I’ve been working with my team to implement DevOps in our company.
In DevOps, the concept of learning, experimentation, and "failing fast" is a big thing. We often refer to it as the freedom to make mistakes.
But how much freedom is allowed, though?
I certainly don’t expect that people will go all out trying things they know won’t work because we said that making mistakes is acceptable. Moral hazard anyone?
That’s why we usually say it’s okay to make mistakes, but not the same mistakes. And it’s not about being careless either. Careless mistakes are not acceptable.
One of the reasons purported for encouraging the making of mistakes is that people learn more from their mistakes than from their successes. This is not true. People learn more from their successess with the release of dopamine after a "win" helping cement the behaviour.
The only acceptable reason is that mistakes are expected when trying something new. Like riding a bike or skateboard, you tend to fall often until you get it right.
Like Edison making the lightbulb, "I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work."
But you certainly don’t expect that in a hospital. "Sorry your baby died, I was trying something new. Oh well."
So in short, it’s okay to make mistakes if:
- You are learning something new.
- This is not a mistake you keep making.
- You are not being careless.
- You are not killing anyone.