Duration 37:54
16+
Play
Video

RailsConf 2019 - Applying Omotenashi (Japanese customer service) to your work by Michael Toppa

Michael Toppa
Director Of Web Development at Hobson & Company
  • Video
  • Table of contents
  • Video
RailsConf 2019
May 2, 2019, Minneapolis, USA
RailsConf 2019
Request Q&A
Video
RailsConf 2019 - Applying Omotenashi (Japanese customer service) to your work by Michael Toppa
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Add to favorites
1.38 K
I like 0
I dislike 0
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
  • Description
  • Transcript
  • Discussion

About speaker

Michael Toppa
Director Of Web Development at Hobson & Company

I've been a web developer, product owner, and IT staff manager for over 20 years, since the days of HTML 1.0. Highlights of my career include:● Director of a team of 16 web developers, designers, and project managers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine● Senior Engineer at ElectNext, a 7 person start-up● Lead Engineer of the R&D team for the Ask Jeeves Shopping Advisor● Lead Developer for the New England Journal of Medicine website at Stanford University's HighWire Press● Passionate advocate for Agile and Lean practices: I've given over a dozen conference and meetup presentations in recent years, including Philadelphia's Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference, the Wharton Web Conference, Villanova University's Computer Science Colloquia series, and WordCamps in Philadelphia, New York, and Nashville.I have an MA in Government from Georgetown University, where I was ABD in the PhD program. I had a strong focus on statistical methods, conducting original research on American voting behavior and the US Congress.

View the profile

About the talk

RailsConf 2019 - Applying Omotenashi (Japanese customer service) to your work by Michael Toppa

“There is customer service, and then there is Japanese customer service.” - Tadashi Yanai, CEO, Uniqlo

Americans visiting Japan are often dazzled by the quality of customer service they experience, but usually mistakenly perceive it as a well-executed form of customer service as they understand it from Western culture. The American notion of “the customer is always right,” does not apply in Japan, yet customer dissatisfaction is much less common. We’ll explore why this is, with some entertaining real-life examples, and discover lessons from it that we can apply to our work in the software industry.

Share

Good morning. If you're wondering if it's terrifying to be up on a big stage like this and a big room like this I can tell you without hesitation or reservation the answer. Yes. My name is Mike toppa. I'm the director of web development for small firm called Hopsin and Company. I've been a web developer since the mid-1990s and I enjoy helping teams explore agile and lean practices with the goals of improving quality communication and developer happiness. And if you've worked with Adeline practices, you may be familiar with some Concepts that come from

Japan like on bond or Kaizen both originated from the world of Japanese manufacturing and I've since been applied around the world software work. Hi, then is about making constant small improvements and empowering individuals to discover make those improvements. Arbonne was originally system used to monitor assembly lines and in the world of software. It's growing into a system to help teens prioritize work managed flow and uncover obstacles. The time I want to introduce you to today is almost a naxi which describes Japanese customer service and hospitality.

The application of Kaizen in kanban software work with something that has evolved over time Michael on this presentation is to share some thoughts on how I'm going to know she might provide similar value for us to start exploring how we might adapt concerns adapt Concepts from it to our work and evolve beneficial practices. Kaizen and kanban are Concepts from Management in Japanese manufacturing and so aren't really part of everyday life for most people in Japan. Contrast o motenashi is very much part of everyday life in Japan isn't is a significant aspect of Japanese culture?

Crystal tokugawa's presentation to the international Olympic Committee in 2013 and made almost a Nike the key theme of Japan successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics. She highlighted Japanese hospitality is something that set Japan apart from the other contenders. Should be in your speech by saying we will offer you a unique. Welcome in Japanese. I can describe it in one unique word all motenashi. Now before I go on I should probably answer the question that might be on your mind at this point. Why is it American white guy on stage talking about Japanese customer service

at a Ruby on Rails conference. I'd like to answer that question by way of answering another question, which is what do I think about when I think about your pan? First I think about the time I spent in Japan with my family. My wife Maria is a second-generation Japanese-American. She's an academic and studies Japanese politics and economics. Chia seed research grants that brought us to Japan to live for six months in 2007 and again in 2014. My oldest son went to Yoshi in there, which is Japanese kindergarten. She has relatives there and we made almost a dozen other trips to Japan

