Know where the fall line is

Microsoft is full of interesting people. Some of the guys in my group go snowboarding once a week and they are kind enough to take me along and show me the ropes. We usually go to the Stevens Pass one day a week after work. If you leave a little early, around four, you can easily get 3 or 4 hours of boarding.


I am from Florida and have never seen snow before. . . well there was one trip to Yosemite national park, but you get the idea. In Florida we have two seasons, brutally turkey basting hot summer and not quite burning up summer. So you can image what a change it has been to experience the seasons here in Redmond. I have really enjoyed it especially the mountains, Wow.


Back to snowboarding. If you haven’t tried it. . . stop what you are doing right now. I mean it stop it. Get in your car, drive up to the mountain and get a snowboarding leason. You will never regret it. Nobody lays on their death bed and wishes they had fixed one more bug. But if you miss the chance to experiences God’s mountains on a snowboard, you will always regret it. Please note I highly recommend lessons to reduce the initial learning pain.


As you can imagine I am still very much a learner. Even though I spend a lot of time laying in snow trying to figure out how I went from zooming down the mountain (ok. . .ok maybe not zooming) to laying on my butt in the snow, I probably enjoy my time on the mountain more than anyone else.


One of the hardest things for me to learn is “know where the fall line is”. You can think of the fall line as the direction a marble would go (if marbles would roll down the side of a snow covered mountain). The direction you can go and which edge of the board you can use is determined by the fall line. I am constantly seeing a false fall line in the direction I want to travel. It is a form of wishful thinking. I convince myself that the fall line is in a direction compatible with where I want to go and turn accordingly. Of course the brutal laws of gravity show no mercy and I will catch an edge and face plant. So the deal is. . . no matter how much you may want the fall line to be going in a different direction, you have to accept reality and know where the real fall line is.


So how does this apply to programming…..


Know how much you can actual do and don’t over commit. When your manager or teammate ask how many features you can complete or how many bugs you can resolve, know your fall line, and don’t over commit. No matter how much you may wish the schedule was headed in a different direction, it is not. And even though the happy answer may relive a little stress for the moment it will end up in a face plant very quickly.


Know where the fall line is.