Watering the Roots of Resilience: Learning from Failure with Decision Trees

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 - 11:50 am12:35 pm

Kelly Shortridge, Fastly, Inc.


Software systems are complex, sociotechnical systems with SREs constituting a critical element; without humans, our software systems can't adapt. Understanding our system's reality and how it adapts in response to changing conditions is no small feat.

In this talk, we'll explore how SREs can align their mental models of the system with reality. We'll start by covering adaptation in complex systems, elucidating the necessity of resilience stress testing to expose our systems' messy reality. After exploring example chaos experiments, we'll discuss how to document and visualize our mental models through decision trees to inform design improvements and further experiments, examining an example tree in detail to inspire application in your own organization.

By the end of the talk, we will understand how decision trees empower us to reason about stressors and surprises in our systems and take away practical, open source tools that we can apply in our everyday work.

Kelly Shortridge, Fastly, Inc.

Kelly Shortridge is a Senior Principal at Fastly. Kelly is co-author of Security Chaos Engineering (O'Reilly Media) and is best known for their work on resilience in complex systems, the application of behavioral economics to cybersecurity, and bringing software systems security out of the dark ages. Kelly has been a successful enterprise product leader as well as a startup founder (with an exit to CrowdStrike) and investment banker. Kelly frequently advises Fortune 500s, investors, startups, and federal agencies and has spoken at major technology conferences internationally, including Black Hat USA, O'Reilly Velocity Conference, and RSA Conference. They are also a member of the ACM Queue Review Board.

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@conference {286256,
author = {Kelly Shortridge},
title = {Watering the Roots of Resilience: Learning from Failure with Decision Trees},
year = {2023},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = mar

Presentation Video