What’s more fun to watch, this? Or a couple of guys having a knife fight?
I’m picking up a new hobby this summer: SCUBA diving.
It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, and due to an upcoming trip to Australia I figured it was time to learn. I hear that diving the Great Barrier Reef is something everyone should do once in their life.
It doesn’t look too difficult to learn — nothing like instrument flying. There’s a nice blue book, a DVD, a dive computer and some forms. You read the book, take the tests, and watch the movie. Assuming you’re able to absorb all of the information, you pass the knowledge test. Of course, the real trick is learning skills. That comes during your hands-on training. We have ours scheduled for next month at Myrtle Beach, SC.
At first I thought this would be simple. The instructor said all that was required was a mask, fins, and snorkel. So I bought one for my wife and oldest son (oldest daughter is still too little). But like every other hobby I’ve ever tried, they suck you in incrementally. I thought it might be good to have my own vest, so I ordered that. Of course, you really need the regulator with the vest, so I ordered that, too. And to round it out you really need an alternate air supply. So out comes the VISA for that.
Then there’s the repair kits, the anti-fog gel (found out that Dawn works well here), the dive slates, the watches, the knives, the dive computers — must have dive computer — the goodie bags, the tanks, the signaling devices. Who knows? There’s probably a place where I can buy those cool electric underwater propulsion devices from Thunderball.
Why can’t hobbies be simpler? Or am I only attracted to hobbies that are complicated? I read somewhere that flying was a great hobby for people who enjoyed very intricate and detailed physics and gadgetry. I can believe that. SCUBA doesn’t seem as bad as flying, but it’s also full of expensive props and gizmos, especially once you start talking about technical diving.
Some areas of human activity are simply more complex than others: no doubt about it. But I think people in general have a tendency to take simple things and make them more complex over time. I see this with software teams every day. I explain how simple agile practices are but that’s not good enough. Before you know it somebody’s made it into a set of rules and strict procedures that are highly complicated. We simply love showing people how smart we are, and making things more complicated is a good way to do that. Why have a list of index cards when we can use a spreadsheet? Why have developers self-organize around story completion when we can break things down into a hundred little pieces?
Because we can.
Somebody said that things should be as complicated as they have to be and not a bit more. I think that’s a good rule to follow whether it’s hobbies, work, government, or anything else.If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.