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Dec. 10, 2021

E228 - Is the Mars Mission Doomed From the Start?

This week on the show, we talk about how Mars Mission astronauts are worrying scientists by increasing their autonomy in remote isolation and answer some questions from the community about mustering up motivation to work on your tasking, how to negotiate salary through counter offers, and how to deal with difficult clients who don’t know what they want.

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This week on the show, we talk about how Mars Mission astronauts are worrying scientists by increasing their autonomy in remote isolation and answer some questions from the community aboutmustering up motivation to work on your tasking, how to negotiate salary through counter offers, and how to deal with difficult clients who don’t know what they want. .

Recorded live on December 9th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome, &  Barry Kirby.



  • Mars colony simulations: Crew may revolt without strong interplanetary communication
  • Image Source: NASA



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Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. Hello everybody this is episode 200 28 we're recording this live on 12/9/2021 this is human factors cast I mean host Nick Rome I'm joined today by Mister berry Kirby hello it's a great to be here again it is great to be here again no time travel this week yeah. We do have a great show for you all tonight we're gonna be talking about the Mars mission and how the astronauts are worrying scientists by increasing their autonomy in remote isolation and later we're gonna answer some questions from the community about mustering up the motivation to work on your tasking how to negotiate salary through counter offers and how to deal with difficult clients who don't know what they want but first let's get some programming notes out of the way. First up I just wanna talk quickly about our holiday schedule for your everyone's awareness here next week the sixteenth we're gonna have a normal show. It's gonna be burying myself hanging out here I like we normally do you can find us streaming if you wanna join us there for one last push before the holidays we do have holiday music now to accompany our pre and post show. We. On the 20 third we're gonna be off for the holidays no show that week but then it will be back on the thirtieth which will be our last show of 2021 and we're gonna be recapping every single human factors news story of 2021 so if there's anything that slip through our cracks you know we only cover 1 show a week here. There's a lot that we may have missed so please join it I I I need a total count maybe I'll have that for you all next week. Or at the end of that show maybe you'll have to tune in anyway and then I will be back on January 6 so that's our upcoming schedule. Another programming note here social thoughts those are out there. We're now calling them you choose the news and we had our first one this last week everyone voted on Twitter and this story actually won by a pretty large margin across both our patrons and our. Our our Twitter poll so if you want a voice in choosing what goes on the show we're giving 20 percent of the total vote to our broader listener base so. There's that we're also still producing these team sees human factors minutes we got 2 more left and we have we have some. We have a lot of different voices in there we're trying to get a bunch of different people from our lab to read these things so it's not just me droning on. And last but not least next Friday December 17 at 1:00 PM eastern were out well I'm gonna be moderating and H. FES presidential town hall. So I'm gonna be with Chris reed and Caroline summer it's about human factors you know latest human factors industry news and trends and it's just an opportunity to talk to the folks behind each FE es and and see what's up so if you have questions I think the H. F. yes folks put that on there Twitter and and you can reach out to them directly with questions anyway it's part that's a part of the show where we get into the news so let's just get into the news. That was a bad transition yes this is the part of the show all about human factors news weather story this week. Our story this week is look at a simulated Mars base it got kind of rebellious anything worrying scientists so early this month 6 people become that tenure in the men's experiments I think you're going to stream your worst nightmare the living in a simulated extraterrestrial colony will be monitored by the builders it's all part of public service an 8 month off world except women's experiment taking place in Moscow. Among those unless the specifics one research team is noted to striking out comes members of the world S. R. O. S. society be going increasingly autonomous and they progressively communicated that feelings less often with mission control thanks funny strong independent seems really promising promising thing to have in a potential motion society to settlers Abbasi full control of that mission they function competently on the road to work collaboratively during that conflict with each another week with each other. They could benefit later into punditry in endeavors by increase in easy and individual anxiety and enhancing group he's with the current approach goals which makes sense but on a deeper level letting go of mission controls hands invite some challenges. He said that the negative side is that the mission control loses the possibility to understand the needs and problems of the creek which consequently Hindus mission controls ability to provide support. And then if they take that a step further if the crew achieves a super high level of autonomy okay he's in that's another potential concern they might see complete detachment from external governing structures basically they're worried about M. humans that situated on miles resulting from us. So the cruise in a simulated missions tend to reduce that communication we must control during the isolation and that's been the main it comes out project sharing the needs and problems unless unless we rent rare exceptions such as bleeding mission critical events like London suggestions of things. So that could be quite an interesting outcome and something to bear in mind full future must missions what do you think of that thank. Look I think. But I I think it poses a very real challenge of being isolated on a remote base on another planet far away from home where communication with mission control was extremely delayed do I see a mutiny forming against earthlings hell no this is not look you're you're telling me that a crew of like 6 people on the on Mars are gonna go now earth we don't we we don't need you all no way no way it just seems a little bit of a ridiculous stretch to me too. Talk about that but I thought this would be a good. A story to talk about in the sense of what sort of impacts isolation and confinement have on. You know astronauts. And sort of the the human factors issues about