Having recently completed the Bournemouth Bay Run 10K for the British Heart Foundation, while also being on the first rung of my 40-something mid-life crisis ladder, I have to tell you that the clinical approach to club running has taken me somewhat by surprise.
In the spirit of the Friday ‘conceptual not vendor or industry focused’ style blog, I would like to suggest that Marathon running might have a few parallels to draw with software application development.
The pre-race enthusiasm
It’s easy to sign up and put your name down. It’s easy to say, “Hey, what a great idea for a new software system.” Yeah, but that’s not walking the walk is it? Lots of ideas look great on paper. A new mash-up for cross-social network intercommunication that has too many arms and legs to make it truly workable might just be a gangly-legged monster.
The first 5K
The warm up goes well, the new running shoes and kit (sorry, the new framework’s toolkit and code samples) all seem to perform well and initial progress is good.
The lumpy mid section
Hang on – who said the streets were going to be cobbled? Ah, this is the Rome Marathon so you should have expected that added hurdle. Client requirement changes start to try and exert their influence and project skew looks like a painful inevitability. Wouldn’t a little additional research and pre-event mapping and/or modeling have helped everyone here? Yes – but it’s too late now.
The crushing numbness that comes with the realisation that there is just not enough energy left in the tanks to complete the race. The software development project's skillsets are expended and quite frankly, nobody knows how to restart the motor that should be driving the development engine. Perhaps we’ll just blindly stumble forwards in the same direction and hope the finish line is still in the same direction it was the last time we looked.
Human spirit conquers the seemingly insurmountable task of project completion and the race and the software project both see completion. Are we bruised and battered and not quite in the great shape we started out in? Or have we learnt a few things along the way and been encouraged by the enthusiasm of those around us? Hopefully it’s the latter.
Just remember programmers, stretch well afterwards and like Eddie Izzard for Sport Relief take a 15-minute ice bath and try not to swear.