A developer, like most of us, can think s/he knows what s/he is doing, where s/he is going, with a project, and believe that the project is well-mapped out in the cerebral cortex, and ready to roll. There’s a certain sense of confidence arises when one feels one has a general grasp of what is needed to be done.
The old saying: The proof of the pudding is in the eating – is important and true here. And adopting a practice, and making it your standard practice, to resolve to write down in everyday language those confident thoughts milling between neurones in your head, will indeed expose the holes and non-sequiturs, and at the very least bring a greater clarity to your aid.
It is not that you might be wrong: that your sense of confidence is misplaced in believing in being able to achieve what you have been charged to build. In these cases that sense of inner confidence; what the TV detective calls a ‘hunch’, is normally a kind of internal radar which is pretty accurate.
It is that your unconscious mind is allowing you that sense of confidence; and because of this you will find that you cannot really very easily bring up with faciltity into you to consciousness everything which goes into the building of a projected job; and certainly you will find that you cannot do such a thing all at once.
‘We don’t want a madhouse and the whole thing here’
Your unconscious mind is fitting together ideas and projections and all sort of connectors and conjunctions so as for you to be able to say to your client with confidence: I can do this for you. The trick is to learn how to mine the data out of your unconscious by writing down meticulously the project as a plan; and so you are realising consciously those unconscious connectors and conjunctions you are reliant upon for doing the work well.
The effort will be surprisingly hard for you. To write down in everyday language a skeleton upon which you aim to hang flesh on your projected task to make it live. There will be pauses and problems and unforeseen mantraps and cul-de-sacs to negotiate: things overlooked and things misremembered and things which you have half an idea of but need to polish up on. But overall your ‘hunch’ nevertheless will generally transpire as being a correct one.
What will also be difficult will be to get your thoughts down in, say, English, so that they accurately reflect what you want to say. There was a philosopher of science who once said famously:
‘There is nothing I can say which cannot be misunderstood’
But the attempting to ‘say what you mean and to mean what you say’ will bring awareness and clarity and in bringing it will act to debug your mind before your mind is applied as a tool to construct a virtual reality in the image of itself.
Look upon it as being a personal challenge to see the writing through to the finish; and do finish it before you begin to start work proper on development of the item of work. Use your writing as your personal Requirement Document, and maybe run it past your client to see whether a) it agrees with what s/he has in his head for the work and b) whether what s/he has in his head for the work necessarily needs to be modified in the light of what you have achieve in performing this exercise.
So why waste time with all this? Why not just get on and do. Why not just go straight to writing a comprehensive technical specification document – if you actually do write such things beforehand to working to realise the product of a job.
Well: people buy Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training and pay money for the privilege of a mental workout which has no direct practical applications. At best Dr Kawashima can help generally to improve one’s concentration and sharpen one’s thought processes but these benefits depend on one obtaining a transfer of skill or aptitude over into everyday and particular practical situations which confront us.
Dr Kawashima provides you with entertainment and is at least in part a game. The essence of a game is that there is no actual consequential penalty or loss riding on its completion; unlike when one is doing a job of work to earn one’s living. When one messes up on a paying job the pay check will not arrive; and one’s reputation will need at the least some massage and resuscitation. There is a living riding on the outcomes of ones occupational achievement.
So why buy a game when instead you can do it yourself for real and increase your capabilities, your reputation, your income, and your sense of well-being and accomplishment, by applying a bit of brain training in a crucial and live situation.
You can improve and so find mining one’s unconscious data more felicitous and productive as you practice it further. It constitutes a good habit into which one is able to train oneself, and grow up into.
It can be hard going it alone. So a guy or gal to bounce things off is a good recommendation: someone likeminded maybe, and someone also eager to do some extra-mural mental gym. As the old poet said wisely:
‘When two go together, one sees before the other’
I guarantee you that you will be surprised how instructive the famous saying of the philosopher of science can be for you. Take it as your maxim and your tenet and refer always to it as you go; so as to examine yourself and your work for those sneaky omissions and elisions, and those sly misnomers or those elusive double-dealing double-meanings.
When you have brought out from your depths to a written form with which you are happy a document which lays out clearly, comprehensively and concisely your upcoming job of work as a plan or a working blueprint, the gain is in the sense of restful and unruffled grounding you possess, and are able to give to the work of making the thing a reality.
It is not wasted time. It is not unnecessary. It is time spent up front working through hypothetically what you might have done actually and in fact and in the doing in fact could have turned into a real pig’s ear what now instead is likely to be a much smoother and much more enjoyable, rewarding task: a joy.
Furthermore, at the back end of a job approached this way there is most likely going to be a lot less debugging, fewer back to formulas and redactions. Perhaps most importantly, you might feel like taking a reasonable and modest pride in yourself too?