Professional Programmer Notes

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Posts Tagged ‘habits

SEWDI (Someone Else Will Do It) Disease

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What is it?

A productivity block that often affects the work of developers that habitually search and find solutions to technical problems.

History (feel free to skip to “How it affects us” below)

In the past, research was very time consuming.  It often involved 
  • traveling to a library that may not have computers
  • learning and utilizing the Dewey Decimal system to increase efficiency
  • identifying possible books and/or periodicals on the topic
  • reviewing many sources to adequately research the topic and add depth to the research
  • compiling the research into a format to be reused
  • consuming and/or sharing the research
Then, the Internet was invented and things started getting better!
Today, we can simply
  • open a web browser on one of the many computers available to us (even at libraries now)
  • type a term or phrase into one of many search engines
  • click on a few of the links that were instantly presented 
  • use what you learned and move on (no need to compile it or save it because we can always just search and find it again later)

In other words, research is relatively cheap and easy.

How it affects us

The ease of research has impacted how developers respond to problem-solving.  As professional problem-solvers, our natural response pertains to how the problem can be solved.  This helps us identify an approach to solving the problem that we think might work.  That’s the easy part. 
Next, we have to actually do the work to prove the approach solves the problem.  That’s the hard part — especially when there is often an easier way.  Instead of doing the implementation work, we research solutions to the problem.  Often, we find solutions that can be implemented with little or no effort.  We call that efficient.
Meanwhile, we are conditioning ourselves to be dependent on this readily available resource known as the Internet.  In addition, we are subconsciously depending on the hard work of strangers.  Given enough successful Internet searches, we start to believe that failing to find a response means one of two things:
  1. Our search terms need to be refined
  2. The solution is not available … yet.
This means either we need to approach our search differently, or wait until someone comes along and solves our problem.  Either way, actually solving the problem becomes the last option!
That’s the magic of the Internet and the illusion of productivity that hides procrastination.  We will “work on solving the problem”.  We are professionals after all.  It’s just that “working on it” takes on a new meaning like 
  • refining our search terms
  • asking colleagues how they solved similar problems
  • or, distracting ourselves with a new problem until someone else solves the first problem – thus, this blog entry 🙂

Written by curtismitchell

December 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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