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Submarines and Software

Imagine spending months under the Arctic in a submarine several meters below the ice.

Or just watch this interesting video from Smarter Every Day to have an idea.

Cool, right? ๐Ÿšข

Something, in particular, caught my attention: every crew member studies, trains, and gets certified to be able to operate on every important system of the submarine.

It's a high-risk environment and even a tiny issue can have catastrophic consequences.

That's why everyone in the submarine has to get their Dolphin Badge. Everyone, both enlisted and officers has to get theirs. It takes about 1 year of hard training and mentorship.

From Wikipedia:

Although submarine qualification methodology has changed throughout the decades the basic goal has remained: 1) to provide the submarine sailor with a basic knowledge of all systems onboard, their uses, operations, and interrelationships with other systems and 2) to ensure all personnel can operate effectively under pressure in shipboard situations. Submarine damage control techniques are stressed throughout the qualification process.

How does that relate to Software, you might ask.

Well, think about it. In order for them to achieve those 2 goals, experienced members are required to train the new ones. Everyone is on the same ship together.

Wouldn't it be great if we applied just 1% of that in the Tech Industry?

For instance, I can see a few issues in the Software industry that would be solved following that approach:

  • Lots of qualified, self-motivating, curious people leave the area because no one wants to give them their first opportunity.
  • When hired, junior developers are left alone and without direction. This can lead to giving up the career.
  • At the same, we have people that only care about themselves being rewarded, just because they have 'strong technical skills'. They don't care much about others.
  • There isn't a strong mentorship culture in the industry at all. You have to select a handful of companies that have mentorship as part of their culture.

We should be celebrating people that bring different perspectives to the table. That is motivated and eager to learn, and grow. People that help, support each other and mentor others as a genuine way of making this industry better.

From that perspective, the Dolphin Badge idea could bring lots of benefits to Software:

  • People work together and care about their wellbeing.
  • Seniority comes with mentorship. And, most importantly, mentorship is the norm.
  • Anyone is prepared to save the ship and its crew when things go bad.
  • People respect and admire each other regardless of their position. It doesn't matter their experience or rank.

If you are currently in a leadership or a more senior position, I would like to bring you some questions:

  • How important is mentorship in your workplace?
  • How do you make sure junior developers, if there are any, are growing and achieving other 'badges'?
  • How engaged are your employees in making sure the entire crew members are happy and prepared for the worst?
  • If you think of your company as a submarine, how long would it last if something really bad happens?
  • How prepared are your teammates in solving any situation confidently?

Well, that's it for today ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ‘‹

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