Spotter vs safety rails

For the past 4 months, I’ve been doing a weightlifting program 3 times a week and I’m really happy with my progress.

I’ve tried the same program a few times over the past 8 years but never stuck to it longer than a month at a time. I have a friend who would have sometimes came along and act as a spotter for me. But our schedules rarely aligned so when I went to the gym alone and started hitting limits on the big exercises of bench press and squat, I got scared of injuring myself, hit a plateau and my interest gradually waned until I fell off the wagon altogether.

This time round, I’ve joined a new gym which has proper squat racks with safety pins/rails. I’ve learned to set these at the right positions and studied in detail the right form for each exercise. I’ve practised failing well so that when I can’t get the last bench rep up to the finishing position, I can lower the bar to the safety rail and roll myself out to the side.

Here’s the thing: being able to work (out) autonomously on my own schedule is both extremely productive and personally rewarding. I just needed to choose the right tools and set up my environment right in the first place.

The same is true with software delivery, especially with serverless.

I believe that by choosing a serverless architecture, you already have a strong head-start in terms of autonomy. It’s much easier as an individual member of a serverless dev team to work directly with the business/users, write the code and associated tests for a new feature and deploy it right through to production. You don’t need an infrastructure, platform or DevOps team to “spot” you for deployments once you’ve finished implementing your feature, or for specialist help with scaling a part of the system that is getting slow or overloaded.

Of course, developers will still need to learn the fundamentals of serverless and put the right architecture, codebase structure, tooling and development practices in place to make this successful. And your team may get to a stage where you’re lifting super-heavy weights and it makes sense to hire some spotters as an extra bit of insurance. But you’ll be much farther down the road at this stage and likely be easily able to afford them.

— Paul

P.S. I’m consolidating an opinionated set of “serverless safety rails” into my Serverless Launchpad service if you’re interested in learning more for your team.

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