Heroism Is Hazardous

Posted March 27, 2014 by Joshua Kerievsky

HeroismIsHazardous

Does your shop routinely rely on heroism to get work done or solve emergency problems?

A culture that relies on or encourages heroism is usually ignorant of the fundamental hazards present in the workflow, code base and workplace.

We must not blame the heroes in such a culture.

The real issue is almost always a lack of understanding of safer ways to develop software and the hazards of heroism.

Safe software development protects people via defenses like exploratory testing, automated behavior checks, scripted deployments, production monitoring, etc.

Late night or weekend "fix-a-thons" reveal insufficient defenses.

Typical Hazards

Rewarding heroes demotivates those who practice safe software development yet get no acknowledgement for it.

Such rewards lead junior programmers to aspire to become heroes.

Even worse, those junior developers learn unsafe development practices by emulating their heroes, leading to an endless cycle of hazards in software development.

Anzeneers reject such heroism by building necessary defenses, removing hazards and continuously making their workflow, code base and workplace safer.

Anzeneers are counter-heroists, ridding the world of dangerous, last-minute heroics.