spaceflight kind of remote bases that type of thing but I'm I'm curious what your initial thoughts on this article Arbury. Well quite frankly talk about anything about going to miles and I'm I'm that online if I go to miles I'm I'm completely down with that I think it's it's really interesting because it does delve into some almost over there the deepest IQ of the human the human condition because you know the Sony movies and stuff around that around go to miles and what happens if you go out alone you get stock that you know the motion is a really good example and and just a big. Read it does give you the idea about what would you do if you'll if you're in the position of. Some have been isolated and if you. Why do you come survive on your own and I do I like it like that hopping on the first mission unlikely but it does offer raise a point deducted that we assume that the miles will just be an off world colony but he but he when he gets to a certain point. It's going to have its own autonomy there's going to be that level of it and will we be happy to say yep miles you go ahead and do your own thing so I think it's a future problem I don't think it's going to happen next I do I don't think it's something that in the muskies worrying about right now but he said the first obstacle. Yeah I I completely agree with that I think yes it could be I think the transition to independence is going to be a a larger discussion about when that happens and how that happens. But yes I I don't think it's going to happen within the first couple missions and it's it's so odd that we're seeing that with. I'm with this group here in in the doing these tasks here on earth and I'm wondering if that's just because of because they know they're here on earth I mean simulation can be incredibly realistic but at the same time but in the back of their head they have to know they are here and that if anything goes wrong it's not gonna be the end of the war their world right. Yeah I think in many ways it is quite interesting is that because it's almost no matter where you said you could've isolation from people it does have dramatic effect impact into in into ourselves and any species you know it's it's an 8 month experiment but actually this is the only just kind of started it the voting C. needs these this element of of. People trying to trying to look after themselves a bit more I guess and he just I eat it works both ways so we we will look at this for me with the with the users so working in a move away from the phone that the controlling under provincial but also does he speak a lot about the the way that we use mission control as well and the fact that they feel that they have to control every single aspect of of what's going on maybe that we need to change the way we thinking about that as well so nothing is the route. Yeah we we talk a whole lot of stuff here but actually there's some reels significant human factors issues yeah let's let's talk about some of the human factors issues I think I think there's the obvious human factor stuff that I feel like we bring up a lot of time but it's it's absolutely mission critical that we bring that stuff up to revisit it within the context of each of these new stories because they take on different meanings right so if you think about some of the obvious human factors applications like cognition you're you're trying to as an astronaut on a Mars base you're trying to understand situation awareness. And I think that's something that mission control largely doesn't have awareness on they're trying to get that information from the people who are there and so if you if there's you know obviously to groups of users here much more sub groups if you want to look at it that way but you have the astronauts near mission control emission controls trying to get as much as a situation wherein is on what's going on in the environment as they can and their direct link is with the astronauts there's obviously other instrumentation that will provide data as well and they get that but. To really have that context of what's going on that's going to be critical now there's also other things that are fairly obvious as well there's going to be cognitive workload associated with the astronauts maybe they feel like they're too busy to communicate with mission control because they're so focused on the task that they need to do. You know and then you also have sort of the usability and effectiveness of these interfaces that they're using remotely and if they don't need help using those things they're gonna be less likely to reach back to mission control so maybe like I I'm just thinking here and this is kind of jumping into the application a little bit but maybe the design of these things requires. Permission from mission control to use them in certain cases like if you need a signal from earth to use some things so that way it encourages communication back and forth anyway that's just like high level stuff there anything that you want to talk about from the basic human factors issues with some of the stuff you know what I mean that's the M. you you talk about the the the level of support that so let's talk about mission support so we really could have a decent understanding all all the the human controlled components and base that the task analysis if you will we look at the decomposing them so that there's no surprises and even if that there's no real you know that communications that will look back at lower. Because we got the really good understanding of the of the tasks on the both the automated ones on the control if we should still at least know what's going on and have that level of alignment. Everything that they need that they need should all be online so what documentation in your procedures make sure that that let's all laugh and. If we do if we if we could build into this sort of stuff that the that the monitoring and infectivity is ease is remote as much as possible so the mission control has a really good situational awareness of what's going on at the at the mission as well without having to resort to talking to the crew if they if for whatever reason you might not to be that the door to talk to them they might be as you say that that's so heads down in the test the doing and civil anything because they're gonna be nuts whole survival mode but there's also wish to choose well and I believe you got it all to round so I did not make that selection and maintenance and logistics. Yeah I mean you know that's. That's the thing where I think this autonomy comes from is because you have they're trained to. Basically work on. The stuff that they need to fix while they're out there because you can't send a technician to fix the specialized tools are the specialized programs or anything that they're using so you need to train the astronauts to do that and I feel like that type of. Autonomy to be able to fix something that you are working with is it is a big contributor to some of this this feeling of wanting to be autonomous you know I don't need mission control because I was trained on this I know it