologies of Organizations, and Technical Maestros with Dr. Ron Westrum

May 6, 2021

In the first part of this two-part episode of The Idealcast, Gene Kim speaks with Dr. Ron Westrum, Emeritus Professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University. His work on organizational culture and his contribution of the Westrum organizational typology model have been instrumental in understanding what makes a high-performing organization across industries. For decades, he has studied complex organizations from medicine to aviation to the nuclear industry.

 

In part one of their conversation, Kim and Westrum talk about the stark contrast between NASA’s highly experimental culture of the Apollo space program versus the highly compliance-driven culture of the US Space Shuttle program, and Westrum’s opinions on how to bring that experimental culture back. They also discuss the origins of the Westrum organizational typology model and some of the insights that led to it. Finally, Westrum shares what organizations should do when things go wrong in complex systems.

 

ABOUT THE GUEST

Dr. Ron Westrum is Emeritus Professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University. He holds a B.A. (honors) from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago.

 

Dr. Westrum is a specialist in the sociology of science and technology and complex organizations. He has written three books, Complex Organizations: Growth, Development and Change; Technologies and Society: The Shaping of People and Things, and Sidewinder: Creative Missile Design at China Lake. He has also written about fifty articles and book chapters. His work on organizational culture has been valuable for the aviation industry and to medical safety, as well as to other areas of endeavor. He has been a consultant to NASA, the National Research Council, and the Resilience Core Group. He is currently at work on a book on information flow cultures.

 

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT

 

  • Why much of the body of knowledge around safety culture came from sociology as opposed to psychology.
  • How Westrum views the stark contrast in NASA between the highly experimental culture of the Apollo space program versus what has been characterized as a highly compliance-driven culture of the US Space Shuttle program.
  • Insightful and useful opinions on what would be required to bring that experimental culture back in NASA.
  • The origins of the Westrum organization typology model and some of the insights that led to it.
  • Why Westrum views the notion of a technical maestro important to get the desired outcomes.
  • What Westrum thinks should ideally happen when things go wrong in complex systems.

 

RESOURCES

 

 

TIMESTAMPS

 

[00:00] Intro

[04:01] Meet Ron Westrum

[07:19] Why prominent figures in the safety field come from sociology

[08:38] Observations about the work on airline safety

[11:17] How Ron’s work is relevant and why culture is important

[16:56] Apollo 13 and Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

[23:15] Westrum organization typology model

[24:38] United Airlines Flight 232

[34:45] Understanding the dynamics of generative organizations

[41:57] Three western typologies beyond the table

[50:16] The Whitehall II study

[53:05] What the word generative means to Ron

[55:31] The two NASAs and how he would drive out fear

[58:44] LaunchDarkly and DevOps Enterprise Summit Virtual

[1:00:37] What Ron imagines would cause a different outcome as NASA

[1:08:40] It matters who’s at the top

[1:12:18] The technological maestro concept

[1:16:38] How the technological maestro concept applies

[1:26:20] How these characteristics can be learned

[1:28:51] Building a community of good judgment

[1:33:39] The role of CNO

[1:35:27] How organizations learn and adapt generative capabilities

[1:42:01] What should ideally happen when something goes wrong

[1:45:41] Information flow, organization’s nervous system, and management

[1:48:01] Contacting Admiral Richardson

[1:49:06] Outro

 

Leadership, Radical Delegation, And Integrated Problem Solving with Admiral John Richardson

Leadership, Radical Delegation, And Integrated Problem Solving with Admiral John Richardson

April 22, 2021

In the second part of this two-part episode of The Idealcast Gene Kim and Admiral John Richardson, former Chief of Naval Operations, continue their discussion on the importance of leadership in large, complex organizations, especially enabling leadership training early in one’s career, and exploring why he views it as so important. Admiral Richardson also shares why radical delegation is needed more than ever, and provides tools and techniques for enabling it.

Kim and Admiral Richardson discuss the important characteristics needed to integrate problems solving into an organization. And finally, they talk about the nature of the US Naval Reactors that are responsible for the safe and reliable operations of the US Naval Propulsion Program, why that warrants the command of a 4-star admiral, and what should ideally happen when accidents occur in complex systems.

Also joining the conversation is Dr. Steve Spear, who has written extensively about the US Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program program in his book The High-Velocity Edge.

ABOUT THE GUESTS

Admiral John Richardson served as the Chief of Naval Operations for four years, which is the professional head of the US Navy. While in the Navy, Richardson served in the submarine force and commanded the attack submarine USS Honolulu in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for which he was awarded the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award. He also served as the Director of Naval Reactors, responsible for the design, safety, certification, operating standards, material control, maintenance, disposal, and regulatory oversight of over 100 nuclear power plants operating on nuclear-powered warships deployed around the world.

Since his retirement in August 2019, he has joined the boards of several major corporations and other organizations, including Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, and Exelon, a Fortune 100 company that operates the largest fleet of nuclear plants in America and delivers power to over 10 million customers. 

Dr. Steve Spear (DBA MS MS) is principal for HVE LLC, the award-winning author of The High-Velocity Edge, and patent holder for the See to Solve Real Time Alert System. A Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School and a Senior Fellow at the Institute, Dr. Spear’s work focuses on accelerating learning dynamics within organizations so that they know better and faster what to do and how to do it. This has been informed and tested in practice in multiple industries including heavy industry, high tech design, biopharm R&D, healthcare delivery and other social services, US Army rapid equipping, and US Navy readiness.  

Visit Steve Spear's Website

 

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT

  • Admiral Richardson’s views on the importance of training leadership in the earliest stages of a sailor’s career
  • Why leadership is so important
  • Various tools and techniques for enabling radical delegation
  • Important characteristics of the different ways that integrated problem solving incurs in organizations
  • The nature of the function organization that is the U.S. Naval reactors, comprehensively responsible for safe and reliably operations of the US Naval Propulsion Program and why it warrants being commanded by a four-star admiral
  • What should leaders in complex organizations do when accidents occur

 

RESOURCES

 

TIMESTAMPS

[00:00] Intro

[01:24] Toughing up the training

[09:37] Feedback from the fleet

[11:00] Discussions with the instructors

[14:03] A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority

[18:07] Designing for the next place

[28:18] Reducing the cost of change

[35:22] Configurations for failure or success

[39:55] Tools for integration

[47:39] How structure affects the dynamics of how organizations work

[51:59] Gene reflects on integrated problem solving

[57:28] Two domains of activities to use the slow communication paths

[1:00:42] If these mental models resonate with Admiral Richardson

[1:02:31] What point does the center get involved

[1:07:47] Why the delegation for the nuclear reactor core is important

[1:14:00] What happens when complex systems go wrong

[1:20:37] Contacting Admiral Richardson

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