Thank you, especially for pointing out the 'XY Problem'. I think I hinted at it but it's important to be clear: Asking about the solution to your problem rather than the problem you are having can lead to a lot of wasted time. The solution may be solved but the original purpose — 'your actual problem' will remain unsolved. I do think there is value in learning and solving for Y as long as it's always paired with X from the beginning. Especially in the context of asking questions on PerlMonks and such.
You will be especially prone to this if your natural way of tackling a problem is to quickly latch-on to the first approach that you think of, and to then pursue that one approach with relentless vigor, not discarding it until you prove to yourself that it simply cannot be made to work. (If you think that I am describing myself, I am, indeed.)
I think I take this for granted coming from graphic design. I've been creating many many versions on an assignment since I was 19 so it's just a given to do that. It's probably not exactly practical to create 3 to 5 versions of a program to present to a client. (I've never been asked to present 3 -5 versions of my html — most clients don't want to look under the hood). For a specific 'bullet point' I would definitely explore a few different possibilities. The trick is knowing when to stop and say "I've explored the problem enough now lets pick a couple and carry them through to see which will work best." Again, my experience in an IT department is limited so I wouldn't know if that's reasonable practice.
"...the adversities born of well-placed thoughts should be considered mercies rather than misfortunes." — Don Quixote