Breaking things and fixing them again is one of the best ways to learn. I learned this lesson early, thanks to my younger sister and her Japanese robotic toy dog. Somehow, I convinced her to let me take apart her robodog so I could see how it works.
“I’ll put it back together. Don’t be such a baby!”
How wrong was I? It would probably have been easier to put back together a Volkswagen Beetle than this toy dog. There I was, sitting clueless on the floor, surrounded with plastic parts and electronics. My sister was crying and I was sweating, trying to fix everything before our parents returned home. In the end, just in time, the dog was put back together (albeit with some mysterious spare parts hidden in the bin).
Fixing things and building things are very different to one other
Still, I learned a lot that day. I learned that engineering is hard. I learned that breaking things feels bad. I learned that trying to fix things can be stressful. I learned that fixing things and building things are very different to one other. But above all, I learned that trying to fix things is actually a great way to learn.
I often think of that incident because I’ve found many of those lessons resonate with the way we do things at Intercom, particularly in the way we separate the different processes of building and fixing.
Triage Engineering is an interesting approach and Drago’s article was a nice way to introduce the process.