Commit/bullshit ratio

Big companies have all kinds of complicated ways to evaluate engineers. I’m skeptical that this is necessary, even at large scale. But that aside, I like the following simple system that works well and is yet to fail. Assign each engineer a commit/bullshit ratio. Then write off (or ideally fire) everyone whose ratio isn’t high” or very high”. Ignore everything else.

What’s a commit to bullshit ratio?

You already know what a commit is. It’s an object in git identified by a SHA1 hash that leaves the codebase in a more useful state than one before the commit was pushed.

You also intuitively know what bullshit is. It’s delays, bad taste, fighting a lot, being dogmatic, complaining, broken code, laziness, cynicism, activism, pedantry, entitlement. Bullshit is everything that makes your coworkers’ life more of a pain than it needs to be.

Everybody is allowed a little bullshit because if you only allow zero bullshit you can never work with anyone at all. But bullshit must be paid for with commits. The more bullshit you generate, the more commits you need to push. It’s not an exact science, but it doesn’t need to be. Everyone already knows. Think of a coworker and ask yourself– what is their commit to bullshit ratio? The answer probably leaps to mind. Maybe the answer is unusually high”. Or maybe it’s neutral at best”. Whatever it is, you already know.

This system is very easy to use. If you’re an engineer, keep your commit/bullshit ratio as high as possible. If you’re hiring and firing engineers, fire everyone whose ratio is lower than high”.

Mar 20, 2024