What to do when you can’t develop a feature? – Even the oldest developers can experience the writer’s block.

The day will come when we don’t know how to solve that feature and we get bogged down for hours and hours or worse for many days, but are we sure it’s impossible to carry it out?

Wait a night

The first useful thing to do when you get stuck is to rest. Getting bogged down and thinking how to give it a solution could only make things worse. Rest and face the problem in a fresh mind the following morning.

How to understand you have a problem

The first step consists in understanding you have a problem, that’s the most difficult thing to do.

Perhaps we have chosen what we considered the right path, instead we are not getting any useful result when we are so close to the end that “I cannot start again”.

If you are in this situation, try to understand what you really did. Maybe, you still are at the beginning and you can easily start again, or you’ll find out that what stops you is a minor feature, so you’ll understand if it is actually worth developing it.

As development time increases, costs and customers may not be interested in that feature if its cost gets higher. Always remember that! 

Accept the problem

Often and willingly driven by pride or fear of not being able to maintain expectations we are led to be stubborn and lose all cognition of time.

Don’t forget we are people and as such we can experience blocks or not know how to solve a problem.

Getting bogged down is a great way to waste time, money and mental health. Once we realize we have a problem we should do everything to try to chop ourselves free and move forward.

The rubber duck

Talk about your problem with someone or, if you really don’t have anyone to talk to, spread it out to a rubber duck, then. 

Although it may seem like a shaky idea, the rubber duck technique is very useful: your problem will stop being just in your mind.

Finding and listening to your words instead of thinking them might make things clearer.

In addition, when you don’t use the rubber duck it will be an excellent companion desk: nice, quiet and always available.

What to do when you can’t develop a feature? Look for other ways

Sometimes, changing everything could be the easiest thing. Maybe we realize that after a while the data structure we weighed is not the best, so what to do?

Let’s look for alternatives, let’s think if there can be an easier way and in case of difficulties let’s see if some Design Pattern can be more helpful, maybe it will take only 2 hours of study to get the job done.

No hope

You’ve tried everything but you just can’t overcome the block, what to do?

Try to talk to the clients to resize the job, maybe you’re just getting more problems than needed and a talk to the customer could improve things.