70% of my job is Social Engineering

time to read 2 min | 242 words

It has been over a year since the last time that I actually shipped software for production. As the NH Prof beta shipping has reminded me, this is not a trivial task. Actually, we had relatively few problems with NH Prof itself, it was with the web site that I run into a few teething issues. I am afraid that I treated the site as an afterthought at first.

Anyway, that made me reflect a bit over the last year. I discovered a very surprising truth. Most of what I do recently is not strictly technical. Oh, there is a heavy technical side for everything that I am doing, but a lot of that is simply social engineering within that context. Even my approach for API design or building a particular user experience are affected by this.

On my business card, I have a big sign saying: "Zero Friction Maintenance". That isn't something that require a technical skill, this is something that require social manipulation skills. Friction is a people problem, not a technical problem.

I am going to start a new series of post about social engineering in software development. Here is the initial topic list:

  • Initiating Actions
  • Delivering Confidence
  • Gliding on the path of least resistance
  • Walking on the Path of Success
  • Failure Motivation

I probably should point out that what I consider social engineering might be considered by others as PR, politicking or playing with team dynamics.