Fail is not an option

This is a follow-up post for my comment fail fast during adventures to Greger Wikstrands post,  that in it self  is a part of the on-going discussion between him and Gene Hughson.

Photo: Lotta Artmann

Photo: Lotta Artmann

Gregers reply to my last post was: "how would you create a forgiving failure environment on the mountain?" 

Gene Hughson´s reply was: "you can work with the context, against it, or ignore it of these choices gives you a fighting chance"

My answer was ask my wife, she sailed cross the Atlantic in a 32ft yacht (with her brother), which is more in line with Gene's comment.

A few year ago, a guy went missing off the beaten tracks, and was never found alive. So the primary question for me is how to avoid ending up in his situation, still experience the wilderness?

When trekking, I often walk alone, (not recommended), but following the trails. If I break a leg or something similar, then I would be found within a day or two by other trekkers. I always carry some kind of shelter, a sleeping bag, a stove and food for several days. If something goes really wrong, I can stay and survive in the wilderness for a few days. Normally, there is no mobile coverage, but I try to make a call home once a day when possible, tell them where I am and where I'm going. If I'm not heard of for two to three days, they would then call for a rescue team and give my latest known location.

On Kebnekaise, during the night, my tent and sleeping bag flew away in a hurricane and the stove was smashed. Luckily, I got help from two other trekkers to find my things that were spread across the mountain side. Even if I'm an avid reader of Tintin, this was not something I would have foreseen could happened to me. The only sensible thing to do in this situation was to return back to the mountain station as quick as possible.

Lesson learned, when doing adventures, be aware of the risks and have several backup plans when, not if, something goes wrong. Things that you don't anticipate could still happen.

My question to you is if we learn something from this when working with IT?

I want the project to succeed, but I plan for things going wrong so that the consequences wouldn't be to huge. Some risk are manageable, as walking alone, but not alone and off-trail. That's to risky. If you doing outdoor adventures, you are probably more prepared and skilled than a ordinarie project member, and thats a huge benefit. 

I guess the best advice, when doing completely new things with IT, is to start really small so that the majority of your business is not impacted if there is a failure. When something goes wrong, be sure that you could go back to safe place. Point of no return is like being on a sailing boot in the middle of the Atlantic where you can't go back.

By the way, do you like cave diving?