Impeccable Engineering

In the current age of bureaucracy, busywork and unfulfilling jobs, you may occasionally find yourself seeking for a deeper meaning in your work. Why am I doing this again? Some resort to job jumping in the hopes of greener pastures, some may even contemplate changing their profession altogether. While these may well be the right choices in some circumstances, there is another option that is often not recognized: focusing on the impeccability of your own work may be the path towards contentment. As we are an engineering company, let’s call this the Impeccable Engineering method.

Okay, so what is Impeccable Engineering all about? It is essentially a universally applicable way of thinking in which the quality of your own work is at focus. After all, you are most intimately in control over your own actions. Impeccability is not about showing off, but to feel better about oneself by knowing one did the best one could. Imagine you were the only person left in the world. With no boss and no audience, you should still be doing impeccable work so that you may be content with your actions. Praise, reverence and a higher paycheck may come as a side-effect, but they should never be the main goal.

Impeccability is not about showing off, but to feel better about oneself by knowing one did the best one could. Take time to learn the subject matter deeply and mind the little details. 

Impeccable Engineering is about taking the time to learn the subject matter deeply – whatever you may be working on. It is about minding the little details, because a whole is always a sum of it’s parts. If some of the parts are lousy, it does not instill great confidence in the whole either. It is about ensuring the puzzle pieces in the big picture fit together seamlessly, as everything is connected and any work product is useless in isolation. It is about choosing elegance over kludges. It is about keeping things simple, and the ability to say no when need be. It is about caring about your own handiwork.

Impeccable Engineering is a good way to practice the art of concentration, as well as to engage in deep learning and self-discipline. These are all inherently satisfying in and of themselves once you get the hang of them. They are skills that enable you to develop yourself and to better navigate through daily work. In the process, you may inspire your colleagues and if you are lucky, perhaps even end up improving the work practices of the entire company.

While Impeccable Engineering always starts from within, it must be stated that it is not about isolating oneself from others. On the contrary, you should be open and share your work, so that others can learn from you and you can in turn learn from others. True impeccability can rarely be achieved alone – team work is needed for a polished end result.

In addition to improving your own job satisfaction, Impeccable Engineering has a positive effect on the whole organization. In a corporate setting quality is often approached as an objective science: how many bugs were fixed in the previous release? Are static analysis tools used to enforce coding guidelines? Is our system testing coverage high enough? All of these points and many more are undeniably important, and having strong quality assurance processes will improve the quality of your products in the long run. However, in the end, these are mere safety nets and alone not enough. If half-assmanship on individual level is the norm, no safety net is tight enough to turn a bad product into a great one.

By doing impeccable work you simply cannot go wrong.

Mika Reinikainen, MCU Team Lead at Link Motion, is a versatile software guy with 15 years of professional experience from coding to program management. He is profoundly interested in the twilight zone between software and hardware as well as the interface of minds and machines and crafting things to bridge the gap between them. His pet peeve is sloppy quality everywhere around from misaligned floor trims to barely usable car UIs and he keeps grumbling about it to his audience which mostly consists of a scrubby indoor cactus.