over the past 20 years. I've been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to travel extensively with in Japan and I've made several good friends in our time. Having said all that since I'm in American my knowledge of Japanese culture has inherent limitations and I have no relevant professional expertise. So I'm not here to sort of mansplain it to you instead. I'm here to share what I've learned in my time there for my own experiences. My wife Maria's experiences and from talking with friends. I've made they're having an outsider's perspective also has value as its help me gain MP4

awareness of my own culture and learn from his differences with Japanese culture. So what are some of the other things I think about when I think about Japan I think about so many things when I first worked on my draft of this talked. I filled it with slides about Japan's high-tech modernity. It's ancient history its cultural heritage. It's wonderful food and even it's amazing manhole covers. But for the sake of making sure that there's actually some time left for a main topic all unfortunately have to skip all of that and limit myself to aspects of Japanese culture that

relate to Elmo Tanashi. So that in mind something I think about when I think about your pan is orderliness and societal respect. I took this picture in 2004 back when pay phones were still a thing. This is my wife Maria using a pay phone on a subway platform and Tokyo sometimes the most mundane things can tell you a lot about a society. Notice that all the wiring is not secured at all. The power cord is exposed and plugged into an ordinary wall outlet. The handset cord is about the same as what you see on sea on a home phone. This is because Street crime in vandalism are rare

in Japan compared that to an American pay phone where the only accessible wires A handset cord and it's wrapped in Steel. Toki is one of the biggest cities in the world. How long do you think a payphone like this would last on a subway platform in a city like New York or LA? Also, no house spotlessly clean. Everything is in case you can't see the picture that will the subway platform floor is immaculate in the Chrome railings and wall tiles are all shiny. Which brings me to the next thing I think about when I think about Japan cleanliness?

For anyone who might not be able to read that. It's a yes sign in the Japanese bathroom. It says please urinate with precision and elegance. Things you may think of is inherently dirty like public restrooms or garbage trucks are just about always really really clean. I think about politeness personal respect and friendliness everywhere. I have traveled in Japan. I've always been made to feel welcome. This quote is from a friend of ours after she visited Japan for the first time and I can't think of a better way to describe the feeling. She said I just wanted to

hug everyone. Japanese are known for being polite, but they're not generally known for being friendly, but they actually are especially if you venture outside Tokyo, you should make an effort to engage socially he may be surprised if the warmth of the interactions you laugh. I think about professionalism and decency one of the things that struck me the most in Japan is that almost any full-time job will pay a living wage people are treated with respect regardless of their job and you can pretty much always expect professional quality service. As an example the shinkansen bullet

trains. These are the trains that go very fast and go all over Japan and can get you anywhere about as fast as an airplane. These trains average 12 minutes between arriving at their last stop and then departing again five of those minutes are needed for passengers to get on and off which we've 7 minutes for cleaning the train. A typically, there's one person cleaning each train car those cars each have 100 seats. So they have 7 minutes to pick up the trash on the seats clean the floor wipe down the trays at every seat check for any lost items in Cincinnati to rotate bills after make sure to

rotate them all to face the same direction for the new passengers. Doing the job like that. Well doing a job like that. Well in such a short amount of time requires having a standardized set of tasks that maximize efficiency and it requires executing those tasked with Excellence day in and day out. Here I am on stage at a software conference excited to tell you about how they clean trains in Japan. It's an ordinary job. But when done so, well that rises to the level of an art form one at Harvard Business students want to study. And this brings us to the idea of all motenashi

