Listen To Yourself
Most of us have worked on our own little side projects. Usually we have some inspirational moment where we conceive an idea and then go through a mental process to map out the project in our heads. At the end of it we have a new killer idea for a project.
In mapping out the idea, we have thought about the most important things such as what entities will be involved in the new system, which technology we will use for the presentation layer and how the background aggregation services will collect the data we need.
Developers have a tendency to think about the complex pieces of the system, neglecting the pieces of the system that seem conceptually straight forward, such as a user system or user workflow – these are just <div> elements and sign-up buttons right?
We then start work on our new killer idea and it seems to have a lot more depth than we first thought. The bits we originally considered to be simple and easy (because we didn’t really think about them) end up taking the most time to get right. If you’ve been through this, you’ll know it’s demoralising. It’s demoralising because you start to realise that you didn’t know what you were doing in the first place.
It’s no secret that understanding exactly what you are aiming to achieve is crucial to achieving it, otherwise your goals are being decided in an ad-hoc fashion and constantly changing as you change your mind. At the conception stage of your new project, you must understand what you need to do and how you intend to do it.
Writing something down helps, for the same reason that telling your mother about your killer new idea also helps. Bottleneck. When you write something down, your brain is slowed down by your hand. When you tell your mother about your new project, your mouth can’t work as fast as your brain. You end up listening to yourself.
Think about it – how many times have you started to explain a problem you have, only to realise the solution before you have even finished explaining it? Sometimes our brains work too fast for our own good. Well, they don’t work too fast really, they just give the illusion of working fast by skipping over things that they decide are not important.
Telling someone about your idea or problem will force you to listen to yourself. Try it and I bet you that you understand your problem better after the conversation – even if she was playing bingo the whole time you were talking.