Problem Solver or Developer?

My friend Raymond just posted a great perspective on development.

I have come to the conclusion that I am a problem solver.  That’s my business.  Whether its process management, software architecture, personal growth for my development team or trying to keep my daughter from stealing my son’s toys, I solve problems.

I totally agree with Raymond about being a problem solver.  I have been saying that for years, so it's nice to see someone else come to this conclusion as well.

One thing I have learned from BDD is that developers spend too much time thinking about technical implementation details rather than the problem at hand itself.  I am continuously working with my current team to get them all to adjust to this way of thinking: think about the problem.  What are we trying to do?  We’re not trying to write software, we are trying to provide value to our customer, and we achieve that through software. 

I also say we are like actors because we need to think like the customers and know as much or more about the process than the customers themselves.  We are like method actors as method actors really become the role they are playing.  To best understand an issue for a banker, we should really understand things like investments and how they work, and understand paperwork that a banker goes through.

If we don't understand their process/pain, we can't correctly solve it (automate it/fix it) for them.  That and customers don't always know what all of their pain points are or don't know exactly what they want. Why would a user not know what all of their pain points are? Have you ever heard the phrase "We've always done it this way"?

If it were up to me, my team would work with (or as) a user of whatever product for which they would be developing a solution.  What length of time though?  A week? Two weeks? A month? Longer? Preferably long enough for them to really understand the problem domain and have ideas about how to make it better. 

So the verdict is that I am both an actor and a problem solver, but mostly a problem solver. Not that there's anything wrong with that. :D

Print | posted @ Thursday, December 27, 2007 11:54 PM

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