Thursday, October 06, 2005

Some problem solving strategies...

When I'm trying to solve a hard problem, refactoring or otherwise I employ some strategies to help me get a better understanding and arrive at a good solution.

First I come up with a number of ideas. Very explicit different approaches to the problem. Stupid ideas are as welcome as ones I think are excellent. They make you think about the problem in different ways. I then cross ideas off the list that clearly are way too much work or won't work at all.

Of the ones that remain I'll choose two that look promising. If there is one that looks promising, but I don't like, I'll often try that one first. It might lead to new understanding. A spike of 1 - 2 hours will lead to new learnings and new strategies.

Sometimes, when I grow too attached to an idea, I'll hand the problem to someone else. I get enamoured with my own ideas, and this is a bad thing. By passing control to someone else I can be assured additional ideas will be generated and heard by the person working on the problem.


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