Your Excuse May Be Valid…
Everybody has an excuse. Everyone has a reason it isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.
A lot of times, these are legitimate reasons.
- The code isn’t tested well enough because we don’t have time.
- We don’t have the proper hardware to test.
- [insert another excuse here]
The problem with this, is at some point you have to take ownership. Not having what is needed at some point becomes your fault. Don’t blame others.
Believe me when I say I’m stepping on my own toes as much as anyone else’s.
Previously, I moved from an engineering role to a leadership and engineering role. Suddenly I “owned” a lot more issues that I “didn’t have control over”.
But to some extent, you do have control over these things.
But Even Though It’s Valid, You Can’t Stagnate!
I’m sure your excuses have merit. Your boss’s excuses also probably have merit – if you don’t ship a feature soon, the company might not exist next month.
But until you own that you have control over these situations, you will NEVER be able to change them!
You hold the key. You are in charge of your own destiny.
If a feature has to be shipped tomorrow, as a developer, you may say there’s no way it’s happening. You don’t have to tell your boss that the reason it’s not happening is because you are adding tests that could be done later.
Is this sneaky? Yes, to some extent. As far as software goes, you are the expert. You know better than your boss (most the time anyway).
This is taking control of your own destiny. No one is going to worry about it like you will, because it doesn’t affect anyone like it does you.
Yes, I’ve added infrastructure and tests sometimes even in the midst of a tight deadline. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten chewed out over it.
Just about every time, things still survive with the business, and the code ends up being a lot better. So in the future, we have a lot better starting point.
This is what leaders do. They take risks. Even when almost everybody else disagrees with you. You still know in your heart/gut/mind that it’s the right thing to do. So you do it, and you don’t tell others to avoid the political battles that would result.
It Doesn’t Just Apply to Work
I complained for several years during college and after college that I was not involved in athletic events because my parents didn’t encourage it. They actually (maybe not directly but indirectly) discouraged me from running track in high school.
“If I would have been encourage in high school, I might be playing on a football team now.”
Woe is me.
I have similar thoughts about starting my own business. I actually have one, but it’s not profitable. It basically does nothing.
Woe is me.
There’s very few places in Huntsville that focus on software quality or adopt good software practices.
Woe is me.
These are things from my own life that I didn’t own. But things have changed. I am taking more ownership in my life.
I play in a tennis league. One day, I called a tennis center in town and signed up for lessons. A year later, I started playing in a competitive USTA league. I took matters into my own hands.
I did actually start my own business. But I stopped working on it.
I recently bought a rather expensive blogging course. It’s supposed to teach me how to make $1,000 a month from a blog. I’m starting to wake up earlier to allow myself time to work on it each day. I took matters into my own hands.
Through the process of blogging and talking to people at each company I’ve worked at, I had one person contact me on LinkedIn about an awesome opportunity. I now work at a company where software quality is valued. Good software practices are in place. And I am in a position to make that even better.
I took matters into my own hands.
This Applies to You
Every single one of the examples above forced me to own my situation and then do something about it.
If life isn’t exactly how you want it, you can either accept it for what it is or do something about it. I’m not even suggesting that acceptance is bad – being content with what is there is very admirable and can be the best course of action.
But if you want more, and you aren’t doing anything about it, it’s on you!
You Control Your Destiny
You hold the keys.
Maybe you can’t control the situation, but you can control your response.
You may be able to control your implementation. Maybe you can’t. You can learn to be happy with it.
It’s in your hands now.