Small wins are critical for success as a software developer. I talk to my developers all the time about the importance of following the plan and the strategy of getting from point A to point B. I tell them to focus on the one step in front of them before worrying about the two steps after, that are currently broken or simply not there yet.
It is an unnatural thing to start down a path knowing that there is no road in front of you. You get used to this over time though. The uncertainty, the fear, the confusion just washes away. Experience tells us that there is not only a road ahead, with solid footing, but that a true success is waiting for you.
Unfortunately, this only comes with experience so until you get there you pretty much have to rely on those small wins.
Small winsSometimes they are so small they can fit on one line.
So small are these wins that we many times fail to recognize them and give them all their due. I am was reminded of this today. Just the other day I wrote, again, about how I learned to code and the wonderful work I created. Check it out.
That works was my first BIG small win. But I did not know it. I failed to recognize it. I failed to capture the magnitude of my work. I was so thankful and grateful to have through that ordeal. Two weeks of hard work and too many hours to produce what would probably 20 lines of dead simple HTML. I was glad to be done with it and so damn frustrated with code. I felt more like a survivor of some mugging than a victor.
It was not until my presentation, when my class let out those oohh’s and awe’s that I got it. I had won and more importantly the thought that I could continue to win snuck in and buried itself deep inside.
I would win over code. Never, have I looked back.
Bigger NoiseBut what was it that did that for me? Would it have had the same affect if it was just my friends? What if my girlfriend was the only one that had said anything nice? What if it was a smaller class with a smaller reaction?
I feel fortunate that I will never know.
But some people have that smaller class. And in spite of having more small wins than we could all count, they will not see them. They need a bigger class, a bigger noise.
So much of my work today is in getting people to take small steps. I see and can feel their small wins so much better than they can. I see their wins and know the importance and impact it will have.
I see developers and they don’t even know they can code.