What lessons to learn from Mount Blanc and diving as software architect

In my previous post about exceeding my limits I have mentioned 2 trips from several I did in 2013. I would like to share lessons I learnt specially for development. You will see that there is not much difference in mistakes in software development as well in mistakes in diving or reaching top of mountains.

Let’s share some problems we have encounter:

During descent from Mount Blanc we (group of 3 people) decided we are not going to be tight together anymore, as it give us more freedom and we don’t have wait on each other. On the way back one of my friend felt over the cliff and by miracle was lucky to not fall down in gulf. We can’t say same about his DLSr camera. We have lost our best pictures from ascent and top of Mount Blanc, anyway my friend is still with us enjoys life like never before.

During my so far most deep dive, we swum almost all time against current and we have spent more air than we thought. On the way up, we had to use  extra safety air bottles we left in case of emergency, because we run out of air in our bottles.

These things I don’t share with everyone usually, because instead of learning lessons from my mistakes it scares them to actually not do anything.

And how it connects with development ?

  • If possible do pair programming and TDD – best exercise can be learnt on coderetreat
  • Never ever in name of “freedom, not enough time, not enough budget,…” write code without tests –  tests are your safety “rope” which holds your code together and can saves you life
  • Always count on unexpected events  (have extra hours, budget, resource hidden which you can pull on when needed) – this is like having extra safety bottles with air in water
  • Did you notice that both situation happened after “reaching  goal”  on the way back ? – Finishing your software and putting into production is our main goal, but be ready to expect the “real” problems when real users starts using it
  • Good preparation is the key for success – be tough on yourself – think about the most worst cases and expect even worse situations

These are just few things – happy new year 2014 and be ready to exceed your limits in next coming year.


Exceeding my limits in 2013 -52m –> 4810m :)

Year 2013 was great year where I had opportunity to exceed my limits above but as well at bottom 🙂

Ascent on Mount Blanc  4810 m

Preparations started about 6months ahead. It was tough, what ever I thought it takes in reality it was at least 2x harder. But it is worth it.

When you get there, you are full emotions – happiness, completely tired, feeling freezing cold and at same time enjoying shining sun on your face.

Your biggest enemy is weather and your physical condition. Here are few tips:

  • you can book bed in cottage no earlier than 30 days before ascent. Booking starts at 7:00am and usually ends at 7:10 am – So many people wants to book at same time.
  • To fight against weather good tip is to book whole week (every day) – when it gets closer, and you have better idea about weather for given days, you start cancelling your bookings
  • To fight against  physical condition, high altitude sickness ,…. – there was one thing I was telling to myself for 2 days. One more step , One more step. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, but you will get there.

 Here are few pictures and video from Mont Blanc

Descent to -52m in ocean

I love to dive. Very soon I figure out that normal diving  is “not enough” for me 🙂  In 2013 I have spent week on safari in Egypt. Everyday up to 4 dives. Last day I asked my friends I wanted to go down, deeper then usual 30m. I have to say, that my friends are technical divers (sometimes they do over -100m dives). So I did -52m in Egypt. 52m is not much, anyway when you so deep it takes you almost half hour to get properly in surface – that’s why maximum for non technical divers is recommended around -20m

 

It was very good year with many good things and few bad things as well, but these 2 shows that you can do always more than you thought. With good preparation you can manage many things, you can overcome fear, achieve more.