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Understanding Vs Solving the Problem

I read an interesting article about setting up a calm work environment and how the founders at Basecamp do it.

One section did catch my attention though:

At a conference attended by 600 people, the authors asked how many had recently enjoyed 3-4 hours of uninterrupted work; only 30 hands went up.

I can't remember the last time I have worked 3-4 hours uninterrupted but I don't think it is because of anyone else. My biggest problem is that I need to get more information. Most of the problems I deal with are actually pretty easy to solve. At least they are pretty easy once you know what the problem is. Defining the problem is usually half the problem.

Just over a week ago I was given a problem to work on. I will need to write some code and it needs to be completed in the next few weeks. Part of me is nervous that I have"wasted" over a week already without producing anything.

The thing is that I have learnt a lot about the problem in that week, and I know I will learn more on Wednesday when I next sit down with a colleague from another department to discuss it further. If I had written anything, it probably would not solve the real problem and I would have had to start from scratch.

Once I have all the information, I am sure I will be able to get the time I need to write the code. Until then I need to work with others to get that information so I solve the correct problem. And even once I start, I suspect that more questions with come up as I write the code.

Questions that will force me to stop and ask someone else.

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