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Pavel Polívka
Pavel Polívka

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Do not be afraid to ask questions

This is the tweet that got me to think. When is it ok to ask questions? The best advice I got when I was starting my developer career was “Ask questions!”.

This applies to everything. If you are at the meeting and somebody talks about a topic you have no idea what even means, ask them. Otherwise what is the point of you sitting in the meeting. If you are stuck on a problem, chances are people in your team already dealt with something like that. What is a point of doing week of research to find answer to that particular Spring framework oddity? One of the answers to that tweet was this:

During my career I found out a lot of people have this mind-set.

To stay polite? What is impolite about asking a question? Most tech people I ever met would happily answer any questions I ever had. Most people love teaching others, figuring out hard puzzles. The whole idea of extreme programming/pair programming is to have multiple people to talk over the issue. If the person you ask do not have time they will simply tell you. Maybe they will direct you to somebody else. Changes of them feeling like you were impolite are really slim.

Exhaust all resources? What does that even mean? Should I go over all the google result pages? Read the documentation of the whole framework? Step by step debug all the framework code? What if the solution is really simple and I am just overlooking it? What if the second pair of eyes would solve this in 30 seconds? I just spent 5 days googling instead of five-minute long human interaction.

If you are working in a team, your teammates are there to support you. They will most likely never say no to a questions. As you should never say no to them. Sure you should spend some time on research before you ask, but do not overdo it.

A lot of people are afraid to ask, that it will make them look stupid. But who is the stupid one? The person whole spent an hour on a meeting without knowing what was the actual topic of the meeting? Or the one that asks?

You can follow me on Twitter to see all my thoughts like this one.

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