Japanese customer service and hospitality. Key motivator for why things like cleaning trains are taken so seriously in Japan is hospitality. In the US we think of hospitality is something we experience when visiting someone's home or maybe a hotel but in Japan is also a key aspect of almost every business when you do something like that on a train is very much considered similar to visiting someone's home in terms of how he should be made to feel welcome. Bridget Brennan is a columnist for Forbes Magazine put it well in describing her customer service experiences in Japan. She said

wherever I ventured in stores large and small I experience what would be considered white glove service back home delivery with the kind of warm enthusiasm and salesmanship typically found in black and white movies. I'm going to knock you the combination of two words in Japanese Emoji, which refers to the public face that we show the world and now she means without omotenashi means your actions are wholehearted sincere and without artifice. Weather people genuinely feel that way while say working as a cashier at a 7-Eleven day in and day out is another question. But the

main point is that customers experience the service you provide as if it was always true. Uniqlo is a clothing store chain that started in Japan and has since gone Global to give you a sense of the quality of their service Uniqlo CEO, Tadashi. Yanai. So this when they open their first store in Australia, he said there's customer service and then there is Japanese customer service. It's been a full year training the Australian staff to get them to the to a Japanese level of quality service. Imagine going through 12 months of training before taking a job at a place

like the gap. Have you been to one of the Uniqlo stores that open in the US over the past few years your customer service experience may not have stood out as anything special the quote in my slide hear some 2014 just so this is just a guess on my part. But I think Uniqlo must have found it cost prohibitive to do this level of training is a rapidly expanding globally in recent years. What to give you more personal example when I was living in Tokyo with my family in 2007. I was responsible for a boy's each day when my wife was working. After dropping off my oldest son at kid kindergarten. I

would usually find a place to explore in Tokyo with my one and a half year old son. I found out about a department store that had a children's play area on its top floor. So we headed there one day. We were the first to arrive when they open the doors in the morning and there were no other customers American department store. You might see the staff Milling around so getting ready for the day, you know this early in the morning, but Japan they are there and they are ready to serve you. Department stores in Japan also have more Staffing in American stores as you would never want to

risk keeping keeping a customer waiting. Now I had to head across the main floor to the elevator on the other side to go up to the play area. And as I walked with my son in the stroller line up in front of me on each side every 15 15 ft or so with a staff person and they were about deeply to me as I passed by an experienced this before with individual staff people but never with so many like this and it made me feel like royalty. It also made me feel a little bit bad because it was actually going to buy anything. We just want to go play with Legos and Ultraman action figures the play area.

Similarly, if you visit a boutique retail store like a nice clothing shop and make a purchase when you leave the person who helped you will follow you out the door follow you out the door in about a deeply stained bad until you reach the end of the block. Western is typically perceived as a selfless devotion to the customer. You get the impression the Japanese workers will do anything to please you since you were made to feel so well taken care of that's certainly how I perceived as a first but this perception is the result of our own Western cultural assumptions where we presume

hierarchical relationship. That's the service providers job to do with the customer wants that's not how customer service Works in Japan. As a customer you are expected to respect their professional Judgment of your service provider and respect your expertise. If you are customer service private provider in Japan and you have a customer asking for something that isn't supposed to be part of their experience. That means things are starting to go wrong. It means the customer has overstepped the bounds of the Roll. It's your job as a service provider to steer them back onto the

correct path. Not surprisingly that happens most frequently with foreign foreigners visiting Japan when we don't know anything about Hamilton IG. Situations like this put a Japanese customer service provider in an awkward position and they need to get things back on track as gently as possible. But also firmly illustrate this I'm going to show you a brief clip of a TED Talk from dr. Sheena Iyengar. She's a professor at the Columbia business school and is an expert on Choice why people want Choice how they choose and so forth at first I wanted to just paraphrase what she says here. I

realize I really couldn't do it justice. So here she is describing one of her first experiences when visiting Japan for the first time. How do you even know that I would encounter cultural differences and misunderstandings that they popped up when I least expected it on my first day. I went to a restaurant and I ordered a cup of green tea. Would she have to reply as the waiter said when does not put sugar in green tea? I know I said I'm aware of this custom, but I really like my tea sweet. In response, he gave me an even more courteous version of the same

explanation. One does not put sugar in green tea. I understand. I said that the Japanese do not put sugar in their green tea, but I'd like to put some sugar in my green tea. Distance to the waiter had to tweet took up the issue with the manager pretty soon. A lengthy discussion ensued and finally, the manager came over to me and said I am very sorry. We do not have sugar. Well, since I couldn't have my tee the way I wanted it. I ordered a cup of coffee with the waiter brought brought over promptly

