Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Winter during Summer

Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall are often used as a metaphor to refer to the seasons of change as they relate to life. Initially, when I first heard of this idea of applying the seasons to life plans my perspective was more of what I actually do during the winter. I would get stuck on the fascination of winter, never going beyond my personal experiences. For example, I enjoy the winter in terms of skiing down the slopes or building an igloo with my daughter. During the winter I relax with a cup of hot chocolate and mini-marshmallows or a bowl of popcorn while watching a Star Wars trilogy. My ability to apply the metaphor in terms of how it relates to preparing for life and what’s to come never went beyond my actual life experiences until I had children. Once I understood the metaphor it was a life changing moment.

In terms of software development the winter could be a time when Murphy pays a visit (Murphy’s law: “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”). For example, when my colleague and I were improving the response time for end users to retrieve customer information from a SQL database we kept running into a script error in dev. At first it was a simple syntax fix where the wrong character was being used, but when the syntax was no longer the issue it was discovered that the real issue was far worse. Years back we hard coded several pages in order to quick fix something that was crashing our system. After we fixed the issue we had to get back to what we were originally working on at the time and we put off making a more practical, permanent fix to the temporary hard code solution. So as time moved forward we forgot about the hard code. When the problem resurfaced we spent weeks going through the lines of code to properly address the issues. Most of our time was spent recalling the original problem. This event occurred at a time when we were launching new products, increasing sales, and enjoying the fruits of the year. It was our summer that was interrupted by a brief winter. Just like the winter season when plants stop growing and things freeze over our development stopped progressing and we were feeling the pressure from clients and our sales team to get the next release published.

It’s never a question of whether or not seasons will change, it’s a question of when. Making a plan, allowing time for Murphy and being at the ready to address unexpected changes in the seasons of life will help you meet these opportunities and character building days. Sometimes winters can be long, but it helps to understand that just like the changing of seasons it will pass and make way for spring.

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

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