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How Cognitive Biases and Ranking Can Foster an Ineffective DevOps Culture

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Evelyn Van Kelle
Xebia, Strategic Software Delivery Consultant & Behavioral change consultant

Evelyn van Kelle is a strategic software delivery consultant, with experience in coaching, advising and guiding organisations and teams in designing socio-technical systems. Her Master’s degree in social sciences brings new and valuable perspectives when it comes to optimizing both delivery- and team processes.

Being a firm believer of context shaping meaning, she is focused on understanding company- and team culture before anything else. Finding the actual problem to solve and adding business value are starting points in her work. Evelyn is convinced that we need a shared sense of reality including shared values, goals and language in order to perform best as a team. She is curious, driven and pragmatic. “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection” describes her line of reasoning.

Besides her daily work, she has a predilection for books and linguistics, and highly appreciates good food. 

Kenny Baas-Schwegler
Xebia, Trainer & Coach of Engineering managers

A lot of knowledge is lost when designing and building software — lost because of hand-overs in a telephone game, confusing communication by not having a shared language, discussing complexity without visualisation and by not leveraging the full potential and wisdom of the diversity of the people. That lost knowledge while creating software impacts the sustainability, quality and value of the software product. Kenny Baas-Schwegler is a socio-technical architect. He blends IT approaches like Domain-Driven Design and Continuous Delivery and facilitates change through using visual collaboration practices, the Cynefin framework and Deep Democracy. Kenny empowers and collaboratively enables organisations, teams and groups of people in designing and building sustainable quality software products.

One of Kenny's core principles is sharing knowledge. He does that by writing a blog on his website baasie.com and helping curate the Leanpub book visual collaboration tool. Besides writing, he also shares experience in the Domain-Driven Design community as an organiser of Virtual Domain-Driven Design (virtualddd.com) and Domain Driven Design Nederland. He enjoys being a public speaker by giving talks and hands-on workshops at conferences and meetups. 


The effectiveness of working in a DevOps way and be able to progressively deliver software and gain insights comes from having a diverse group of people who, together, have a lot of wisdom and knowledge. You would expect that all this knowledge and all the feedback from progressively delivery software will be put to use co-creating and to design a model. In reality, we don’t actually listen to all the available input and perspectives due to cognitive biases and ranking. Because not everything that needs to be said has been said, we will end up with building sub-optimal software. Even worse, people don’t feel part of the solution and don’t commit to it. Good software needs all the insights and perception. If you are not aware, cognitive biases and ranking kills those insights and wisdom and kills the effectiveness of your DevOps culture!
Join us in this talk where we will explore how we can improve our facilitation skills and focus on neuro-inclusiveness. We will let you leave with the knowledge on how to observe sabotage behaviour, battle oppression, and to create safety in exploring alternative perceptions. We will show you how you can really let the group say what needs to be said and take a collective autocratic decision in creating software.