Knowledge and Power: A Sociotechnical Systems Discussion on the Future of SRE

Tuesday, 25 October, 2022 - 09:0009:45

Dr. Laura Maguire, Jeli, and Lorin Hochstein, Netflix


This talk shares the findings from a series of exploratory discussions between two prominent Site Reliability Engineers from industry-leading organizations and two socio-technical systems researchers with extensive experience in distributed human-machine teaming.

Drawing from both academic and industry perspectives, this talk elaborates on topics relevant to socio-technical software systems - both practical considerations and philosophical concerns. The practical includes: the tradeoffs inherent in balancing operational load and work in support of feature delivery with the less-immediately-tangible - but no less important - work of learning about our systems; sharing knowledge as a team and; using that knowledge to reduce risk. Our philosophical inquiries relate to the impact of the history of SRE on its future, meditations on the ‘practice’ and values of SRE and provocative promising new directions.

Attendees will come away with new perspectives on how knowledge and power structures operate in their organizations, shaping the ways that we conduct and understand our work.

Laura Maguire, Jeli

Laura Maguire - Laura leads the research program at She has a Master’s degree in Human Factors & Systems Safety and a PhD in Cognitive Systems Engineering. Her doctoral work focused on distributed incident response practices in DevOps teams responsible for critical digital services. As a backcountry skier and alpine climber, she also studies cognition & resilient performance in high risk, high consequence mountain environments.

Lorin Hochstein, Netflix

Lorin Hochstein - Software engineer (distributed systems) in the overlap between software engineering and operations, currently working on the Managed Delivery team. Advocate of resilience engineering and cognitive systems engineering. Fascinated by complex systems, how they work, succeed, change, and fail. Once upon a time I was an academic, but don't hold that against me.

@conference {284577,
author = {Laura Maguire and Lorin Hochstein},
title = {Knowledge and Power: A Sociotechnical Systems Discussion on the Future of {SRE}},
year = {2022},
address = {Amsterdam},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = oct,