How I unblock myself as a developer?

It happens to all of us, we get stuck on a problem.


As a software developer it’s only natural that there are times where I’m blocked, when I can’t think of what to do with my current work. When that happens, I still get the feeling of anxiousness and anxiety but I’ve found a few things that I do that help me and hopefully, others as well!

Things i do to unblock myself

First, BREATHE holy cow I don’t know if it’s just because it’s my first year but when I feel blocked, I feel like I’m taking too long on a task. What I do to combat that is to take a few deep breaths and write down a battle plan of how to get myself unblocked. There are a few questions that I like to ask myself:

-Is it that I don’t understand the infrastructure and need more clarity about how everything works together? If that’s the case, I’ll ping my manager to get clarity!

-Is it that I don’t understand what work is required from the card? I will ping the PM to make sure I’m on the same page as them in terms of what they want to see by the time the card is completed.

-Is it a bug card and I have no idea where to start? If I have 100% no idea of where to add logs then I’ll rally the team to see where they think the bug may lie and why it might be in a certain area of the app.

-Did I write code but end up creating a bug with it? I’ll add logs throughout my code to make sure I’m getting what I expect at every part of the code, and if I get something unexpected, check that function or method to make sure it receives and returns what I think it should receive and return.

The most important part is finding where I’m stuck and why I’m stuck. It helps sometimes to write down what’s happening vs what I expect to happen.


In the end I end up pairing often with my team and manager whenever the blocker is big enough, but I think it’s better to fail fast, pair and learn than to sit on a card and not make any progress. Of course my idea of unblocking myself could change as I progress as a software developer, but this is where I am at the moment whenever I feel a bit blocked. I hope this helps someone else who may be blocked on a problem!