— Originally posted on LinkedIn —
On my way to lunch, I heard that uncomfortable sound of two cars colliding. From the distant glance, it looked like there were no injuries and the parties were starting to talk.
A few minutes later, on my way back to my office, the cars were still in the intersection. The parties were now both on their cell phones. I was walking toward one of them when I noticed that her hands were shaking and she was bleeding from the back of her right hand. She was sitting on the edge of the sidewalk as she hung up from her conversation. I mentioned that she was bleeding.
As she blotted the back of her hand with a napkin, she started talking about the accident. She said that her car was fairly new and that she had noticed the flashers were on as she was driving. She got focused on turning them off and the collision happened. We chatted a bit until the fire truck arrived and she moved over to get her hand checked.
As I walked back toward my office, I thought about the conflict between ‘keep your eye on the ball’ and ‘always be aware of your environment’. We all have that problem from time to time. Pilots have crashed airplanes while futzing with an indicator light in the cockpit. Trackers have been so focused on the tracks they are following that they get ambushed by their quarry.
Many developers focus only on their own project and ignore the other projects that their company is developing. Without this awareness, how can the developer recognize the shift in technology that their company may be realizing. Or the shift that the industry is taking while their company focus is too narrow.
Or the developer may be able to add value by suggesting code reuse between his project and another.
Although the laser focus is needed to solve some problems, keep a balance between the laser focus and the environmental awareness. Or you may collide with part of that environment.