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Beyond Blame: Learning From Failure and Success Paperback – October 29, 2015
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Top Customer Reviews
Beyond Blame highlights this, in the same way that the Phoenix Project introduces DevOps and how Lencioni tackles team dysfunction. Much like the series of books from Lencioni, Beyond Blame starts with a fictional account that most of us who worked in IT can relate to. The book then progresses to provide actionable steps for transitioning to learn from failure without the caustic consequence of blame and reprisal.
Where I currently work, we conduct postmortems for almost every significant event. For a time, I struggled to understand the importance or value to these - as my previous experience with postmortems were targeted to find the responsible person, not for learning how to make things better. Zwieback's treatment of the purpose of postmortems, as a learning tool that can help us make more resilient systems, cemented for me why we do them and why they are important.
Rather than ascribing blame and seeking a sacrificial lamb, this book shows that true accountability is about reaching the most complete understanding of how failures happened and, thus, how systems can be improved for the future.
There is a lot of rather in depth research that is casually blended into this story. This is a thin volume. But the author cites many other books and research papers. If one were to study all the sources of material used in this book, it might make the basis for a rather useful Masters Degree program.
The treatment of cognitive biases is an area where the author chose clarity over completeness. Clearly, important and relevant biases like "hindsight bias" and "outcome bias" are discussed because they apply to the story but also because they apply to so many situations that readers can relate to. By many other biases are not covered.
The author points out the large number of biases that have been identified in current research. Most notably he mentions Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow." I plan on seeking out some of that research. The bottom line is that there are many biases that hinder our ability to correctly analyze a problem or event and make objective conclusions.Read more ›
Using this story framework, the management team evolves from a blame-game to working through a post mortem process that is very different for them - one in which blame is abandoned, and biases are laid bare so that workers feel absolutely free to deeply examine what happened without fear. The complexity and at times chaos of systems is considered, so the outcomes are more robust, resilient systems.
It's an excellent book for management and workers alike. I used to have to go to training sessions a week long with some really boring materials on root cause analysis, TQI, CQI- it seemed like any improvement process a Japanese firm could come up with, boom, we were WASTING TIME learning it. This book isn't a waste of time- it presents all the principles needed in a nutshell, with excellent documentation if you want to explore further. Because the story is so well presented, it's all quite simple and quick to learn.
This is a good book to pass out to the team, or perhaps just to put in the hands of any executive that really doesn't start to get how very complex today's systems can often be. This book really does a beautiful job explaining the inherent complexity in very large IT systems, but the same could also be applied to integrated or less technical fields.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a good reminder that when digging for the root cause of an issue, it is often a complex set of interactions from multiple sources that came together to form the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kevin
This is a great read, both as reference and introduction to blameless postmortems (or retrospective reviews), that leverages lightweight but descriptive narrative elements to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Miguel Pereira
Great, fast read. It's written like a novel so you are engaged in the story as well as the concepts. At 60 pages you breeze through it and learn a lot. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bob R.
So you've been in a blame and shame culture, and you know it can be better. Here's a framework that expands on some very useful work published in HBR. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dak
This is a short (65 pages), quick read told in parable form on the perils of organizations that adhere to the 'failure is not tolerated' mindset. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sibelius
Excellent short narrative on how understanding complex systems as they relate to IT environments. Authors do a nice job of setting up a relatable scenario and introduce the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Josh Atwell
This book is a story about moving from a culture of blame - and the costs of a culture of blame - to a culture of blamelessness. What does that look like? Read morePublished 6 months ago by Cate Huston
"Beyond Blame: Learning from Failure and Success" by Dave Zwieback is a well written parable of the inevitability of failures in the IT world. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Selwyn Browne
A concise but very practically applicable book that teaches us how to give up the blame game in corporate environments and instead move forward after absorbing the lessons from... Read morePublished 6 months ago by ZenWoman