October 08, 20212 min read

Empathy Driven Engineering

Ship 30

Software engineers are problem solvers to the core.

Scouring documentation, scimming source code, pair programming with a peer. We love to dig deep into problems.

Food for thought - whose problem is being solved?

Typically not our own.

Unless you're an indie developer bootstrapping your own SaaS company, you're working for a medium to large corporation developing their software.

I've struggled with this in the past, grappling with a solution and thinking "this is not my problem I'm solving".

Leverage empathy as a vehicle towards motivation

A small mindset adjustment when implementing solutions or squashing bugs can make a world of difference.

When you can put yourself in another person's shoes, it becomes clear that what you're truly working towards is -

  • Helping them achieve their goals

  • Decreasing the amount of friction in their workflows

  • Enabling them for success in their career

How can I employ empathy in my work?

This question is a perfect example of problem solving for people, rather than software. 

Here are some of the things I do to employ empathy in my daily routine.

Ask questions

People are complex, and often times misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Asking the right questions can be a powerful way to relate and gain a better understanding of the problem at hand.

Drop your biases

Allow yourself to be of open mind when approaching someone else's problem.

You'll unlock a deeper level of understanding and hopefully connect in a way that makes the other person feel validated.

Change your perspective

Put yourself in their shoes. Force yourself to see the problem from where the other person is coming from.

This could lead to you implementing a solution in a way you hadn't previously thought about.