and I think we're kind of down playing. M. the training the astronauts get and and the selection process for who gets to go on these missions is very carefully selected because it's it is a real important concern that's why we do these tests on earth before we do the real thing because personality factors have a large impact on this and. In terms of some of the the training bets. Right you know you're you're training these users for normal events normal repair normal replacements of parts and pieces you're also training them for unusual circumstances what happens if a sandstorm comes through what happens if. You know I I completely unlikely event happens and and. Asteroid like hits Mars or something but I don't know they probably don't receive training on that I think at that point you're just kind of. Well we'll we'll fly by the seat of our pants because it's incredibly unlikely but you know they they are trained to kind of adapt and respond to these situations and maybe that empowers them to feel less dependent on mission control for some things but let's talk about crew performance you wanna do you wanna dig in the battle of it yeah I think I mean the it's gonna be really interesting is that to have the how how we're going to monitor the the way that the crew actually the foreman what does it mean to be performing at optimum level when you're on another planet because there's a whole lot of different but it's it basically to play so when we do when we decided we're going to make sure that we pulling the U. reliability data because if we don't design full you know optimum reliability than. You're so far away and literally you well we gonna be years away from being able to get some get Kate redesigned you we've got to get it right first time I invite before we baby before we leave us but also does just the hold difference in the planet itself so C. A. M. among those days longer than the next day which is something that is so in baked into words it's a bit like gravity you know we we just so used to gravity that that was a big step for when we went to space which is the idea of actually how do you survive in it is it in the 0 G. environment you have to do lots of exercise because you but that's the thoughts going eccentric xetra. We gonna have issues with your body's gonna want to react to the the the modern day so what does that mean if your days longer what does that mean to you cigarette security rhythms and and your sleep patterns and things like that so how we perform in what could be seen as a as a more stress the environment just purely because of the length of the day. Yeah that that's gonna have a shoot you could have a big big impact and that's the reason it's going to be quite hot about model of this because of the nature of we we run us around we have the other day so yeah it's good it's going to be interesting to see how the the differences in in punditry environment affect a good performance. Yeah let's talk a little bit about the isolation piece and the confinement piece right because we're we're stick in humans in a tube and sending them all the way to Mars and sticking them in a base where that's the only place in which they can. Be fully you know. Do you in the U. otherwise they have to have some sort of Ekso suit that protects them from the environment. And and so we're talking about confined spaces were talking about isolation so let's. Think about. Isolation confinement so you know as we're looking into moving astronauts into deep space were starting to look at some of these new stressors right that this extreme isolation. It's something that we've not really easy as as humanity had to deal with before right I'm. For the 3 gone is the moon and really what that I think it was the the people that were chosen for moon missions were very carefully selected 6 it took a certain kind of individual to go there right and so. I think if there is a lot more. The care and consideration that goes into that than people realize so you're looking at sort of. Traits like adaptability and resiliency. For people to live in these close quarters and. Like we like you talked about right these these stressors kind of impact the body and and mind in several different ways so we're looking at isolation and confinement this is almost like. You know solitary confinement in a way where you are given tasks to not go crazy. And you know that just worsens over time kind of becomes a occupational hazard for someone like like working on a submarine right that's kind of a apt comparison they are under water for. Weeks months at a time in and depending on the length of the mission you know and and so it's like. That's kind of as close as we can come to understanding what some of these effects might have here on earth. I don't do you wanna do you wanna use that as a segue to go into some of the other stuff here. What I think was a couple of issues performs the these good rates on this is this. Could he could actually set do you when you go through your selection process you could actually select people who are better beating isolation which on the face of it would make little sense because people who couldn't be in isolation then put up an isolated environment bullets if you'll then use not the that as a springboard to stop the mas mission proposals the boss mission proper reading will is to you know start. But the colonial miles and reproduce and do what sort of stuff if you got a whole bunch of people who don't talk very well with others. Start colonizing the planet does that mean the entire planet will stop talking to everybody else because the role very anti social and you know just very. It was looking rather than everything else is that the planetary culture yeah exactly yet it so we could do you so bring that through it I I think the whole piece will be really frustrating and we talk about the we managed a few times so far around the training and things like that then the way that your selected as a as a as an astronauts and what you don't no matter which cook which country are coming from but what about one of the recent missions I thought was completely frustrated was the inspiration for mission was SpaceX's nature was full civilians to to do that but even then it shows full siblings around at some random some some not attacks actually we could put a talk about. It could be to tell US about how about the selection process to hold a few fascinating but they still have to go through quite a significant amount of training just to be a do it's not like they could say about your chosen jawbone away you go I still an awful lot of work to be done so we still got a long way to go with it with the whole training base can you imagine if they did just throw people on a on a spaceship and say go. Open like that be a completely unethical experiment but would you would you go what is it Sir okay so I mean it's it's the $0 question if somebody said to you thank you tomorrow we will go to space 8 defensive weapons fun to be on the first trip to miles would you go right well yes but like at the same time if I don't know