Rapid Iteration Doesn’t Mean “Stop Thinking”

Image Source: http://www.correctproducts.com/core/media/media.nl?id=79866&c=736593&h=5d524103dee542d38459In the world of DevOps we often like to talk about rapid iteration in relationship to shortened feedback cycles, and yet oftentimes something gets lost in translation. Specifically, just because failure is ok, because failure leads to learning, it does not mean that we shouldn’t be thinking at all. And, yet… it’s all too common!

A perfect example… firing off a response to an email before fully reading and comprehending the email. Or, responding before reading all the way through a thread. In either case, we make snap decisions to respond to some point, and yet we lose the overall context, even when that context explicitly answers questions or concerns being raised in our response.

Another example is iterating too rapidly through updates. Maybe it’s coding to meet an ever-changing design. Maybe it’s making design changes to a site or PowerPoint presentation. Maybe it’s simply providing feedback on something. Stopping, taking a moment, actually engaging the brain, being mindful and present… these are all essential to being successful, as well as key components of DevOps and Lean (and, by extension, Lean Security). In fact, being mindful, respectful, and taking the time to think is an essential part of a generative culture.Image Source: http://www.andysway.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/stop-and-think-sign.jpg

There is more to be written (soon!) on generative culture, Lean Security, and other related topics, but for now, I leave you with this: rapid failures as part of rapid iteration due to lack of brain engagement is dumb. Don’t fall into that trap. Shortened feedback loops have to do with providing feedback as quickly as possible, but it must be meaningful, mindful, and respectful feedback. If you’re not engaging the brain and just responding, then your response exists at a primitive level and – even if it bears out being correct/accurate – overall we really do not want to be living primitively. Rather, we must engage higher thinking and extend ourselves outward in order to start influencing org culture in the way that will benefit ourselves, our teammates, and our employers/clients.

By | 2016-11-30T16:27:01+00:00 November 30th, 2016|Blog|

About the Author:

Ben Tomhave is a security architect with New Context, a lean security firm. He holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management from The George Washington University and is a CISSP. He has previously held positions with Gartner, AOL, Wells Fargo, ICSA Labs, LockPath, and Ernst & Young. He is former co-chair of the American Bar Association Information Security Committee, a senior member of ISSA, former board member at large for the Society of Information Risk Analysts, and former board member for the OWASP NoVA chapter. He is a published author and an experienced public speaker, including speaking engagements with the RSA Conference, MISTI, ISSA, Secure360, RVAsec and RMISC, as well as Gartner events.