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Jabe Bloom's session from DevOpsCon 2018

Whole Work: Sociotechnicity & DevOps

JAX Editorial Team

In the DevOps community today, we hear a lot about sociotechnical systems. However, if we want to take an approach based on sociotechnical theory, we also need to think about the sociological framework. In his session at DevOpsCon 2018, Jabe Bloom shows how this can look like and what needs to be considered.

“Occupational roles express the relationship between a production process and the social organization of the group. In one direction, they are related to tasks, which are related to each other; in the other, to people, who are also related to each other.” –Eric Trist

When considering the flow of work through a work system, it is often advised to “follow the work, not the people.” This simple principle, tracing work through a system in order to understand handoffs, wait time and waste, is invaluable for enabling a transition from resource efficiency to flow efficiency.

As Trist describes it, this is the way in which roles are related to production processes. What is left unanswered then is… Trist’s “other direction.” How are work and roles related to people and other roles? Whole Work is a sociotechnical theory about how to design work and work systems to decrease toil, increase quality and address the needs of humans doing the work.

Jabe Bloom discusses the design principles of Whole Work systems and shows how to use them to create resilient sociotechnical systems in a complex and dynamic economic environment.

Jabe Bloom, co-founder and Chief SocioTechnical Officer at PraxisFlow, has over 20 years of experience as an executive leader of software and product development companies. He has focused on connecting design with software engineering and operational excellence, serving in executive roles including as a chief architect, principal technical director, chief technical officer, and chief executive officer.As an academic, international consultant and keynote speaker, Jabe teaches design, strategy, innovation and flow. He addresses topics as lean systems, lean UX, complexity theory, strategy deployment, management as design, temporally informed design and design thinking.He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in design studies at Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses on understanding how temporality can better inform transition design and informs an ongoing exploration of the practice of design and strategy with a select group of international clients. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in photography and philosophy from Bard College (NY).


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