how to I don't know how to survive G. force without passing out right so I think I'd wake up in space like what is it G. forces a mind I mean it's it's it's it's a small thing to to deal with what I do like I'm there I mean yeah count me in but but at the same time it's there's there's a lot that I'd want to know going into it. I don't know. This is off to its spectrum stopped in O. okay what what does this button do them over to Tesco it's fine that's a I love it I think I. It. It's it's about the sub is not. Anyway. So did you what did you what I think this next point or did you want me to take it no you taking over okay all right so so let's let's jump back to sort of real world examples right you talk about the mission selection but I think. We talked about the the instance where you have sort of the. Submarines being the real world example. I think. A lot of this can also be you know service members on long deployments that that that's another good example of this type of thing. And and what we find with those service members on those long deployments they they crave some of the basic human needs right like smell of grass side of a sunny day. The feel of their feet on the earth the ground and when you take away those familiar experiences and put them in a metal tube or put them on a ship where they can't necessarily feel those things you know like on a ship you can go out on the deck casually and feel the sun but then you're out the middle the oceans not much to do. When you do that it really impacts a person's motivation and over extended period times it can affect their ability to make decisions right is that there. Sort of being ground down worn down then their their decision making is impaired and. You comply you combine that with the other inherent issues a space flight like gravity and radiation and when you combine that with isolation and confinement this is a a huge mixing pot of psychological hardships that is really dangerous for people in space. And so that's what we're talking about here with this isolation confinement of people in metal tubes in space there's there's a lot that goes into it from human factors perspective so let's get back to the article. And just to reiterate right this article is indicating that in a mission here on earth. Mars base astronauts are. Effectively. Eating their own autonomy from mission control and they are they're doing all this tasking without necessarily communicating with mission control in in the way that we want them to. And it all comes back to that situation awareness. Do we want to have some examples here of maybe what this looks like in the real world today because we do have astronauts up in the international space station right now. Yeah we do we may spend large parts of the day communicates with with with people nothin image control in Houston they talk with we sign taste the doctors the report says they'll they'll do a livestream angle do in fact I think they are better internet connectivity of that than the potential we do down here you know they talk the talk to students family friends on the go constant engagement going on all the time and without very much delay either so you know it it does happen really quite quickly that looks 3 that's ability to do you was that real time communication you will you know when you start off on the miles mission then and you you use loans you'll that'll be fine for a certain period of time what actually what when you get further and further away that time delay becomes much bigger until when your miles itself that is going to be a big drama because you're looking at you know of a significant chunk of time you can't have a normal conversation you're going to it's it's a you know a fire forget weight and then wait for replies over number of minutes if not longer so that's going to be a pretty significant jumping in on that time communications that's something we don't even talk about here but we did talk about this when we were talking about the human factors of. Basically flying a helicopter on Mars thing is early 200 episodes if you wanna go check out that episode but we're talking about times anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes of delay depending on. The distance between earth and Mars at any given point so if you're thinking about. You know a a conversation you give a chunk of a conversation that gets sent to mission control 5 minutes later they get it and that's it best case scenario and then they hear it they perceive it they respond to it and then 5 minutes later it goes back to the astronauts so they're getting something back at best case scenario 10 minutes after they sent it out worst case scenario probably like an hour or or even more if they need to research the answer here on earth you know there's there can be an acknowledgement Hey you know requested knowledge were researching it will send you back and answer when we have more expected time for hours you know something like that so that way they're something to keep them going. But yes when you're having that time delay that's huge that is huge. And when you're thinking about that in terms of the psychological impacts to astronauts you're also. Not just communicating like you said with doctors and reporters and students but you're communicating with family and so what it means to have those conversations with family that are so delayed like that. It's it's effectively sending voicemails back and forth and it's not really a conversation at that point it's just canned messages that. You need to kind of prepare and you know you get it or. Let's say you know I I I think there are situations in place where family can't send bad news if they get it while an astronaut is out there but you know that's something that the astronaut can probably read on their family members if something's not okay and so it might eat them if they can't ask clarifying questions like Hey all right like what's going on. Mmhm. And I feel like that that's a huge impact. So. Look we talk a lot about. Astronauts themselves the mission but I think there are some really valuable things that we can use. Here on earth I mean we are talk about some of the examples. Like being in a tube or being in a ship for some the service people and so do you want to talk about some of these some real world examples. Yes like say a prism there are a lot of situations we find ourselves in when you've gone to a small number of people around you and you have to cut yourself off from the outside world for whatever reason so we we mention the military samaras you Goltz anywhere up to you have said under 50 people crammed within a small choose it is a lot of people lead but you can't do much with it I was eager to learn to be a busy live in each other's pockets to to make that work you've got anything we sort of high risk environments so that could be anything from again soldiers be deployed but actually through to state nucleate leave a clean applies a light things like noble and things like that where you go when you go to cell phones and make things happen we got things