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real life cardboard programmer

real life cardboard programmer

April 30th, 2008 · No Comments ·

A common method used to get unstuck from a technical problem involves invoking a Cardboard Programmer. This involves talking through the problem with a willing co-worker (or simply a cardboard stand-in). More often than not, simply framing the problem without previous assumptions will help you arrive at the solution. In a modern version of the same thing, you could simply compose an email to yourself describing the problem.

There is a caveat to all of this, though. I have found, that this technique is much more effective, if you actually have a real person in mind when framing the problem. So, if you are composing an email, try to address it to someone that could actually help you figure out the solution. Or better, write your email so that you could post it on a relevant discussion group or forum. This ensures that you are not making any assumptions about your target audience, which will often force you to address things you took for granted. And hey - what do you know - your problem was in fact based on a previously unquestioned assumption.

And the best part? If you still can’t work out the solution, you can always hit “Send”, and turn to the collective wisdom of the hive mind.

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