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Virtual Visibility

Interestingly, to get the benefit of work visibility, it may not always be necessary for anyone else even to say a word. Most of us have had some experience with one of those perversely elusive bugs. You study the test run and the listing, and you know that the problem is somewhere in one particular block of code, but no matter how many times you walk through that section, you can't find where it blows up. So you bang on the door of the next office and hang-doggedly ask for some help. Charlotte, after all, has a Ph.D. in Computer Science. You start to describe the background of the problem. As you explain the loop to her, something leaps out at you. Before she can say anything, you sigh a quiet “Oh!” then back sheepishly out the door as you mutter thanks. “Any time,” she replies.

The very act of explaining or describing something to someone else seems to alter our thought patterns. I don't know if it is actually necessary to have someone else in the room. Perhaps it is sufficient to imagine you are explaining the problem to someone else, but I suspect it's never quite as good solo.


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