Work is a enormous and central part of our lives, and so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I do professionally and what matters to me when I do it. Every day, these principles direct my interactions and the choices I make.
People Matter Most
While software development is usually something that happens in a commercial space, centered around businesses and revenue projections and market assessments, it’s people that do the work of making it happen. They have human desires and anxieties, and they have personal priorities that may not always align with an idealized model of business.
I think of my work as an effort to help people trying to acheive some goal for thier business. They have dreams about what success might accomplish and fears about where failure may lead. In the short term, I try to help them pursue the dream and allay the fear, but my long-term vision is about developing a relationship where we share mutual trust and admiration so that we’re eager to work together on the next goal as well.
Aim For Effective, Not Ideal
Risk and compromise are always present and perfection isn’t possible. My goal is to identify risk and inform compromise so that decisions make constant forward progress.
For many people with a traditional engineering mindset, it can be easy to sweat over imperfections and spin around in circles trying to do everything the ideal way. But dwelling too long on this road can lead to analysis paralysis, overengineering, fragile constructions, and grossly missed deadlines. Rather than fixating on the ideal product, the goal should be to find the ideal, collaborative compromise between cost, schedule, flexibility, and durability.
Use Plain Language
Buzzwords and jargon alienate outsiders. Rather than alienate, I strive to integrate people by using everyday language and translating industry concepts into accessible descriptions. You can’t make decisions if you can’t understand the choices.
Be Helpful And Honest
Being supportive and accomodating inevitably pays off in the long run. I’d rather help people than sell things to them. I work to build honest, constructive relationships that focus on long-term trust.
Context Informs Choices
There are a dozen roads from here to there. Choosing the best one requires an eye towards all the factors: the individuals, the costs, the risks, the rewards. I prioritize understanding the real-world big picture over following some princple etched into a textbook.