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The 10x Engineer

In software circles, there’s a lot of talk about the “10x Engineer”. This legendary engineer, however, doesn’t appear to have a standard definition.

Some claim she can solve any problem thrown her way.

Some claim he is the only one who can truly make software reach it’s performance potential.

Others claim they simply can just churn out far more than anyone else.

As per usual, I have my own thoughts… a 10x engineer is simply an engineer is someone who brings 10 times the value of what they cost.

Does the engineer:

  • understand business efforts, and efficiently finds solutions that allows those efforts to happen as soon as possible?
  • actively find ways to make the development processes more effective?
  • build the skill set of the rest of the team?

Or, does the engineer:

  • pursue what they believe is best, ignoring business and team needs?
  • act as a “hero”, moving from fire to fire without ever sharing the knowledge with the rest of the team as to how to put those fires out?
  • focuses on individual contributions at the expense of the rest of the team?

The second may produce 10 times as much code as the first. Yet, I’d choose the first every time. The first’s efforts will cause the organization as a whole to become exponentially more effective as time goes on.

That’s fine and dandy, but how does that relate to you?

It’s simple… ask yourself:

  • How do I 10x the value to my customers?
  • What are the hidden costs to my customers?
  • How can I decrease those costs, and further increase the value?

Know your customer’s needs. Know their pains. Be the smoothest bridge they’ve seen.


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