resting on the saucer for two packets of sugar. My failure to procure of myself a cup of sweet green tea was not due to a simple misunderstanding. This was due to a fundamental difference in our ideas about choice for my American perspective. When a paying customer makes a reasonable request based on her preferences. She has every right to have that request but the American way to learn is to have it your way because the Starbucks says happiness is in your choices. Food from the Japanese

perspective. It's their duty to protect those who don't know any better. In this case the ignorant Gaijin for making the wrong choice. Let's face it the way I wanted. My tea was inappropriate according to cultural standards and they were doing their best to help me save face. Hope she says at the end there they wanted to help her safe face is a common reason why you may not get what you want in certain situations. Didn't realize that from a Japanese perspective. She's on the phone wittingly embarrassing Yourself by asking for sugar with your tea. So

they are trying to protect her from herself. There could be other reasons for these kinds of situations as well, which we can explore with a couple more stories. Here's one for my own experience or Japanese customer service professionalism collides with American Notions of choice. 2014 we lived in the city in southern Japan Fukuoka for six months in your apartment with a pastry shop called Anderson's was our favorite. That was a favorite stop especially for my boys as you can see in the picture here. You get a tray and pick out your own pastries and go to the cashier to pay the cashier

would also individually bagged each of your pastries. I bet you go Consciousness would bother me, but they'll very wasteful to me to use so many bags. So one time using my limited Japanese skills. I must have the courage to politely ask the cashier to use just one bag. Her response was to Simply ignore me. I felt confident. She understood me hasn't had many other kinds of simple customer service for voice changes without any trouble. My Japanese wasn't good enough for me to feel comfortable pressing the matter further, but I'm future visits. I tried a few more times and they would

always just ignore me. So, why were they doing this? It's because they knew what might happen if they actually did what I asked I would go home and take my sugar donut out of the bag and get my wife for egg bread and it would have sugar all over it from the donut and see what think of herself boy. What a lousy job those people in Anderson stood. Do in this situation? They're not just trying to protect me from myself. They're trying to protect others from me as well and by extension maintain their own reputation. Here's a third and final example of a customer service situation

going a bit off the rails. This is story. My wife Maria told me. choosing a small table where shop in Tokyo and was admiring a handmade tea caddy, which is for storing tea leaves unlike me her Japanese is excellent and is actually good enough but maybe speakers off and don't notice or American accent the first He was chatting amiably with the store owner and said that she would she would like to show the tea caddy to her friends back home in America at this point is demeanor completely changed. He stiffened up and he said oh you from America? You're not going to put paper clips in

it. Are you? This isn't just about protecting her from herself or protecting others from her. It's about protecting the product from her. He would prefer to not make the sale rather than see if used incorrectly. This may seem a little extreme. So what's what's really going on here? Before I answer that question, I have to provide some context for the next short video. I'm about to show you. Mike Murray has recently got into a into a very ridiculous very fun and very self-aware Japanese heavy metal band called Maximum the Hormone. And when you watch videos on YouTube, they

automatically recommend other videos that their algorithms think you might like it. So she came across a video by Marty Friedman. So who is Marty Friedman? He's a former lead guitarist for the American heavy metal band Megadeth that turns out he has lived in Japan for the last 16 years and has his own TV show there. So I give you Marty Friedman providing some advice for first-time visitors to Japan in an interview. He did with the online magazine metal injection. And it turns out it's perfect for what I wanted to say about this experience Maria Maria had while shopping for a tea caddy.

That's one of my favorite things about Japan customer service is off the charts. Just wherever you go, whatever you try to buy what even from a convenience store fast food chain high-end department store. The customer service is second to none. They will really make your experience gray. But one thing I want you to know is unlike America and sort of like Europe special orders are not really going to happen this on the side or this with extra sauce or this with no sauce pretty much take that out of your mind and you're going to have a much

more enjoyable experience the food is so incredible Just go with it. I mean, how many times do you go to Japan in your life? You know what? I mean? It's their way and if they try to do it your way. It's not going to come out right and they're not going to have the same Pride that they would have in doing it their way. And so if you get refused, please do not mistake that for unfriendliness. Please understand that what they're doing is that's their way and they want to give it to you the best way they can I do a lot of restaurants. Don't allow you to take food

