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Architecting Change - Interpolation

Published 3/25/2020

Most change we experience in our world is unpredictable and uncontrollable. So if change is happening all around us, constantly, how can we maintain homeostasis?

In today's episode of Developer Tea, we're talking about different ways to view change and better accept change that you're not particularly excited about.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Change is hard and complex. And yet, it's happening all the time around us. That's what we're talking about in today's episode. My name is Jonathan Cutreller, you're listening to Developer Tea, and my goal on this show is to open driven developers like you, find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. Everyone wants to make a change. Here's what's interesting about change. Change is happening all the time around us. Most change is unpredictable and uncontrollable. Most of what we experience in our world, or even if we don't experience the changes directly, we are impacted by them. Most of these changes are things that we do not have influence over. So change is happening all around us, but we want to be the agent of particular changes. Even if you are simply wanting to maintain homeostasis, continuing to do whatever it is that you're doing at a stable pace without much perceived change, the truth is that you actually are making changes all of the time. Because in order to manage homeostasis, you are making constant adjustments relative to your environment. So I want you to think about one of the changes that you want to be the agent of. I'm willing to bet that when you think about this change, the way that you think about it is one of two ways. The first way is you think about the end state. You think about the goal. One of the things will be like when the change is complete. You imagine that this is kind of what the change is constituted of. The other way you might think about the change is, as this insurmountable obstacle that doesn't really have a form. This unknown might even cause a little sense of anxiety, and it might make you want to stop thinking about that change. Here's what most people don't think about. The process of the change itself. For almost any change that you can imagine, it is not instantaneous. There is some transition period. There's some kind of interpolation from the current state to that future state. We're going to talk more about how you can think about interpolation better. After we talk about today's sponsor, Proud Perfect. Proud Perfect is a new sponsor as of this week. Is the only automated testing solution that uses live application behavior traffic to automatically build and maintain browser level regression test suites, removing the burden of in-testing from developers for good. This is going to get your developers focusing on feature delivery rather than tinkering with some browser level in-testing solution. Proud Perfect allows you to test what users are actually doing on your web app, not just theoretically doing, for functionality with every update that you push. Into in-tests are pretty hard to maintain. They can take a lot of those precious engineering hours. Proud Perfect allows you to not only regain those hours and reclaim them, but you can get instant feedback on code quality, no more back and forth for days between developers and QA. You get basically a teammate who works like their in-house at a fraction of the time and cost. You can let Proud Perfect learn the usage of your application, and your team will sleep better at night knowing Proud Perfect is catching your high priority bugs before they hit production. You can spend your time, talent, and creativity on building a better product. Find out why Proud Perfect has been featured on Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Tech Crunch, Business Insider, Venture Beat, and SD Times. My failure is not an option. Let Proud Perfect be your QA mission control. Check them out today at proudperfect.com slash t. That's Proud Perfect PROD Perfect.com slash t-e-a. Thanks again to Proud Perfect for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. Most of the changes that we think about when I prompt you to think about a change that you want to make, most of the changes are substantial. They're the kind of changes that take time. This episode is not about extolling the virtues of patience. Of course, patience has a useful function in this conversation, but it's not the point. If we could change immediately, then there's no need for that sense of patience. We would just snap our fingers and change. The patience is not what's going to get you to actually go through with a long-term change, though. We've talked about habits in the past on this podcast, but I want to talk to you about the way you think about your changes, the way you think about constructing them, and how you approach that mental side rather than the tactical side, how you approach the perception of a given change. Here's how I want you to think about it. Let's say the change that you want to make. Maybe you are a brand new developer. Maybe you've decided to move down this career path. Perhaps you're trying to get a remote job and your goal is to become a developer. You have this big change in mind. The change is to become a developer. Where do you start? And when do you decide that change has been made? It's important to think about the language that you're using when you describe a change. For example, becoming a developer is very different language than learning how to program. Being a change very often ties into your identity. When you're tying into your identity, it's important to recognize that very often we don't evaluate ourselves very well. It's good to explicitly write down the criteria that would justify you saying, yes, I am now a developer. I am now a software engineer. Here's how I want you to think about it. Instead of thinking about it in terms of larger identity level conversation, I want you to think about smaller sub changes. What individual pieces must be true in order for you to call yourself a developer? I want you to think about the change that you're making at an incremental level. And when I say incremental, I mean as small of an increment as you can imagine. Start at the day level or even better if you can start down at the hour level. What change will you make in the next hour of your life? For changes that are worth thinking about, for changes that came to mind when I asked you this question earlier in this episode, it makes sense to write down the sub changes the ones that are more tangible and critically breaking those down all the way to action ability. These small changes are the ones that you can make by simply having enough energy to accept the change. The paradox of our motivation is that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is very far away and we have enough motivation to decide that we want to change, we want to pursue a change, but unfortunately our energy often runs out far before we're able to make the change complete. Think about it like this, when you put a kettle of water onto boil, it takes a certain amount of energy to bring that water to the boiling point. This is the moment where the physical change occurs, where the water begins to boil, which essentially means that the water is changing from a liquid to a vapor. Once that change starts, if you turn off the power, then the water will obviously stop boiling and it will stop boiling fairly rapidly. We wrongly believe that all we need in order to make a change is to reach the boiling point, to make the decision to step from one physical reality to another. The problem is that when we stop, if we stop adding that energy to the equation, then our old habits and inertia is going to bring us back down below the boiling point. So, it's necessary to continue having energy put into the process, but unfortunately, motivation often runs out too quickly. So it's necessary to do two things. Number one, try to reduce the boiling point, make it easier to actually make the change, and this brings to mind a quote, make the change easy, and then make the easy change. This quote, of course, comes from Kent Beck, and it can apply in a lot of different areas in our life. But additionally, we need to break down our individual changes to small actionable items, rather than trying to imagine that we can have a single burst of energy that will sustain us through a long change that requires patience and willpower. Instead, we can make one small change at a time. In fact, there is no other way to make a major change than to compose all of the small changes together. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Develop or Teguing into Proud Perfect. For sponsoring today's episode, head over to prodperfect.com slash T, that's prodperfect.com slash T-E-A to get started today. Today's episode was produced by Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell, and until next time, enjoy your tea.