Explain it to an idiot

Today's tip comes to us "anonymously." I think they are just nerviuos about the title.

When someone's stuck, you can sometimes help get them unstuck by having them walk you through the problem. But the trick is, you need them to treat you like an idiot. Or, like fellow tester Jason Horn sometimes says, "Talk to me like I'm a five-year old."

By walking someone through a problem one step at a time, without using the jargon or glossing over some technology or process, the person explaining often gets a fresh look at the problem. When we gloss over technology and process (which most of us do all the time when we problem solve), we miss some of the critical bits that can help us solve our problem. Just the simple act of explaining it to someone else can give us the insight we need.