We do the hard work. That’s why they pay us.

My 6th mantra has nothing to do with getting paid. It has everything to do with how we make choices and decisions. Particularly how we don’t make choices.

If you’re in software development, the playground where I’ve spent the last twenty years honing these mantras, you have likely been in a situation where you can write the code to solve a problem in one of two ways.

The first way is easy and fast. And it does most (if not all) of the work.

The second way is hard and long. Costs more. And you’re not even sure it will work.

That’s when you realize that you’re tempted to pick the first approach.

We get tempted because it feels like it will get the job done. But upon closer inspection, we’ve confused who is doing the work. Often it’s a customer or partner left having to do something.

You see, what we’ve done is shrink the scope. And as we’ve done it, we’ve said – this part is mine and that part is yours. And in doing so, we’ve eliminated the parts we don’t understand, making it easier and faster.

The easy way is often an approach that puts the onus on the client to do something, or to solve something, or to have something perfectly ready for us.

The hard way is often an approach that challenges us to figure out new things, to take ugly and complicated things and make them more clear. It’s much harder.

And that’s when I end up highlighting, especially to a group of engineers, that we’ve not been hired to do the simple stuff. Anyone can do that. We’ve been hired to do the hard stuff.

It’s why they pay us.

[tweet “We do the hard work. That’s why they pay us.”]