Just ask!

Our team is working on an epic to provide some new features in both our product’s UI and our API. Today, I tested a delivered user story for the API. When I add things to our product via the API, I like to check them out in the UI. The basics of the story worked, but I was a bit confused by what I saw in the UI, so I walked over and asked a pair of programmers who were working on that epic.  “I expected to see X, but instead I see Y”.

One of the developers who’s done a lot of work on the epic explained the subtleties to me. He suggested a different scenario to try, and told me what he thought should happen. Bingo! When I tried his scenario, I found a couple of big ugly errors. We’d missed a corner of behavior, and it’s a big corner that will need to be fixed.

The behavior I had seen in the UI, that prompted me to go ask a question, turned out to be normal. But asking the question led me to find a big hole.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even if what you’re seeing now is correct, your questions may lead you to uncover parts of the implementation that were missed or done incorrectly. Ideally, we’d think to ask these questions before coding is even done. But as happens all too often, I didn’t have the bandwidth to get involved in the planning of this feature so that I could ask the question earlier. Better late than never. Follow your curiosity, and be alert to your Spidey sense!


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