Getting Comfortable With Being Underwater

Ronnie Chen

Twitter

@rondoftw

Abstract When we talk about resiliency, we often overlook the fact that a good amount of risk in the environments we operate in is an active choice instead of an unfortunate byproduct of the systems we build. If you dig into the failure modes of technical diving and other high-risk/high-consequence fields, it would be a fair conclusion that no one should do them because it’s impossible to make it perfectly safe to do so. And yet we collectively do continue pursuing these activities, just as we continue to developing in complex systems instead of halting new development to focus purely on making them safer. Why? Because finding the sweet spot of the risk versus resilience allows us to achieve more ambitious goals, learn more, and keeps boredom and complacency at bay.

This talk will address the external and internal pressures that teams are under which contribute to them being in uncertain or high-risk environments and the benefits and risks of operating teams in that state by drawing parallels from deep sea technical diving.

Bio Ronnie Chen is an engineering manager at Twitter. She is a deep sea technical diver and was also the sous chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant in a previous life.

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