This Post Is

  • My (relatively educated) opinions
  • To get you (and me!) thinking

1. "Do this!"

  • Often (upper) management or overbearing personalities
  • Driven by "I'm supposed to decide." and "my first thought is the right answer."
  • Can be important in urgent or gridlock situations.
  • BUT, mustn't become the go-to.

Mitigation: "We're providing an update, but we're open to ideas."

2. "There are two ways..."

  • Often team leads or developers not directly responsible for the outcome
  • Simplistic to get quick buy-in
  • Driven by "I'm supposed to know" and maintaining status quo
  • Stops exploration and can shortcut testing
  • Flatt's Law #12: "There are usually many right ways to do something, and always infinite wrong ways."

Mitigation: "We'll start with those, and review with you if we come across alternatives."

3. "I’ve already thought of/tried that."

  • Often a senior developer
  • Stops conversation
  • Pits the "expert" against colleagues
  • Leads to gridlock and win-lose thinking
  • Can be ego/image-driven
  • BUT, can also be true

Mitigation: "Can we look at your steps/tests/code? We want to perform due dilligence."

4. "We've already thought of/tried that."

  • Can hide a decision actually made via 1-3.
  • Can be clique-driven
  • BUT, is usually true (i.e., "we're really in agreement")
  • BUT, still potentially stops exploration
  • Can be valuable when presenting to management
  • BUT, requires trust. Can be a cudgel, "you don't really understand what we do."

Mitigation: "I'd like to understand better. Who can step me through what you've done?"

5. "This is where we are right now."

  • Can be used by anyone at any time
  • Growth mindset
  • Psychologically safe
  • "What's been tried? What can we try?"
  • "What's the real problem we should be solving?"
  • "How urgent is it really?"

In General

  • Fast vs Slow thinking: slower is better for solving problems
  • Measures of Success: quality is usually better than speed
  • Habits: Encourage asking questions as the path to solutions.
  • Fixed vs Growth Mindset: start from "I don't have to know right now."

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