like drone operators they they're operating. A craft on the other side the world in different places but from a very. From a place where you don't actually have that much that which comes around you so they raise lots of examples here. That we we can learn from and also do deploy the the learning from these experiments 2 I'm also not to doing a very much research themselves a mitigating the effects of isolation and confinement because that's also relevant to increase our understanding of the these issues not only for NASA's own aims but actually look at the facing the aging population here on us we gotta have some. As you get older you become more isolated you lose friends you lose family and things like that you do see some of them things coming around already is and that's before we get into the road mobility issues and so they can get out as much as they did anymore and you have don't have the same access to farming friends Sir yeah I think there's a lot of stuff to ease reads really really relevant not only to the space of the space race in an activity down that but actually makes we can really distill some of them lessons for our own day to day living. Yeah I think so we'll just have to see what the future will hold I think this is a great story so thank you to our patrons and the general public this week for selecting our topic and thank you to our friends over at futurism and seen that for our news story this week we got sources from both of them if you want to follow along join me on office hours when I do them where I find his new stories and we do post the links to the original article's on our weekly round ups on our blog you can join us on a slack or discord for more discussion on the stories we're gonna take a quick break and then we'll be back to see what's going on in the human factors community right after this human factors cast brings you the best in human factors news interviews conference coverage and overall fun conversations into each and every episode we produce but we can't do it without you. The human factors cast network is 100 percent listener supported all the funds are going to running the show come from our listeners our patrons are our priority and we want to ensure we're giving back to you for supporting us pledges start at just $1 per month and include rewards like access to our weekly Q. and a is with the hosts personalized professional reviews and human factors minute patrie on only weekly podcast where the host breakdown unique obscure and interesting human factors topics in just one minute patron rewards are always evolving so stop by Petri slash human factors cast to see what support level may be right for you thank you and remember it depends. Yes you too thank you as always to our patrons especially want to thank our honorary human factors Cass staff patron Michelle Tripp agents like you keep the show running thank you all so much for your continued support now our treasurer it got back to me and said you're doing a great job not talking about Petri on during the commercial so we're gonna continue that trend they give me something else to talk about now let's talk about our website it's been awhile since we've actually talked about our website and there's a bunch of fun stuff over there I don't know if you all know this but we have detailed show notes including links to any guests that were on this week you can always find Mister berry Kirby over there linked up to any of these episodes you can find more information about him we also have embedded YouTube video so you can see how handsome he is if you're if you're regularly in audio listener you can you can see his beautiful mug in my ugly mug. And of course we always have our news round ups out there like I said we do those weekly and monthly so that's a great resource for you all if you're looking to stay up to date with what's going on in human factors field even if you just listen to this episode and want to keep up with the news we do publish those every week. Like I said we have an additional information on our guests we even have ways for you the listener to support the show by submitting your own stories this is a way in which we get notified of some of the research that's out there maybe our sources miss it and that happens from time to time where something big happens we kind of it doesn't make it into our new stories what we know about it from other ways there's that you can search through all of our episodes we have a pretty robust search feature so if you're looking for answers to specific questions we do it came from every week and so sometimes your question might be answered and we're working on collecting a backlog of the questions that we've answered in publishing those separately so that way the resources for you all but if you need to go and look for him that's another way you can do it we have full conference recaps of stuff that we've done and covered. So if it's been a minute since you checked out our website your check it out take a look anyway that's that's gonna be that now we get into this next part of the show that we like to call. Yes that's right it came from this week already this is the part of the show were research all over the internet to bring you topics the communities talking about you find these answers useful give us a like wherever you're at to help other people find this content. So we have 3 tonight. And I think. I think these are great ones so let's just go ahead and get into a one by one this first one here is from Skerne dude on the user experience I've read it they write how do you get past your mind not wanting to do any work I have a clue I have client feedback to review I think my files to revise research interviews to synthesize linked in messages to reply to but I get completely exhausted from just opening a file anyone have tricks to help push through and get things done when they're feeling like they're tank is empty and running on fumes very how do you tackle this burnout problem this is almost a daily program of think that the times I think it's one of the things that give you let things pile up so much and and then it gets the point where you just. You just can't touch it because your you did paralysis you just get paralyzed by it so I still have to 3 different techniques if you just get it through the day caffeine firstly yeah a good political feat is is a is a great driver thought to get you going going to fundamentally actually I think create a list I'm creating a simple checklist old things that you need to get done I don't think the console everything in the in in the world it Monday trying segment L. it does require a bit open eyes and I'm you know I'm I'm not exactly bring to proxima preach but do you find that if I go to that point where I no need to get stuff done and I'm I can be really. When people can put things awful things off especially if I know a good big deadlines looming like my desktop I did and all that sort of stuff we all do it it's it's just it's just natural. Right the last work out what you can. Nailing the day don't do self