It's snowing. It's December, and I live in New England, so all is right with the world, right?
Well, there is one little problem. It's December, and "everyone" has forgotten how to drive in the snow.
Every year, we go through this. People forget that we have snow. It seems to come as a big surprise. "Oh, it's New England! We have snow! I'd better slow way down. Snow tires? What are those?"
I'm being sarcastic, as I hope you can tell. But, in my family, we have seasonal adaptations. Because, we know it snows in winter.
About mid-November, before Thanksgiving, we put snow tires on the cars. Okay, I should give credit where credit is due. I don't actually contribute much to this endeavor. Mark puts the snow tires in my car. I drive my car to the place where the guy puts the tires on. He and Mark have conversations about the state of my tires. Mark drives me home. We repeat this process at the end of the day. I do the same thing for Mark's car, except I provide him my car for his drive to work. Our cars are snow-ready.
In late April or early May, when it appears that the snow is really done, Mark loads the car with the regular tires, and we repeat the tire process, backwards. Our cars are now ready for sun and rain.
We know we can't drive like crazy people in the snow. But we can maintain a reasonable speed in the snow, because we have snow tires.
When we drive, we'll slow down, because that's a reasonable thing to do. But we don't have to inch along. We can maintain a reasonable pace, because we have snow tires.
When you have a safety net in place, such as automated unit tests and system tests for your existing product, you can safely adapt to adding new features. That's what our snow tires do for us.
Your projects may go through periods of easy-ness. And then one day, you too will have snow. You will have to adapt to something. Know where your snow tires are. Maybe even put them on, in the form of test automation or pairing or swarming before you need them. Now, you can adapt to whatever your project weather throws at you.
Now, if I could just do something that easy about the cold...