In praise of constraints

A mountain road winding between snowed-over trees.

Photo by Kimon Maritz on Unsplash

It is so much easier to work within a constraint. It doesn’t matter if it is a pattern for a scarf you’re knitting, a product spec for the software you’re building, or a prompt for the piece you’re writing.

I’ve heard the confused argument that, since autonomy is one of the core components of motivation, the fewer constraints you give your team or your employees, the better. That is, of course, bullshit.

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Photo by Alexander Possingham on Unsplash During the first couple of years of my career, I was preoccupied with “doing enough work”. I was afraid that if I didn’t produce working code fast enough, I would be found to be insufficient, lacking “what it takes” or, worse, lazy. I would come to the office on Saturdays and Sundays to put in some extra hours. It felt good.

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Ana Ulin

Working to be a better human every day. Steward of engineering teams. I see you.