to to how to time you don't make it make things achievable so yeah make a list and work out maybe 2 or 3 things to achieve either the day or maybe in the morning whatever it is so you can see taking take taken them things off I see a really good arm do you true video about a I think was a marine colonel or general something saying you know if you wanna be successful in life the first thing you should do is make your bed. Any brilliant advice because actually if you get up you make your bed you've got you've completed task for the day you come see the chief something and even if you have the worst day in the world you go back to freshly made bed. And get some great advice I've I've lived I sort of you too bye ages ago I know I've always stick with it I don't make my bed very often but that by giving advice to the people. Yeah that's good advice I think I think you get you gave a lot of good advice that I would agree with I think. Obviously the list is is one thing that I go to I jokingly in the pre show said that you know when when you're overwhelmed you just go to your bed curl up in a ball and cry until you realize that you got to get stuff done and I think one of the biggest drivers is to. Here's my strategy I always tell other people what I'm doing and I give them what I think are realistic deadlines for those things and so now I have communicated a deadline external to myself so other people are expecting that thing at that time and that pushes me to get something done now if you're feeling comfortable with that if you feel like you're not over burdened with work you can certainly push up those time lines and try to get through more stuff so that way doesn't pile up on you. But that's one that's one place of success that I've always had if you if you come up with some sort of timeline. And and kind of build yourself a roadmap over the next 12 months of what needs to get done right because then you can start that from that list of things that need to get done over the next 12 months you can check that out and say okay we'll 6 months from now what do I need to get to there what do I need to get to do next week and you have all the stuff to do and it seems insurmountable when you put it all together but if you start assigning dates next to those lame line items then it becomes much more manageable because you're you're effectively triaging your. Your list you're prioritizing and that. Process of prioritizing and triaging everything that you need to do well maybe I don't need to do those signifiers right away maybe that can wait till next week. Maybe this client feedback review actually feeds into something that I need to do 2 weeks from now and so I should probably do that so that way it's ready to go. And the research interviews that actually plays into the client feedback to me getting that first and then the client feedback so it all kind of. Becomes more clear when you can start to set these deadlines for yourself and the big part like I said communicated externally so other people know when to expect that you've now put a deadline on it and make it realistic make a realistic that's the that's the most critical part of this advice is make it realistic otherwise you will be able to do it yourself and that doesn't help anybody. Just makes you look bad. Any other thoughts on that one very. Yeah I just self honesty just if you'll if things are going past 8 land you just be honest with yourself and know that you gotta read GQ plan otherwise go through the entire plan away. And then you're stuck in a worst case because you feel like you failed you're missing the selfie things I'm if that exact done that's fine we just reschedule it redo it yep I agree all right let's get into this next one here counter offers this one 's written by biography biology on the human factor subreddit Hey all I live in the Boston area I have a masters in human factors and ergonomics and a bachelors in psych. I graduated my master's this past summer. I was just offered a position in medical device sector coming in at I'm I'm just gonna say a certain amount just to make this generalized at a certain amount with a certain amount of bonus of 5 percent bonus currently I'm working as a U. acts researcher as a contractor in life sciences so about the same amount if it was a year long contract however it was only a 12 week contract previously interned in medical device and farming what are your thoughts on the counter offering. Should I go perhaps up 5 percent I see mixed reviews in traditional engineering forms. Forums about counter offering your at your first real job run the risk of the company were sending their offer all together you don't have much leverage it cetera should I just take what's on the table and put some time under my belt this is a medical robotics division just curious about different perspectives cheers so berry. This is somebody fresh out of school they are approaching a job they don't know how to value their worth or how to even counter something. How would you go about this what advice would you give. So good about myself is given a while ago result and on the first offer however I think that needs to be completed so the whole reason you turn on the first offer really is generally observed if you'll new newer to the field shall we say. It's generally within the company's interested will foot too busy lowball you a bit and see if they can get away with I'm getting you on board for a bit cheaper than what what they budgeted for what that dissipated because we all try to get a bargain don't we so we we shouldn't read expected me to be any different so on that perspective I think it's it is generally a fairly decent idea to to say thank you very much for the offer really great however the thing that the numbers are a bit low. Yeah but the council for. Some may be old you know it it it depends what is the you are the generally genuinely feel it's a ready to offer a which point then you know what you that counter with what you think is a reasonable offer or if you're trying to eke out that little bit more than then it kind of it's kind of down to how you feel however there's a flip side to the argument as well. In the if you if you really think it is a good offer if you think of the if you think it's a good offer for what your circumstances are and you think it's appropriate don't you don't have to necessarily counted just for the sake of countering. Fundamentally it's all about I have an appreciation of what you're worth what you need and and see if you have before you go in for some roles all you know when you get off like that how the discussion have a chapter I think we mentioned in when we went to similar questions previously we have an absolute fascination all of how you doing hiding salaries from each other and and some companies boast of the Catholic because of that we went to the US you can actually go out of bounds you know promoting what what different peoples of different people and that type thing we should have more open and honest conversations about value whatsoever but I first started with