When To Use Trial and Error


I learned my tech skills doing desktop support, not server administration. On the desktop side, the tried-and-true mantra is, “Turn it off and turn it on again.” Or, to put it another way, we do everything through trial and error. We think of a possible solution, we throw it at the wall, and we see if it sticks.

Over time, we gain enough experience that we can become better at guessing the solution the first time. This makes us look like we are wizards, because we appear to have very little information about the problem in front of us, and yet we will know exactly what to do. But none of us start out that way.

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Fail Fast and Pivot

Pivot fastThe more I study project management, agile, and work in this industry, the more convinced I am that failing fast is the only way to make healthy progress. We delude ourselves when we create detailed project plans with 1-2 year horizons and try to lock everything down with quantitative analysis, or anecdotal experience, or optimistic chutzpah. I am beginning to think that large batch and long-term planning like this is 100% doomed to failure.

As Helmuth von Moltke said, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” In this case, the enemy is reality, and the plan is our attempt to combat the chaos inherent in our world.

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There’s no such thing as a Golden Age

What does it mean when a church fails? It doesn’t matter the cause… maybe it ran out of money, or out of people, or likely both; maybe the pastor was corrupt, or the people were corrupt, or both; maybe the building was destroyed in an earthquake and the people moved away. Whatever, it failed. The church fell. What does that mean?

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Hold my Hand

The first of many prayers I’m going to post here as a regular feature. While singing “Invitacion Fountain” on Sunday morning, I found myself thinking, “I would follow you Lord, but I need you to take me by the hand…”

“If you lead me Lord, I will follow
where you lead me Lord, I will go.”
I mean it God–I won’t sing empty words–
but I don’t follow through. I’m too weak, too

pitiful to give you my life. No excuse
because you have been my lamp, my light
your Word my guide and map, and after all
I hear your voice. Yet still I fail.

I need you Lord, more than ever. More than
I did before I first heard your Son, I need
you to take my hand, to pull my arm hard,
to drag me behind you as you walk. I feel

like trash asking, asking, never satisfied
after all you’ve done, but I cannot climb,
nor swim, nor even see the stars. Terrible,
terrible, I can’t do this on my own…

Pouring out my heart
in song, dancing my prayers,
I can dream of strength, of crowns cast before you,
and I beg, “Come and heal me Lord, I will follow.”

I will follow you.