Seeing what sticks – Day 19

I was speaking with a good friend today about my previous blog post, and ended up discussing my general learning style. I thought it would be good to capture some of my thoughts in written form for future reference.

I have very strong beliefs. Glancing over some of my recent blog posts, this is probably obvious to anyone who reads them. Thankfully, my education helped me to understand two things: First, I can't be correct about everything. Second, the best way to learn is either to reason through the problem or to experiment with possible solutions. Typically when approached with a problem, if I have some idea of the answer, then I can ask questions and reason my way to a possible solution. If I have no idea, I try to grasp the context of the question and then start throwing random ideas at it as quickly as possible to see what sticks.

Recently I've picked up Microsoft PowerBI and ended up down the rabbit hole of the M language. I've never used PowerBI before, so I immediately started throwing random things together to see what worked and then searching the internet whenever I ran into an error that I didn't understand. Because of this (and my background in web design and backend programming), I was able to gain a lot of knowledge very rapidly.

Another example is when I join a new team, rather than spending time talking with my fellow teammates (I admit, this is a shortcoming), I instead grab a task from the backlog and see how they react when I deliver it. Did they think I went too slow? Did I skip a process step? Was there an assumed requirement on my side or theirs? Was one team member very happy/angry about how the story was delivered?

Typically I only have to fail a few times during this period of "throwing things at the wall" before I hit upon the expected process or mental model needed to keep working. I also tend to build a very in-depth knowledge of a complex system because I'm always finding new ways to provoke and observe it. Sometimes I find some information that appears to contradict one of my strong beliefs. I then have to reason out if they contradict, how they contradict, and which is more correct.

What I'm really bad at is writing down the knowledge and the reasoning process behind it. Hopefully, this post and future blog posts will help fix that.

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