The Attitudinal Rabbit

As the kids and I were driving home from the video store tonight, the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare popped into my head. Not sure exactly why, perhaps it came from something the kids were talking to me about.

Anyway.

It’s got a good lesson for development, buried at the surface.

The moral of that particular fable is not about speed. It’s about … attitude. Aesop took two extremes to illustrate his point, but it could have equally been two hares, or two tortoises. The difference between the two was attitude.

It is the same with development. You can have two gurus, one who will continue to work at something long after the other is in the dust. It is even more true when you have the guru and the not-so-guru. The temptation to have a lazy/bad attitude to development are far greater when it comes as natural as breathing. When you have to work long and hard to break through, it’s easier to be more aware.

But whatever you are, however your brain works, it boils down to the same thing. Somewhere along the line, and probably for most of said line, it’s gonna be tough. The coding, the selling/marketing, the support/install/training, the "humility" when dealing with clients afterwards. All these things are going to have a fair percentage of hard work attached to them. Slog work.

This afternoon I was faced with this head on. I found a particular problem within the functionality. It could have lain anywhere within about 4 levels of procedures. Intimidating to my caffiene-slowed brain, to say the least. But slowly I pursued the goal. Like a hound, chasing down it’s prey. A slow, slow hound, who wanted a diet coke badly.

Eventually, after fixing an incidental problem that confused the initial issue somewhat, I discovered the cause, fixed it … and BOOM, the sums added up.

Oh happy day!

Anyway. Attitude. Apart from anything, you aren’t going to get anywhere in the complete picture with a bad attitude. You might succeed in some areas, but the more clients you get, the more people you meet, the more chance there is that bad attitude will turn them away.

So I’m turning around towards something Bill and I were discussing today, mentioned briefly above. Sorry Bill, wasn’t stealing your IP … heh heh. That another step in the development cycle, the complete cycle, is to be able to suck it in and take humility by the horns. Or rather, meekly submit, especially when you’ve got clients getting antsy.

Meekness doesn’t mean weakness. It means you’re okay with not being right in other people’s eyes all the time. It’s okay for them to think that they are right. After all, they just might be. But whether they are or not doesn’t matter. If it’s just a "mine is bigger than yours" argument, then it should never be an issue. It doesn’t make you any less of a developer, and most of the time, people respect strength of character and true humility far better than arrogance and meglomania.

Anyway … ‘Nuff said. Babbled on a little longer than I meant to.