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When I was a lone "engineer", I once had an Exchange issue that I couldn't solve - partly because I didn't then know the answer and partly because I was too stretched for resources to devote the time needed to finding the answer. Anyway, my employers agreed that in the short term they'd call a consultant in to help me fix the exchange issue and they'd hire me an assistant. On the day the consultant turned up (he was one we'd used before and I knew quite well) I started explaining the problem to him, and yes, the sheer act of explaining the issue to someone who understood it and needed the technical details caused the probable fault and a solution to pop into my mind. The consultant started laughing when I told him this and claimed he could actually see the lightbulb start glowing over my head even before I told him this. So it works with more than one person, and I guess with the rubber duck if you can bring yourself to explain the problem in proper detail to it. The consultant was still useful; given how little time I had, he spent two days proving my latest theory and then implementing and testing my solution. It was still a two person job anyway and that's something that rubber duck problem solving doesn't help with.
Toggle Commented Mar 20, 2012 on Rubber Duck Problem Solving at Coding Horror
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Mar 20, 2012