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When we go to work we want to create value. As a developer it’s easy to get the feeling that the code we create is the value. After all, the more intelligent the developer, the quicker one can push out functional and well performing code.

As an engineer you ask how you can measure this value. Like with statistics you can’t easily discern the impact of single pieces of features. Yes, you can see how many people clicked the link. Yes you can see how much time people spent with your feature. But you can’t easily see how much less time people spent with other things. You can also not easily see how much more complex your system became and how many other opportunities you lost as a result of your new code.

So in the end you want to create value, but no one can fully tell you how much your created. You can’t easily create a feedback loop that helps you enforce your useful behavior and clean up the less useful. You have to have an intuition of value.

I think many lack this intuition. I think confusing the creation of code with the creation of value is a prevalent sin among developers. I think organizations would do well to be conscious and humble to the fact that doing one thing right is better than doing ten things half good. I think having this mindset permate the organization is at the root of success, both for company and individual.