”Stupid bloody system!” That, approximately, would be the English title of my book (”Jävla skitsystem!” in Swedish).
It is also something that many people certainly have muttered at work; over computer systems, databases, intranets that are hard to navigate and impossible to comprehend – but that you are obliged to use, nevertheless.
In the book, I show how badly designed and implemented computer systems have created several new kinds of work-related stress. The biggest strain from computer work is no longer on your elbow or eyes. It is on your brain.
Although the book is in Swedish only (so far), there’s at least one review in English:
”I think this is one of the most important books written about IT-systems and the problems they can bring on a personal level for the people who forced to using them. Too bad is is not translated to English (yet?).”
Ulrik Eklund wrote this very favourable review in English, at his blog Managing Automotive Software Architectures. Ulrik is working on his PhD in the Software Engineering Division at the department of Computer Science & Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology:
”It systematically lists 8 major stress factors and what can be done about them.
I think it is very valuable to read for people developing systems, so much I would make it mandatory reading for students in software engineering, if only it was published in English.”
To learn a bit more what it’s all about, you can check this blog post in English: What’s the waiter doing with the computer screen?
Or, you can listen to Per Axbom and James Royal Lawson and me having a conversation about the book and poorly designed digital systems and the work related stress this causes. Where did it all go wrong? How do we fix it? Can we fix it? Episode 32: James and Per scream – Stupid bloody system!
Some of the central thoughts are also presented in English here:
Most of the cases I examine are Swedish. But there is (unfortunately) no lack of international examples. One of the worst cases was the British CS2 system for the Child Support Agency. A parliamentary report later found that ”sickness levels amongst the CSA staff have risen sharply since March 2003 when the system went live.”
Still, many people affected tend to blame not the systems, but themselves: ”I’m too old. I guess I’m stupid.”
This book is first and foremost for the common user – encouraging her to actually scream ”Stupid bloody system!” more loudly – and more often.