Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

Senior Mindset Book

Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companies

Senior Engineer Mindset cover
Learn more

    What is the goal of engineering?

    What's the goal of engineering?

    To build and design systems that solve problems!

    Every engineer you ask jumps to that definition. And when you ask "But why?" they're stumped.

    If you don't have a goal beyond the tech, how do you know you're achieving it? πŸ€”

    That's what we dug into in this week's Senior Mindset Mastermind group coaching call. How do you know you're on target, aligned with the business, and not wasting time in areas nobody cares about.

    See the full video and transcript on SeniorMindset.chat πŸ‘‰. Comments welcome :)

    We found 3 areas:

    1. What is the goal?

    My favorite answer to that question comes from a business graphic novel – The Goal

    Each business or initiative can define its own goal. That's the Objective and Key Result (OKR) that drives Empowered teams. We talked about those in an earlier session.

    You can look at your work and ask "Is this getting us towards the OKR?". If the answer is No, you are wasting time.

    2. The core tension of engineering

    Daniel mentioned that he feels a tension between building to his high standards of amazingness and the business objective of shipping. We dug into that.

    It's the main balance engineers have to strike!

    As "real" engineers like to say πŸ‘‰ "Anyone can build a bridge that stands, but it takes an engineer to build a bridge that barely stands". A bridge that's no more expensive than it needs to be.

    Or as I like to say – The Code is not The Goal.

    Err on the side of quality when you're building an asset and on the side of speed when it's an experiment. Ask which situation you're in. Lots of pain when you're building an asset and the business is antsy to test their experiment.

    3. You do have time to build it twice

    If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

    Later. When your business has grown and there's more people, more money, more revenue, more feedback from users.

    Your perfect plan won't survive contact with the user. Best to try fast and see what happens. Fix if it's worth fixing.

    As Mike Tyson, a legendary boxer, would say – "Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the mouth"

    As George Patton, a legendary general, liked to say – "A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."

    Iterate. Iterate. Iterate.

    The first time you're building something there's a 99% chance, you're still figuring out what and how to build. Writers call this "the vomit draft".

    Ship. It's the only way to know whether your solution works. You can fix it later.


    PS: civil engineers can move entire buildings, don't tell me you can't move a few components around 😝

    PPS: Want to improve your senior level thinking? Consider joining the Senior Mindset Mastermind. You get access to the full archive and we meet every 2 weeks

    Published on January 20th, 2022 in Mindset, Business

    Did you enjoy this article?

    Continue reading about What is the goal of engineering?

    Semantically similar articles hand-picked by GPT-4

    Senior Mindset Book

    Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companies

    Learn more

    Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.

    Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.

    Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help πŸ‘‰ swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.

    Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers πŸ‘‰ ServerlessHandbook.dev

    Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

    Want to get my best emails on JavaScript, React, Serverless, Fullstack Web, or Indie Hacking? Check out swizec.com/collections

    Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog

    Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❀️

    Created by Swizec with ❀️