Default to trust

Ryan James Spencer

You may get to the point in your career where you see enough things break and assume everything is fundamentally flawed. Paranoia sets in, robust architectures are designed and implemented, and you witness a spectacular explosion of failure on the faintest breeze of unexpected input. Alternatively, the paranoia bonds with apathy and you sit on our hands, unsure what to do, trying to settle on an option like the donkey deciding between hay or water, eventually starving from an inability to decide.

Cut the cycle and default to trust.

You can have correct, safe, and performant code that is delivered in time, and we get there by growing. When trust is determined to be misplaced, that is where the growth can happen. All this requires opening up, as guarded attitudes will keep you from change. Be receptive to being wrong and to listen. When the tools, interactions, or knowledge are mended, trust again and repeat.

This isn’t blind optimism. There is no hoping things will get better on their own, without any intervention. Rather, it is a form of strengthening against variable perturbations.

Trust your tools such that you gain an arsenal of quality at your fingertips, forged through consistent applied improvements.

Trust your teams such that you assume peers are acting with clarity and intent, turning towards the difficult and challenging interactions that strengthen the collective fabric.

Trust your knowledge such that you make exceptional maps of a variety of different fidelities, updating swathes as you become surprised at new knowledge.

Engineering out of fear leads to miserable results, always flexing between the poles of apathy or stress. You can abandon fear by adopting an attitude of curiosity, defaulting to trust, and being open to the inevitable surprises that will come your way.