rubber duck

Rubber ducking

Do you have a rubber duck?  You should have..

When I was a graduate trainee in IT a kindly wise owl contractor recommended a book called The Pragmatic Programmer. It’s a superb and very accessible book that helped me make sense of my learning journey at the time.

The authors suggested a technique, coined by Greg Pugh, called rubber ducking, “Place a rubber duck on your monitor and describe your problems to it. There’s something magical about stating your problems aloud that makes the solution more clear.”

“Not so great for open plan offices” you say? My boss suggested that talking to inanimate objects in public wasn’t a great advert for my sanity and offered to be my rubber duck. I would explain a problem that I was having and she would look at me and nod. Rarely would she actually have to say anything and I would, without fail, interrupt myself before finishing the explanation having worked out the solution. Magic!

At the start of the MBA, we were encouraged to keep a personal learning journal to record and make sense of our experiences. A sort of paper rubber duck. I’ve been slack and only done this roughly once a month so far.

Henley’s excellent personal development workshops always re-ignite the desire and recognition of the importance of reflection but my self-discipline has been lacking. I’m determined to make and embed changes before my time at Henley is over so am resorting to an old friend, the public promise, to keep me on track:  I will add a minimum of one blog post a week for the next 12 months.

(Crap! I’ve said it out loud now. I’ll have to do it…)

I hope you don’t mind being my rubber ducks. I’d be very grateful if you could nod gently from time to time but sitting there quietly is fine too.

 

Published by

RobTatman

Rob is a consultant, technologist, facilitator and outdoorsman. He lives with his wife in Henley-on-Thames.

One thought on “Rubber ducking”

  1. wise words this happens to me all the time where you think you need help, start describing the problem and through the process of trying to make the problem clear to the person you believe you will be getting help from, you make the problem clearer to yourself which often presents you with the answer. Never really thought about it like this before.

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