Rusty Divine

Live, Love, Learn, Teach

Try, then Ask Rule

Matt’s “You Must Try, and then You Must Ask” rule reminds me of why I love working on a team.

I have worked remotely before, for a stretch of 4 years, and not only was I working from my house, but I was the only developer on a project most of the time. I also have good friends who are doing well as sole proprietors in software consultancy and have considered whether I should follow their lead.

I know I could do it again, but I would prefer not to. I enjoy talking with my team and having someone around to jolly me out of a funk. Learning is accelerated by seeing how my other team mates are structuring their code and talking about what frameworks they are interested in. Not being the only person on the hook if a deadline is missed or a customer is unhappy is an incredible relief.

At work, we’ve often repeated the mantra that if you get stuck, make sure to ask someone. We have a stand up each day that should bring anything seriously blocking to light – it forces us to be accountable to each other. What I really like about Matt’s post though is that he has dug deeper than the surface to give some solid advice:

  1. If you’ve hit a point of giving up, give it another 15 minutes.
  2. During those 15 minutes, you must document everything you’re doing so that you can tell someone else.
  3. After that, you must ask someone for help.

I like that the second step is to document what you need to do to explain it clearly. Often, I get wrapped up in something I didn’t expect and just confuse myself. When I call someone over to explain it, I end up figuring out the problem myself just by talking through it logically – so, this step can often save my team’s time because often it will be enough to solve the problem.

blog comments powered by Disqus