“No one wants to learn by mistakes, but we cannot learn enough from successes to go beyond the state of the art.” – Henry Petroski, “To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design”

My friend Jon has a script to randomize quotes in his email signature, and this came through yesterday. I’ve always enjoyed Henry Petroski’s books, and though he’s a civil engineer most of the lessons are ones IT professionals can learn from, too.

Luckily, most of our mistakes don’t involve buildings collapsing, though.[0]


[0] Which reminds me of another thing a former boss of mine used to say during crisis situations: “Calm down, nobody is dying here.”