Optimizing for Compassion

In an industry plagued by employee burnout, inequality, and ethically questionable products, it’s clear that many of us who work in technology have lost sight of why we’re doing all of this in the first place: to improve people’s lives. The Agile Manifesto guideline of valuing people over processes is a great start, but can we do better?

To create the most effective teams, and to deliver the most value—not just to our customers, but to the community at large—compassion is the key. Compassion adds action to empathy, presenting an optimization problem that asks us to minimize suffering for all of those affected by our work.

Allowing practical compassion to guide our everyday decisions will help us take better care of ourselves, interact more effectively with our coworkers, deliver more value to our customers, and ultimately, focus our efforts on creating a lasting positive social impact.