away from like doggy bag type of thing. That's mainly because they don't know exactly how you're going to deal with it afterwards and they want you to have it in the best possible form. Taupe tightness back to dr. Iyengar, Steven sugar story my pastry bag story and Maria's tea caddy story. You can start to see the common threads. There's a very strong focus on providing service according to strict standards of excellence. The salesman Maria was dealing with definitely went a bit too far with his comment, but it's an expression of his worry about a

customer not having the right experience with the product. hope there's a reason I'm focusing on these stories about customers desires coming into conflict with a professional standards of Japanese customer service providers because that's where I think the most interesting lessons are for us, and there are three less since I thought of The first lesson is about how we as developers do our work and how we work together is teams. I'm with an Icee until the rigorous approach to achieving consistent Excellence everything from cleaning trains to hosting the Olympics. It was

developing software. We have standards and practices that allow us to achieve Excellence as well. And you have them right? And most of the places I've worked over the years when I started on the job, my team didn't have things like a definition of done or mutually agreed-upon ways to do things like testing or pair programming or if we did have them they weren't followed with any real consistency. I just mentioned definition of done. If you're not familiar with this. It's essentially a checklist of tasks. You should complete before saying that your

work on a feature is done. The checklist is something your team works together to create and it should have overtime as your team's practice is growing evolve its purpose is to help provide your team with a shared understanding of what it means to do quality work. When you don't have a mutually agreed-upon way of working in your team disagreements typically end up being resolved by someone asserting Authority or by whoever decided to push their position. Both more aggressively or situation may end up unresolved lingering to plague the team again, the next time it comes up.

Over the years I've worked at major universities medium-sized Tech firms small Venture funded startups Consulting shops and nonprofits and it all of these places. I've experienced team environment like this were there always some areas of significant dysfunction. Maybe I've just been unlucky but I've heard many stories like this from friends over the years as well. So my impression is Happy situations are more common than we might think. this has led me to believe that just like every family every organization is dysfunctional it just a question of in what way and to what degree I just

like with families. What do you experience on a daily basis naturally comes to Define your perception of what's normal making it easy to become blind to the dysfunction and the cost over time about blindness can be high in terms of its effect on quality efficiency and team morale. It happens because people aren't willing to have hard conversations where they don't know how to have them or they don't have the organizational support to have them. In addition to that challenge, there's a whole other challenge as an industry. We're still figuring out the best ways to do things. So even when you can

bring your team together, it's not always obvious what the right way for it is on any given day. You can go online and find people arguing about where they're scum is great or should just die in a fire. Weather application modelist are bad design and we should all just switch to microservices or whether test-driven development is dead. The world of software development is like this because our industry is fairly young compared to others. This is both a blessing and a curse. It's a curse because it makes it hard to figure out how to proceed when your hearing really smart and experienced

people tell you really different things about how to do your work. But it's also a blessing because it means we have the opportunity to participate in the conversation about where we're all headed to learn different ways of working and decide for ourselves. What works best for us. So I encourage you to have conversations with your team that might be hard to work towards being on the same page for things like testing strategies having a definition of done code reviews are programming pair programming and so forth. Having those conversations first requires have an environment of trust and mutual

respect. Sometimes you have to build up that trust first. But when you do I have found that having a mutually agreed-upon way of working is really empowering and promotes team Harmony quality and job satisfaction. Everything I just said is about teams. The challenges are even greater when dealing with clients whether it's an internal client in your organization or your consultant working with external clients. The Japanese customer service stories. I shared have all been one time retail or Food Service interactions and our world we have ongoing

relationships. This is a huge difference doing things like ignoring a customer's request that the way to solve a problem like the cashier at the Anderson's pastry shop did with me. That's really not an option for us. And all the mistakes you can make working with clients over the years. I've made them. The most common mistake is over-promising and under-delivering. Unless you're lucky enough to have an especially light management. You always faced pressure to do more in less time and I've done things like me Glee saying yes to Impossible deadlines and then I exhaust myself and cut

