Asking questions to move forward
If there is one thing I have learned from working in software, it is that you are responsible for moving yourself forward. No one is going to go out of their way to make sure you move forward. The best way to move yourself ahead is to ask questions. That sounds counter intuitive, but it actually does work. Here’s some quick reasons why:
- You get an answer about something you didn’t know
- It shows people you are thinking about the problem
- Others probably had the same question
- Even if others didn’t have the question, you are all now on the same page
A great team only accomplishes great things when they work together. By asking a question you bring yourself and everyone else closer together. The answer to the question will make sure that everyone is in agreement.
A perfect example of this is a question I once asked during a stand up meeting. Everyone thought they knew the answer, but when I asked about it, our boss gave an expected answer. This caused everyone to start asking for more details. Long story short, it turned out that everyone was working on the problem with a slightly different goal in mind. By asking the question a conversation was had and as a result we all managed to get pointed in the right direction.
Questions also help build your knowledge. More than once I’ve discovered that I didn’t understand something as well as others (or myself) thought I did. The times where I’ve kept quiet and tried to catch up on my own… well, that didn’t work out so well. Raising your hand early in that situation is much better. Most people have no problem answering questions, especially in the beginning of a project. But once things are well underway… It can get a little awkward. But still, ask those questions! Don’t just let the holes in your knowledge sit there and potentially grow bigger. A question is an opportunity for you to grow.