Respect problems rather than solutions

This is the 4th post from my sincere dev manifesto series.

History repeats itself

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when you have only one idea (Emile-Auguste Chartier)

Nothing is more dangerous than a road when you have only one road on your roadmap (Kevin Henney, probably proxying someone else)

Nothing is more dangerous than an option when you have only one option

Nothing is more dangerous than a solution when you have only one solution

Jeff Patton tells us the 3 issues with ideas:

  • everyone has some
  • most of them are lame
  • expect mine

Virginia Satir tells us that having one choice is not a choice, having two choices is a dilemma, and having 3 choices offers new possibilities.

Chris Matts talked relentlessly to us about real options. And in particular:

  • options have a value
  • options expire
  • never commit to an option until you know why

As long as options are open, the biggest value you can bring to the table is adding new options. Committing to an option too early is a form of premature optimization. It’s bad for our health.

There are models in the wild, helping us cope with leaving options open, like the double diamond, the A3 problem solving, or the scientific method. Basically, what they say is you analyze the situation with an open mind before stating your problem, then come up with explanations and counter-measures with an open mind before choosing the most appropriate one with an open mind.

These models also say it’s a never ending process.

Solutions tend to lock you down. We get attached to our ideas. And the more energy we threw into building them, the more we want to keep and maintain them. But yesterday’s solutions are today’s problems. And another context’s solution is probably a bad idea for the situation at hand.

Fall in love with problems to solve, value to create, lives to make easier. Don’t let your past get in the way of understanding or solving the problem.

And start over for the next problem to solve.

Be sure that there’s always a problem to solve. As they say in lean, no problem is a problem.

I commit to focusing on problems, and leaving options open as much as I can.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Sincere developer manifesto | AAAgile

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