my own consultancy Ali I struggle to understand how to value Mulaney my time and that's what should I be pitching my numbers out I have 10 years in that would I even now I sometimes sometimes you struggle with that ticket would you would you feel inclined so. I think so too in for my own summary is generally reject the first offer an untouchable because you generally we we we try and local people but don't be greedy I thank however if you don't just go for extra cost just because you think you can this will be more people who were further on in their career what about unicorn using my my role I think that's great advice I think. The cabbie out that you've listed are are appropriate. I think I am first job out of school it's probably okay to come back in and asking for a couple 0 more I don't think look they they the company wants to hire you you made it through the process they have given you an offer they want you on their team and so unless you give them something completely unreasonable at which point you just turned down the offer. You know unless you give them something completely unreasonable I think it's in their best interest to at least try to meet meet that if they can't they'll be honest with you and say you know it's just really not my budget we've already tried our hardest to get you as much as we can. You know they'll be honest about it and if if they're good transparent company that's helped yes I think. If you want to come to come at it from that perspective come come with a couple extra 0 but if you don't want to risk it I don't really see. I don't really see that happening honestly if if yeah you know I've been directly involved in the hiring process. For a while and I. I've never had that happen where somebody either came back with a little bit more it's either we've we've already offered them as much as we could or. You know we. At least in in my case with over it we've already hired an offer them as much as we could. Or we just didn't offer enough for what they were looking for they turned it down it happens it is just a part of this negotiation is a contract between you and the employer that says Hey this is how much we value your work is how much I value my work. And you're just trying to meet somewhere in the middle. Mmhm you know I think like you said there's larger questions if you're further on in your career and you know that it's. In the tens of thousands difference that's a tougher situation I think in this situation by percent as not a big deal you know if it's in the budget and they're able to do it if they really want you they'll do it. I just I don't see. You upsetting a company like I don't know I I don't know you've you've hired people to like I've I've just never had that happen where I've I've seen somebody come back with you know a couple 0 might. Can we do this can we do this what I really want this person. Can we make this happen is there any way that we can find that in the budget because this person is great I want them here. They they're on it there even even fresh out of school like they know their stuff there you know they they seem like a great student and a great person to get along with their gonna gel with the environment let's do it I I I don't know as as somebody who's in the hiring process I would I would wanna try my hardest to accommodate that because that is what they're asking for unless they came back with you know like Hey I'm expecting you know 30000 more than you. Offered then I'd be like I am really sorry that's completely out of the budget we can't make that happen if your priorities change or something happens in the future please let us know that type of thing. But I ate you know don't a I guess that don't be greedy comes in a couple yeah I think in many ways if a company if you went and asked for some mold them to come in the collegiate turned down flat and said no it's not happening anymore anybody one works at the work there anyway exactly opening up the conversation about being open honest about about what what your expectations are and I think this does actually apply quite significantly more to women than it does to men as well I agree because it is quite well known I'm quite well researched that. The minimal like these was full arrays the little woman is and so I think we need to encourage that sought concessions if you in the hiring position and you know it do you almost want to encourage the the with the with the women edit to get in on you all to get on your team and you know because the conversations about salary and stuff so to make sure that you are offering something that that is comfortable for them. Yeah all right let's get into this last 1 here this 1's by budget iron 755 wanted to throw a account on the user experience sub reddit dealing with difficult clients. I'm currently dealing with a set of clients who don't know what they want expect perfection see their job is tearing down the work micromanage we do the work ignore the strategy waste their own budget move the goal posts are afraid of making mistakes in spite of these difficulties the team is doing exceptional work but it's slow going expensive and sometimes demoralising looking for your best and worst war stories and entered any tips you may have for dealing with exceptionally difficult clients. What are your war stories and how do you deal with somebody like this. Well stories up probably should avoid well no actually that the husband a number of times where I need suggesting projects will go really really well and then suddenly the start going a bit ashtray because people so they started minding things that are either out of scope for a remand Ole maybe a maybe expectation was laid out clearly to begin with and also been in. Okay I was in a position where I got way will cost to build a prototype. The push start database to do some significant amount but analysis D. the tech lead technical expert who was working with is on the client side they they went toll and so we were left with a just a project manager departed Manjit didn't really know what they were looking at and so he started demanding all sorts of things like a set software compliance Rickles I'm great release material it to be completely tested not solely and only meant to be provided was a piece of prototype software notes a fully finished a finished product. And so we said we got into that situation where I was like well hold on you're being you're asking hello to you you don't actually playing was to do this we will be done eccentric Satcher I decide to get really abrasive. So where I the way I dealt with that in the end days all the way through the project U. S. as friendly as you might be with your clients and things like that always keep your paper trails always keep any decisions make twenties decisions you made or not. Write them down make sure that you know if you don't at least keep you know keep them Salter recalled the fundamentally going to settle the right behaviors and the right to choose right from the off with the project mmhm we have this we've got another project as well which