Episode 45

Failure Management and Response with Nickolas Means


September 5th, 2018

42 mins 44 secs

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About this Episode

Failure Management and Response with Nickolas Means

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Nickolas Means | nickol.as | VP of Engineering at MuveHealth


How can you learn from an engineering team's failure? Can you take the examples of how others have dealt with engineering problems to improve your team's day-to-day operations. Our guest is Nickolas Means, a software manager at Muve Health, who is fascinated by engineering failures. We talk about what you can learn from studying disasters, how to create a company culture in calm times that will works smoothly in stressful times, and how a successful engineering team communicates using stories and how they handle mistakes. Along the way, we talk about the recent incident at the Seattle Airport, the CitiCorp building in Manhattan, Three Mile Island and other engineering and team missteps. We have, I hope, a successful show about failure.


02:12 - Learning From Engineering Team Failure

04:49 - Self-Reporting of Near Accidents

06:54 - First Story/Second Story

08:46 - How the Airline Worker Who Stole a Plane in Seattle Exposed a Security Risk

13:44 - The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

16:33 - Focusing on Blamelessness and Building a Learning Culture on a Team

21:04 - Overpaging Engineering Teams

25:21 - Story Communication

29:44 - Helping Team Members Make Better Decisions

34:29 - How to Behave When Things Go Wrong

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