HOW ARE YOUR PROBLEMS BEING SOLVED?
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?"
- 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."
- Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow
- Google: The five keys to a successful Google team
- Wendy Wood: Good Habits, Bad Habits
- Carol Dweck: Fixed vs Growth Mindsets (caveat: research not replicated)