Going the extra mile

This post was written by Ngụy Đức Thuận (NDT), team leader of Safewhere team.

I love learning and improving myself as well as helping everyone in my team improve themselves. The key to do that, I believe, is very simple yet hard to apply: going the extra mile in everything we do at work.

Why going the extra mile

Don’t we always learn something when we do something? Well, not really. In my experience, doing something doesn’t immediately mean I have acquired the knowledge or have turned it into skills. A typical example of mine is regular expression. I have had to write or fix regular expressions many times but I forget everything I read while working with them right after I finished my tasks. I would say that when doing such a task I only acquire the information I need to get it done but not turning that information into knowledge.

data - information - knowledge - wisdom

On the contrary, there are plenty of other occasions that I was able to turn something I did for my daily job into real knowledge. What made the difference is that I went the extra mile after I finished with it for the job: writing a blog post, doing extra research, doing retrospective, discussing with my peers, doing presentation, training my team. Those extra steps are of great help to expand my understanding and reinforce all the knowledge in my brain.

Maybe some examples can help explain my points:

  • A few days ago I explained to a developer that a method of a base class is bad because it needs to know all the sub classes. His extra mile would be to research for how to refactor it and propose it to me.
  • Another developer had some problems with iframe and the new samesite cookie setting. What is better than a blog post or a presentation about it to the whole company?
  • In the same day, another one had a few words with me about how to display a set of options on a UI. We talked about two approaches that both have pros and cons. I don’t know which one he chose after that but I would love to see a post from him about choices we have for such a use case, what else the other great UX websites are doing, pros and cons of each, and which one we should choose. That would give his front end skill a real boost.

Continuous learning

Learning from what we do daily and going the extra mile also embrace another key of learning that I believe in: learning one small thing at a time consistently can make a huge end result. Or to state it another way: I don’t need to sit down and make a bold statement such as “I will spend 80 hours this month to learn this thing”. Instead, all I need may be just being a little bit better than my yesterday self.

-Nguy Duc Thuan-