Corners to try to make it happen. And the end result is almost always damage damage to the code quality stressing damage to your health and damage to the client relationship or even after all that they still end up with some combination of Miss deadlines and buggy code. To give you a sense of what I mean. This is a chart I made after I started as the Director of the web team at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. It's an effort allocation chart showing the number of people we would need to do the work expected of us for the upcoming 6 months compared to how many people we

actually had the blue bars represent the staff. We had the foresight to meet the needs of specific departments in small teams are mostly one or two people with the same team sizes were too small, but that was a separate issue. And the red bars represent the number of people we would need to do the work that was actually expected of us. Until I got everyone together to make the estimate stand for in this chart. We didn't really see the big picture of the situation we were in the team has never done estimating like this before. We'll use what's known as the swag estimating technique to

generate this chart. If you're not familiar with the term stands for sophisticated wild ass guess. This by no means perfect, but it's very valuable for fighting a general sense of scope and scale when you're looking at a long time Horizon in many many projects. Almost all the demand in that tallest Red Bar was coming from one department. They had a history of always getting what they wanted. If we ever pushed back it would escalate their demands politically through the school's Administration to apply pressure. Prior to this we have no means to really respond to

this pressure other than to just give in. And these demands for projects also came, of course with that line pressure, which meant we would rush and not always do our best work leading to more suffering for us in the long run with bugs on Happy clients and poor experiences. For users. This marks the start of a very challenging but very worthwhile as a transition for the team. We discussed and implemented good engineering standards and practices and stuck with them and overtime. This allowed us to deliver more maintainable. What's buggy code giving our customers and users better

experiences. We also adopted as a workflow and project management practices that allowed us to articulate and visualize the bigger picture what was going on with our projects. Together these changes gave us the ability to do something analogous to which a few service providers do when faced with difficult situations. We were both protecting the client from themselves and protecting the product from the client. Importantly these changes also helped us develop the ability to have productive conversations with the client about how we have been working together over the years and how to find

A Better Way Forward. And we even learn how to protect other clients from this client by developing skills for estimating and making data and charts available about our Worth to all departments were able to provide transparency on where our time and effort was going which enabled other departments to participate on a more equal footing in the high-level political conversations that we determine our team's overall effort allocation. So having standards and practices is good, but huge part of what we do is creative problem solving. Every project we work on his unique

creation not quite the same as any other. On a regular basis, we are called upon to be insightful and ingenuitive to solve new problems. This is very different from the Japanese customer service stories. I've been telling you what you're all about consist of adherence to standards and providing service in the same way every time. An American friend of mine who lived in Japan for many years said this he said in Japan I consistently get very good service and the US I've had the worst service, but I've also had the best. Who did he getting at here? At this point

we know about the high quality of Japanese service. And if you're from the US or have spent any time here, you know about the terrible service that can happen. But the best service he's talking about is when you're provided with creative problem solving. When Marty Friedman was saying to try not to customize your order at a restaurant in Japan. That's not such a big deal if we're just in the realm of preferences, but what if you have a food allergy? When we were living in Japan in 2014, we became friends with my Japanese tutor and her daughter had a food allergy. He told me that going out

to eat in Japan was often a frustrating experience for them. They're always very willing to provide information about items on the menu to avoid trying to customize an order was difficult. When they visited the US and when I went to good restaurants with good staff, she was thrilled at the service. They provided wages would usually say something like oh, it's no problem. I'll talk to the chef will see what we can do. We'll come up with something. That's just for you. Their parallels here for the kind of work. We do a software. Creative problem-solving is essential to the work we do

and we need to incorporate it into our standards of what it means to do quality work. To give you an example creative problem-solving can sometimes even call for pushing back on a client's request and educating them on possibilities. I hadn't thought of When it's working in a consulting job where the client was business was to make building this more of energy-efficient the retrofit buildings with new Windows Doors insulation. So forth they want us to build an online calculator for them for for prospective customers to provide information about their