was which was kind of. Almost what as described with with with this with this problem because we have the end clients who would not necessarily that affair with what they what the realities of what they're asking well and we were quite clear right the beginning right these the use user stories we're going to be doing this is the the scoping of what we're going to be doing this is what you can expect this is the outlook but when you get stuck into it it's very much of the the keep on coming back wanting it to be an absolutely perfect and it will be gone for a while to be released but they wanted to be like so fully polished rather to get on the market and we have to but that's the time when you have to get your your big trousers on loans and actually rather just trying to bunker down and hope it goes away which is kind of the your mentality you'll you'll you kinda do wanna do what you want to close it down so hopefully they'll stop doing this soon you have to go to you know nipped in the bud I'm actually hot cold out meeting and say look we see what you want to do we know you want a perfect product right away but you not that you ride the you know the amount you you funding into the project isn't enough the mount you know that this is where white this is what your expectation was to begin with and this is where we're at. You could have discussions you gonna talk but he could be really really difficult to do but yeah Chucky lines and we will get open communication is key there I think. Look like there's. There's there's 2 different conversations right there's there's going off the path that you initially set forth which I think is a different discussion you give the client what they want. Mmhm. But if they have these demands like expecting perfection and the continuously tear down your work and micromanage I mean look at that point if they are micromanaging and re doing the work ignoring the strategy wasting their budget. They're the ones doing that look like there's always something to be said about. Keeping relationships for future work. At but I mean do you want that future work if this person is if this client is like this to work with in the beginning so that's another consideration that you have to take into it maybe just get to the job find other sources elsewhere like. It. As a human factors practitioner as a U. acts person this can be a very difficult thing to try to reconcile with a product where you know what's best for the user because you've talked to them you know understand what they want what they need. The client wants something different and you have to negotiate between those 2 parties. Look alternately you are working for somebody and if they want one thing the client the user wants another. Do your best to pick your battles where it's going to matter most otherwise you know ultimately the people who are paying you. Are the ones responsible for money in your pocket so it's it's a it's it's a sucky answer but that's kind of how it is. Anyway. How about that for an ending when we get into one more thing this needs no introduction this is just where we have a chance to talk about one more thing. Barry what is your one more thing this week. Well okay soon we got I got mine took to go of peace and talk about him okay just a second we've got the the trouble to find a Christmas special being recorded next week and what we doing is if it's sort of stealing the idea from you so you should feel a certain sense of. I'm trying to accomplish yeah yeah yeah we we gonna try and go through our back catalogue of Rampal Jeff episodes and work out what our favorite favorite episodes now so myself and a. Calling your work we joke also we gonna sit down look at top 5 each well what I'm asking people not on a social media to do is to then give us some insight to what one of their favorite episodes and so this might be losing some sort of annual thing the way we rate the. With the idea of social media but as we have done this before it's like go for it 40 that's just let's just pick the top 5 it'll be interesting this week I think we'll we'll see what some of those he was 11 episodes out. Yeah my hurt somebody's feelings if they don't make the top 5 but I hear all of our listeners here human factors cast really liked that episode that you did with that that Feller from that fine program so. 20 minutes after I don't either. So my one more thing this week. I'm actually getting back in the swing of doing stuff for myself you know we we moved earlier this year and with that I lost a lot of. I guess time or or commitment to my own personal like reading backlog right so I've been reading a lot of books and comics again and starting to get back into that because you can see myself behind me there's like 4 books that I haven't read yet I have like 100 and something odd issues of comics to catch up on I started slowly doing that night after night I made it a point to at least do one chapter or one issue every night just to get back in the swing of things and it has been. It's been really refreshing to kind of count on that every night just to kind of progress a little bit right at that that making your bed in the morning. But except I'm doing it in the evening right before bed yeah yeah the death anyway that's it for today everyone you like this episode and enjoy some of the challenges of working in space we actually invite you to go check out episode 220 we took a look at using augmented reality to assist with some of those repairs in space given the comment wherever you're listening of what you think of a story this week for more in depth discussion you can always join us on our slack or discord communities visit our official website like I gave all those fantastic examples of join our newsletter stay up to date with all the latest impactors news if you like what you hear you wanna support the show there's a couple things you can do one wherever you're at you can leave us a 5 star review that is free for you to do do you tell your friends about as word of mouth really helps the show grow 3 you have the financial means it is the spirit of giving I don't know don't do that anyway give give someone else we don't need it. But if you want to we have. As always links all of our social and our website in the description of this episode I don't think that's very curvy for being on the show today work in our listeners going find you if they want to vote on their favorite follow to podcast. So they can find as its own I'm on Twitter at thousands go okay but also you can find that 2 of the 2 you can put focused episode apps web websites even hello all the trouble to protest the whole call I think it's about time for us to finish I think so too I've been her stick Rome you can find the streaming on twitch for office hours occasionally and across social media at Nick _ Rome thanks again for tuning in human factors cast until next time. Ed it is a. This.

Barry KirbyProfile Photo

Barry Kirby

Managing Director

A human factors practitioner, based in Wales, UK. MD of K Sharp, Fellow of the CIEHF and a bit of a gadget geek.