Identify the Fail
In which I realize that WoW raiding and software development have a common element.
How does this relate to raiding? Well, it has to do with learning from one’s mistakes.
In the software development world, we have to face the same old problems repeatedly because, instead of defining what a product should do clearly, we just say "it should do what the old one did" and then re-implement the same old mistakes. Since we are implementing "anew", our regression test suite often drops product-specific test cases and misses it initially. Which always devolves into exchanges like "why didn’t you test this?" followed by "we didn’t realize it was THERE."
Software developer Jamie Zawinski stated the syndrome fairly well as CADT – Cascade of Attention-Deficit Teenagers. Its fairly universal across the development world. I’ve often stated it as "developers like bright shiny things." Code monkey not want fix broken code. CODE MONKEY WANT MAKE NEW CODE FOR OTHER CODE MONKEY TO FIX.
Now, imagine if we raided that way. Maybe you’ve actually BEEN in a raid lead that way. After one or two tries doing it THIS WAY with mild improvements, we switch to a WHOLE NEW WAY, fail a couple of times, then switch again, and again, and so forth. In other words, we never execute any raid strat fully, just creating new ones that – we promise – won’t fail like the last one.
Well, that’s just silly. All good raid teams know that it takes time and patience and practice and, most importantly, LEARNING in order to get anywhere on a new raid boss. How to catch the signs that mean you should blow a defensive cooldown. When to notice that the adds are about to come out. The signs that now is the time to use that special boss button. Watching a vid only helps so much. Doing – and, more importantly – failing will fill in those final blanks and make it possible to progress to the next task in the chain towards the boss kill.
If all software development progressed like raid progression for successful raiding teams, our world would have much more awesome software and far less jaundiced eye-rolling as we faced yet another BSOD as reward for trying to save our work.
So there’s a take-away for the successful raid leader. If you can lead a raid team through progression, you have skills valuable in the software development industry. If you put it that way to your prospective boss, you’ll get some odd looks, but I’m sure you’ll find a way to explain it. You are, after all, obviously pretty bright. 🙂