buildings and then receive cost-saving best estimates. 30 knew how they wanted us to do the calculations, but as he became familiar with everything we had an idea of what we thought might be a better way to do it. We asked if they had actual cost savings data from previous customers and they said yes so we can wait if you want to share that data with us we can do some statistical analysis and use that to have a calculator provide more accurate estimates. They seem intrigued but also a little apprehensive they said well, you know, we've always done it this way. I'm having worked with us

before and so they weren't sure how much to trust us. So they said no. Now that point we can just in fine and just don't help with their approach and I would have been perfectly happy. But it said we came back and offer to develop and run an initial analysis and share the results with them and show and how it compared to their old way. We said that at that point they still wanted to do with their old way. They don't have to pay us for the time. We spent on the analysis. How do you say yes and what they sell what we did and we stepping through it. They really liked it and adopted our approach.

That is all talk. I could give on interviewing clients in eliciting business requirements for my point with this example is illustrate the value of asking questions and creative problem solving. A key question is when does the situation call for adherence Professional Standards in order to avoid giving into unrealistic demands? And when does it call for client education in Creative problem solving? I believe the answer is that many situations call for both. You want to hear the engineering standards to maintain quality and brown and you want to offer alternative Creative Solutions to

problems when necessary? This is the key point of my talk. There's a lot we can learn from almost a naxi four ways to think about having high standards and achieving consistent professional excellence. But given that the nature of our work is also about creative problem solving. We also need to always be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. For example of a deadline must be mad if we don't have enough time to do the work. Well, can we defer certain features until later or can we start with simplified versions of certain features or are there other creative ideas? We can

explore that don't require compromising quality or putting the team on a death march. These are the kinds of questions we need to be asking. How exactly do we go about having these time kinds of conversations with clients conversations? It can often be difficult. In the world of Japanese customer service customers are expected to respect the professional Judgment of their service provider. In the world of software development we're educated on programming languages Frameworks tools were closed, but we're not taught how to behave. We're not taught how to clearly articulate and

diplomatically present and defend our professional judgment. A key part of the education of doctors and lawyers. It's how to behave with their clients and co-workers doctors know how to handle themselves in the pressures of an emergency room, or how to persuade a patient to make more healthy choices. By cultivating a perception of knowledge and expertise for their professions doctors and lawyers are typically treated with great respect even when they have things to say that their clients don't want to hear. I'm not suggesting. We all have to go to school for a million years like doctors and

lawyers do and spend a million dollars in the process. But what I am suggesting is it if you want to be seen as a professional and treated like one that means pursuing technical Excellence providing creative problem solving standing up for the quality of your work and always being courteous and diplomatic. Hawaii that means the end My slides are available to link here. You find me on Twitter and topa I'm going to leave you with another short little video. This is a Moment of Zen.

This is an example of creative problem solving team work. These are my two boys when we were in Japan in 2007 and we were living in a small apartment in Japan. They call it a 1lb K1 means it has one bedroom element that has a living room d means it has a dining room, which is also the living room and came as it has a kitchen which is also the dining room, which is also the living room. So this is a small place we set the boys up in the bedroom for my wife and I put a bed in the living dining kitchen room. So it's in the morning. My

boys are having breakfast in my younger son decides he wants to have access to my older son's drink but doesn't want to have to bother moving that drink so together, they construct an extended straw and you see my wife in the in bed there still furtively trying to get some sleep. Thank you very much.

Cackle comments for the website

Buy this talk

Access to the talk “RailsConf 2019 - Applying Omotenashi (Japanese customer service) to your work by Michael Toppa”
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free

Access to all the recordings of the event

Get access to all videos “RailsConf 2019”
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Ticket

Interested in topic “IT & Technology”?

You might be interested in videos from this event

September 28, 2018
Moscow
16
170
app store, apps, development, google play, mobile, soft

Similar talks

Coraline Ada Ehmke
Software Architect at Stitch Fix
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Jesse Belanger
Full Stack Software Engineer at ezCater
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free

Buy this video

Video

Access to the talk “RailsConf 2019 - Applying Omotenashi (Japanese customer service) to your work by Michael Toppa”
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free

Conference Cast

With ConferenceCast.tv, you get access to our library of the world's best conference talks.

Conference Cast
616 conferences
25145 speakers
9271 hours of content