I love this quote from Randolph West: ” Listen to people. Have strong opinions, but loosely held. If you are wrong, admit it and move on. Learn from those around you.”
This is from his blog on diversity, which I support and agree with. He has some great thoughts and the post is worth reading. Maybe you appreciate diversity, maybe you don’t, maybe advocate for or against it, but in all those cases, I think his message is worth reading.
I am not going to talk about minorities or ethnic groups here, but rather diversity of thought. That first quote could apply to software development in general, and certainly the idea of a DevOps process for building applications. It’s good to have strong opinions, and good to be able to debate and argue them, but it’s also good to keep those strong opinions loose. Many of us find as we get older and more experienced that we often have a huge gap in the things we don’t know that we don’t know.
These are the unknown unknowns, as opposed to the known unknowns, which are things I know I don’t really understand. I’ve remarked to a few people that learn new things every week, and I feel stupider every week. Why? I learn things I never knew existed, so I constantly expand the knowledge of my own ignorance. It feels like I learn two things and then realize there are nine more new things I don’t know anything about.
Today’s software requires a team. Maybe more importantly, today’s software requires a team of both application and database developers, as well as infrastructure staff, that can help put together an entire system. We need to work together, not independently with hopes of efficient integration of our ideas later. We want to shift left, and coordinate and communicate earlier. That needs strong opinions on how to best do a job, but a loose grasp on those as we might need to adapt to work with others.
Read Randolph’s blog twice. Once thinking about the topic of human rights, and then once more thinking about teams and our opinions on building software. It’s thought provoking and worth a few minutes of your time.