In my day job as a software tester I spend a lot of time examining and solving problems. I have a very simple heuristic for identifying when I may not understand the problem at hand.
"This should be easy." - me, right before something explodes.
As soon as I say or think that I reflexively take a step back and re-examine the problem. It typically means one of three things.
- I haven't thought about the problem long enough and don't understand the scope of it.
- I don't have enough domain expertise to recognize the pitfalls.
- It is actually simple.
It is rarely, if ever, the third option.
This is one of those small things that I’m glad I’ve verbalized. It wasn’t until I took that time to sort it out and express it that I was able to move it from software testing to other parts of my life. It comes in handy when it comes to pretty much every creative endeavour that ends up on my plate.
We’ve got a location, a crew, and equipment. This should be easy.
Yeah, until we get in there with the camera and the audio equipment to make sure there isn’t anything funky going on. Then we find out there’s some weird lighting and some of the angles we wanted aren’t going to work. Oh, and there’s some weird hum going on in the electrical that everyone was completely deaf to.
I’ve got an outline and I know what I want to do. This should be easy.
Until I get through the first thirty pages and realize that it’s a completely different story than I’d planned out. Or perhaps, while I have the plot points, I’m missing the context and the underlying content. That basic outline sure is great until I get to a scene that I have no idea how to get into or out of.
That little voice that says, “This should be easy,” tells you a lot more than intended. I should listen to it more often.