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Jag Reehals thinking on things, mostly product development

Data-Driven vs Assumptions : Why Engineers Should Take a Doctor's Approach

10 Feb 2023

Engineers are responsible for designing and building complex systems that are expected to perform optimally under different conditions. However, without a deep understanding of how these systems behave, they risk making assumptions that can result in inefficiencies or even system failures.

In this post, we'll discuss why understanding a system like a doctor helping a patient is essential for engineers and by taking a proactive and data-driven approach, engineers can ensure that their systems are performing optimally and can make informed decisions that result in improved performance and reliability.

doctor talking to patient

Photo by Zach Vessels

Just like a doctor diagnosing a patient, engineers must take a proactive approach to understand the behaviour of their systems. This can involve various techniques such as logging, tracing, and metrics collection. By collecting this information, engineers can gain insight into the performance and behaviour of their systems, reducing the number of assumptions and unknowns.

For example, if an engineer notices that a system is running slow, they may assume that it is due to a lack of computing resources. However, upon further investigation through logging and tracing, they may discover that the slow performance is actually due to a bottleneck in the network or an issue with the database.

By taking a logging, tracing, and metrics approach, engineers can avoid making incorrect assumptions and make data-driven decisions that result in more effective and efficient systems. In addition, they can identify and resolve performance bottlenecks, detect and debug errors, and monitor system behaviour over time.

In the next post we'll discuss why this is essential for engineers to be able to give accurate estimations.

agile engineering logging metrics observability tracing