Have you Deliberately Practiced1 this week?
What Kind of Practice?
Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. – Vince Lombardi
While perfectionism can impede or prevent pragmatically getting things done, it can help us get better at our regular performance of a skill or activity. The key idea behind Deliberate Practice1 is to build “muscle memory” by deliberately doing something with proper feedback and/or coaching to ensure learning and correctness. While you will probably slow down to practice this way, the result should be an improvement to normal performance.
Despite Vince’s best intentions, “perfect” practice probably won’t result in actual perfect performance but it should get closer.
As a software developer who is also a coach of various aspects of software practices and process I don’t always find myself writing code in any given week. I still want to keep my skills sharp when I’m not coding but even if I was doing active development this week I would still look for some time to apply some deliberate practice outside the normal pressures of software delivery.
This week it was a [Programming Kata]2 called the Numbers In Words Kata since I needed to keep things short and only had time to practice on my own. I could have attended a Coding Dojo as well.
What Will You Deliberately Practice?
Will you make time to try some deliberate practice this week? Most likely someone has already identified some forms of practice for what you do.
If you are a developer like me you might try Cyber-Dojo or Codewars. A writer would look for [other forms of practice]. There are even kata for coaching. Find something that works for you and make time this week to improve.