Foremost, stop yourself from distractions.
Study your change request, first, as a user of your product. Do not forget that before you were an engineer, you were a user. Read and re-read the objectives and their supporting data, let them marinate with your conception of your product. Open your browser, type in your products URL & immerse yourself, but only with your user mind. Understand the ‘why’ behind your direction. It is of paramount importance to feel sure-footed in the high standing of the task you have been given.
Next, study the change request as an engineer, let your professional training marinate with your knowledge of the application. Immerse yourself into the intersection of the product source code, it’s syntax, it’s architecture, and your ticket. Your engineer mind is now a sponge that is full of water.
Your task is to take the the unknown and build it into the known. You will manifest an idea. Most people have never had such an opportunity to create — Breathe it in.
Ask questions. Doodle. Write down a few ideas. Go for a run. Check twitter. Bike home. Surf Reddit. Have a beer. Spend time with a loved one. Take a nap. Run your mental garbage collection.
When you come back to your engineer mind, it will have spent many cycles on your task. It has done it’s homework, and it will know how to move toward an elegant solution. If it does not, pursue the opportunity to grow your engineer mind — seek out another engineer mind to mentor your solution into elegance.
The beauty of immersion in engineer mind is to escape the trap of consumption that defines all of modern waking life. It is in the opportunity to be present during the chaos of creation. Every feature request is an opportunity to build something for humanity, and the importance of that cannot not be overstated.