Overthinking defines you as a solutions-finder engineer or a problem-spotter one

ยท 3 min read
Overthinking defines you as a solutions-finder engineer or a problem-spotter one

Overthinking can impact software engineers' ability to solve problems and make decisions effectively. Based on their approach to overthinking, software engineers can be roughly divided into two categories: those who can find their way toward solutions and those who get stuck on problems.

# Solution-finders Engineers

These engineers are typically able to manage their overthinking tendencies by using them to identify potential risks, explore multiple solutions, and consider various perspectives. They maintain a balance between critical thinking and creative problem-solving.

As a result, they can effectively:

  • Understand business and technical priorities and work in a structured way
  • Design their solution first before jumping to their IDE
  • Break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable components
  • Work in deep focus time without losing their time dealing with irrelevant tasks of low value
  • Make the right questions till they find the right answers
  • Anticipate potential issues and proactively address them
  • Embrace different perspectives and collaborate well with others to come up with a solution together
  • Suppress their inner need for perfection till they create a proof of concept first
  • Keep notes that will be useful for their future self
  • Learn from previous experiences and avoid making the same mistakes
  • Deal with failed attempts since they understand that these are part of the solution

# Problem-spotters Engineers

On the other hand, some engineers may struggle with overthinking, leading them to become paralyzed by indecision and unable to move forward. These engineers might:

  • Deal with many problems at the same time in parallel without making any meaningful progress with any of them
  • Lose their focus dealing with things irrelevant to their goal
  • Get bogged down by analysis paralysis, where they analyze every possible scenario and outcome, but fail to make a decision or take action
  • Be overly critical of their work, resulting in excessive time spent on perfecting tasks, leading to project delays or missed deadlines
  • Struggle with imposter syndrome, doubting their abilities and hesitating to share their ideas or solutions
  • Have difficulty delegating tasks or trusting others' opinions, leading to bottlenecks in the development process
  • Work in a chaotic way without having a plan or following patterns and learnings gathered from previous experiences of theirs
  • Be unable to get over failed attempts so they get demotivated hugely every time this happens

To minimize the negative effects of overthinking, engineers should focus on developing strategies to manage their thought processes, such as designing first a solution on a paper, working in a structured way, setting time limits for decision-making, prioritizing tasks, splitting problems and solutions into smaller steps, keeping notes, fighting procrastination and seeking input from colleagues.

They can also benefit from adopting Agile methodologies, which promote iterative development, adaptability, continuous learning and above all great teamwork.

Splitting a problem into small meaningful steps or even collaborate closely with a more experienced teammate can be a great strategy to get unstuck. Cheers!!

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