November 18, 2020

Busy !== Successful

“My utilization has been over 100% for I don’t know how long”

– Every hourly NetSuite Developer

This is an all-too-common refrain and a sadly ubiquitous measuring stick for developers in our space.

All-too-common because the billable hour is the unjust dictator over far too many subjects. Sad because utilization is almost entirely out of the typical developer’s control.

It’s also not a meaningful metric for growth or success. The amount of hours you put in – and even less so which hours someone else decides whether to charge for – is completely irrelevant to the outcomes of the project, to the knowledge gained from the work, and to any long-term growth of the individual or the business.

What “Hours Worked” and variations thereof are directly relevant to is the health and well-being of the developer (or anyone else measured this way). Spoiler alert: They’re inversely proportional.

Sustained exposure to high doses of utilization will only burn you out, especially if one day it’s an inventory script for an ecommerce client, and the next night it’s an email capture plugin for a bicycle parts reseller, and over the weekend it’s a Suitelet UI for yet another completely custom approval process. Just staying busy and billable without any particular direction doesn’t develop deep expertise, or improve team efficiency, or attract better clients.

Your work needs focus, direction, not more work for work’s sake.

Busy with no direction is Sisyphean.
Busy in all directions is burnout.
Busy in the right direction is growth.

Fine. You’re busy.

Busy in service of what? Make it something you love.


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