A few years ago, when working as a software developer building and maintaining internal platform components for a cloud company, I deleted an application from production as part of a deprecation. I had double and triple-checked references and done my due diligence communicating with the company. Within minutes, though, our alerting and monitoring systems began to flood our Slack channels, in a deluge of signals telling me something wasn’t working. The timing was pretty clear; I had broken production.
In medical dramas, the moment when things are about to go wrong is unmistakable. Sounds are muffled. High-pitched, prolonged beeps take over your ears. Vision blurs. When alarms sound, or danger is near, something takes over within you. Blood drains from your head, heat rises in your body, and your hands sweat as you begin to process the situation. Sometimes you confront the issue, sometimes you try to get as far away as possible, and sometimes, you just freeze. In my case, with red dashboards and a sudden influx of noise, I had turned into the surgical intern holding a scalpel for the first time over a critical patient, with no idea what to do.