Development / What happened when you tried?

What happened when you tried?

We were wrapping up the final moments of a four-day global strategy session. Digital Strategists from around the world gathered in a city in the Middle East to discuss how to best deploy people, money, ideas and resources in the digital realm for greater ministry fruitfulness.

As the leader was wrapping up the week he made a clear declaration. He even emphasized it with a firm hand slap on the podium.

“We will have Arabic in the God Tools app in 45 days.”

I gulped. As a strategist for the God Tools 4.0 release, I knew that declaration was mine to carry, and so I set to work.

Adding new languages was the whole point of the 4.0 release, but we hadn’t tackled the dreaded right-to-left languages like Arabic. The team was counseled that it might require an extensive rework of the API and the render engines. It was going to be daunting. We began searching for developers who could do and wanted to do this work. One after another passed on the project and as if with a swipe of a finger, the 45-day deadline slid by.

At another meeting, the need was shared and some developers with the Jesus Film said they might be able to help. At the beginning of the meeting, they asked the usual exploratory questions trying to understand the scope of the work needed. And then came the question.

“So what happened when you loaded Arabic into the API? What did it do?”

The two developers looked at me with anticipation. Could it really be that simple? Surely not. This was a complex problem.

“Um. We haven’t tried that,” I said. “I, uh, I’m not sure.”
They were gracious. “Ok, cool. Why don’t you load it up and see what happens and then we can go from there. Based on that, we’ll be able to see how big or small this is.”

easy buttonFrom the meeting I contacted two others on the project. Within the hour we had Arabic samples loaded into the test API and we stared at the screen. To our disbelief it was loading right-to-left. Granted, it was still swiping left-to-right, but we had a minimally viable product staring us in the face.

We had been letting months go by because we JUST KNEW it wasn’t going to work. We didn’t test our assumptions, and thus time was wasted.

What are you assuming that might just be wrong? It might be embarrassing to answer this question, but…

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU TRIED?