Seeing the Forest for the Trees, or, Seeing the Trees for the Forest
When I was younger, I used to paint quite a bit. There were many times when I would be gritting my teeth, feeling the tension in my neck, frustrated at being unable to get something just right or not being able to see what I was missing. I would have to walk away for a couple of hours, days, weeks, or months (in the case of the one behind my bed, years). When I would come back and look at it with a fresh mind, it was so easy to see what was wrong. Bad proportions, not enough shadow, need for detail in more areas, whatever. But I would pretty much always be able to see it the instant I set eyes on it when I came back to it.
This system that we’ve been building since June is in a very intense phase of testing, and there have been times when I spent a full day beating it up. I wouldn’t be able to see anything new at all, but would know the system was not bug-free. Intensely frustrated, I refused to give up because of the time limit imposed.
This was the wrong decision.
By taking just a few minutes and walking away, I was able to come back a little more clear-headed and calm and get a fresh eye on things. It can be the same way when you are writing user stories; you think about something for so long that you feel like you have everything, then when you go to put it on the board you see that a piece of acceptance criteria is blatantly missing. Or when you’re developing something and you miss something really obvious because you’re so mired in the details.
This could be a post promoting pomodoro, it could be promoting an iterative process, I don’t really know what it is. I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes you need to make sure that when you’re creating something, it’s good to step away and come back with a fresh eye.
Take 5 and get a little brain massage and come back to it; “wasting” five minutes to recharge/reset your brain is better than thrashing for an hour and ending up completely frustrated and with holes in your project.