Originally posted: 2022-11-11. View source code for this page here.

I've got a bad habit of using this phrase. Every time I find myself about to use it, I try to catch myself.

Rephrasing the question to 'have you considered' makes it less abrasive, but the real value is that it usually reveals an opportunity to bridge a gap of understanding. If it was really so simple, the person would have probably 'just' done it already. So it's good to explore why they haven't.

There are usually two outcomes:

  • The problem is deeper than it first appears - so the 'obvious' solution does not work. It's then an opportunity to explore and learn about the problem.

  • If there really is an 'simple' solution, then it's worth considering why the person didn't try it already. It's often that the the task is not clear enough, or too much knowledge has been assumed. So this is also an opportunity to improve.