Exploring Sensemaking and Cognitive Load through a Collaborative Card Game: A Hanabi Adventure!

Due to the evolving Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation, SREcon20 Americas West has been rescheduled to June 2–4, 2020.
More information is available here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - 11:00 am12:30 pm

Jaime Woo, Incident Labs; Justin Li, Shopify


SREs have to solve problems every single day, and sometimes under very stressful conditions. While some of these problems can be solved individually, most are done in a group setting, requiring collaboration. Research has shown that solving complex problems in groups, while necessary, increases the cognitive load on individuals as they have to not only tackle the problem on-hand, but also navigate interpersonal interactions. Problem solving is often done but its mechanics are usually not deeply understood: It is invaluable, then, to improve awareness around how problem solving works, which tools and techniques are effective, and how that understanding can lead to better problem solving, and, ultimately, better solutions.

Card games are a bounded, approachable system of problem-solving, and their use in illustrating human behaviour and decision-making is well-established. Hanabi is a collaborative problem-solving card game that is easily understandable but rich in complex interactions.

Jaime Woo, Incident Labs

Jaime began his career as a molecular biologist before following his passion for writing. He is an award-nominated writer, focusing his work on the locus between culture and technology, with recent works in the Advocate, the Globe and Mail, and StarTrek.com. He is co-founder of Incident Labs, and co-writing a book on incident response and post-incident reviews. He is always down for dumplings.

Justin Li, Shopify

It was rumored that Justin's first words as a baby were "production excellence." For Justin, the phrase could easily apply both to distributed systems as well as music: he's just as happy to talk about performance sharding, as he is about proto-future-funk. At Shopify, he is a Staff Production Engineer. If you were able to buy a lip kit during a massive flash sale, or to ride a go kart in headquarters, he helped make that happen.

@conference {247347,
author = {Jaime Woo and Justin Li},
title = {Exploring Sensemaking and Cognitive Load through a Collaborative Card Game: A Hanabi Adventure!},
year = {2020},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = mar,