Move Fast and Break Things

So after my last run I described Shipping the MVP. I learned that I should be doing just enough to focus on the constraint. I learned that anything more than that would be overbuilding.

This post is a follow-up to the previously posted Shipping the MVP, so at the very least I recommend reading that one first before diving into this one. Additionally, this is a part of our Lessons in Factorio series, so if this is your first time reading one of this series’ blog posts, I recommend starting from the first one and working your way through them. The first post can be found here: Why I Learned from Factorio: Lean Networking

After accepting the lesson I learned, I decided to take it to the other extreme to see what would happen. Intuitively, this seemed like a bad idea. I was basically intentionally taking on tech debt to just move the needle forward on my factory’s progress. After that last run and seeing the negative impact of doing everything 100% complete before moving on, I was at a loss though so I knew I needed to do this firsthand to come up with answers.

We’re still a bit short on memes, so you get office kitty again! Yay!

The Rules for My Test and Expectations

There was one rule I had for this run, I wouldn’t do anything unless it increased my science consumption and get me closer to launching the rocket.

If you’re smarter than me, the results are exactly what you’d expect. My factory progressed pretty well at first, but eventually the tech debt caught up to me in the later stages of the game. Since I didn’t do anything unless my base progressed, after mid-game, everything that needed to be done was an emergency.

The Results Weren’t Pretty

Before, I would intuitively overbuild some things so they wouldn’t become a problem later, but following this rule killed that. Everything was built just enough, so anytime the capacity grew, the rest of the system would buckle under the additional stress.

If you’re familiar with the game, this might not seem like a big deal, until you realize there’s some major showstoppers that completely stop or even make you lose progress if you’re not proactive about them. The 2 major ones being power and defenses against the biters.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the game, having problems with not enough defense or power puts your base in a catch-22 situation. You could solve the defense/power problem more easily if your base was functioning. Unfortunately, you need defense/power so it can function. Digging yourself out of that hole is waaaay more difficult then simply avoiding falling into it on the first place.

Conclusions and Bringing Those Lessons Back to Networking

Overall, the run was a complete disaster. Compared to my previous slow and boring one, this one was constantly stressful, everything feeling like it was an emergency.

Now that I’ve learned this lesson in Factorio, I really stopped to think, if Factorio is just like work, how do these lessons learned equate to real life?

If you think about IT, just like Factorio, your job can be extremely boring if you have to completely finish the job 100% before you move on. That’s why a lot of us like to skip documentation. A lot of times you can freely do it with minimal impact. It also allows you to progress more quickly through your projects and provide more value to the organization you work in.

On the other hand, just constantly shipping the MVP, doing the absolute bare minimum to bring business value can lead to disaster and a very stressful job. Your systems will buckle immediately under any extra pressure. All of your tickets are P1’s. It’s very stressful and there’s just a ton of emergencies.

I could give examples of working in IT and the disasters of building the bare minimum only to cause you an issue later, but I’m sure if you’ve worked in IT for any length of time, re-reading the Factorio example will feel disturbingly familiar. If it’s not, keep up the good work!

Thank you for checking this out. I hope you learned something new or enjoyed reading this. If you had any comments, questions, or just wanted to share your thoughts on this article, you can contact me at

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