The Developer who did Everything Right

A koan about the unobvious path to getting work done.

A developer consulting a Zen Buddhist master
A developer consulting a Master. Image generated with AI by DALL-E.

A developer came to see a Master, and said: “Master, I am working hard, but nothing seems to be coming out of my hands.”

“Tell me what a day looks like,” said the Master.

“Well, I’m part of this group, and we’re having these meetings every day where we talk about what we’ve done, what we’re about to do, and if anything is holding us back. Then we move on to talk about our plans and priorities for the next few months. Then we have these meetings where we plan our work for the next month in detail, defining and assigning tasks, and estimating how much time each task is going to take. Then we have these meetings where we look back on our progress of the last month, and measure how much progress we’ve made, and compare it to the progress we’ve made in the month before. And then we have these meetings in which we review how we are working together, and we come up with ideas for improvement, and then we have other meetings in which we actually work on those improvements.”

“That sounds comprehensive,” said the Master.

“But Master, we haven’t got any time left to work. What are we doing wrong?”

“Nothing”, said the Master.

At that moment, the developer was Enlightened.

Next post

This post is part of a series. Continue to the The Way to Heaven is Paved with Thoughtful Questions.

Stay informed of new posts?

Sign up below and you will receive a weekly digest of new posts.

If you change your mind, you can unsubscribe at any time. You will not be spammed, and we will keep your email address private.

Article index