· software-development

Try it and see what happens

Another of the ideas I have picked up from my lean reading is that of trying things out without understanding exactly what is happening.

Or as The Toyota Way puts it…

There are many things one doesn’t understand and therefore, we ask them why don’t you just go ahead and take action; try to do something?

This is an approach which several colleagues I have worked with recently have been encouraging me to follow.

I am generally quite inquisitive and want to understand why something works as well as actually getting it to work, and while I wouldn’t want to encourage not reading the manual, taking this approach is sometimes less effective because it slows down our feedback cycle and, particularly when pairing, can be a less effective way of getting to a solution. Failing early and failing fast is particularly important when pairing, and that is exactly what this approach encourages.

The ‘try it and see’ approach is particularly effective when working with some open source software when the best way to find out how it works is to use it rather than to rely on the documentation which may not be completely up to date anyway.

From my experiences so far I think it works best when we have some sort of direction over what we want to do and how we want to do it. If we don’t have any direction then looking in the manual might be more effective.

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