The perks of asking for help on time
This week I have learned a lot, I will start by saying that in the project where I work, I was put together with other colleagues the task of developing an implementation of an accounting program called “ledger”, the above as part of an experiment called “breakable toy”.
A breakable toy is an exercise where certain aspects of a person are developed in a safe environment, where they can break anything that in a regular work environment would be complicated since failure or breaking something would create serious consequences.
Something important to highlight about this type of exercise is that here you can feel comfortable with the idea of ”failure” and see what’s happening in the process of developing something when you are exempt from the unhelpful consequences that accompany a project where there is usually pressure to complete a task smoothly in time.
Once the concept of what a “breakable toy” is established, I can tell you that my greatest learning at this stage has been to realize the communication problems that I have. I consider starting with a brief investigation about the various methods with I can achieve the application scope, once I finished this, along with a brief review of basic concepts such as accounting entries, account records, and others, I found a big problem and that is that when performing a task that I have performed many times in the past with my computer, I realized that it did not allow me to complete it properly, this bothered me a lot since I felt it was something very easy and seeing that I was in a mistake made me doubt my abilities, If I had asked for help on time, it would have saved me a lot of time and efforts, since this error was due to recently installed software on the computers of the company in which I collaborate. The objective of this software is to keep the information we work with within the company safe, that is why sometimes it does not allow us to download certain files from the internet because it considers them malicious or unreliable. As I had no idea about this and following my ego which dictated that I could solve this since surely the error was in configuration settings, I threw myself into trying to correct the settings of the programs I was working with.
The result of this was that in addition to not being able to solve the problem on my own, I lost valuable time that I could have used to explore the possible solutions that I had in mind.
After an hour and a half, I remembered the advice of a friend who says “if you are stuck in a problem for more than an hour, ask for help” as soon as I mentioned my problem to my two mentors, they quickly asked me if I had recently installed the program of which I have spoken previously when confirming this idea, they told me to go to the staff in charge of this area and ask them for their help, dear reader I am not lying to you, in a total of 15 minutes my problem had been solved, the difference between asking for help and leaving you guiding by your ego is remarkable.
Eventually, this error led to many problems since I was quite late and all the doubts that arose had already been asked beforehand by my colleagues to our project leaders.
This is where the second most important thing that I learned in the week comes from and that is to always give your status even if it is repetitive, and I didn’t do it because I felt that I was going to ask questions that had already been resolved previously, the problem is that the project leaders had no way of knowing that I was in the same situation as some stuck colleagues, all because I did not tell them because I considered that I would repeat information, which is true, but if I had done it, the project leaders would have a much more context of my situation.
In the end, I could not deliver the project. Just as the name of the experiment mentions, I broke the toy in an ugly way, but I want to stay with the positive side of this experience which is, thanks to this I was able to realize my opportunity areas in terms of communication and now I have identified the best way to communicate my status, I will use direct communication channels with my colleagues and project leaders in order to make the blocking times as short as possible.
By asking on-time questions, we can save a lot of time that will ultimately be spent on more relevant and enriching things for the work being done