It’s a damn good question which should be tightly correlated to your salary in an utopic world. In other words, how do you justify your existence?

Supposed you are doing a new product version (a software, a website, a car, whatever). It can be used internally to your enterprise or sell to client. In the later case, you guess you can look at the sales to see if your work was valuable. You can think the difference in benefits (positive at minimum) is a direct consequence to your work. Considering your salary and other costs, you can compute your ROI. If you don’t sale it, people which will use your new products could be instrumented, i.e. you can see if they improved theirs sales or benefits. Not so easy.

The world doesn’t stop while you are working. Things that can influence your results happens every day. How do you monitor all of them? If your work is only a part of a new software revision, how can you predict what is your influence and what is other’s one?

Dr. Jekyll will try to model external events as a random distribution. If, on the 10 weeks before your product new version, your sales have changed significantly two times (for known or unknown reason), maybe you can say that there is “around” 20% chance that a change between two weeks is subject to an external influence. If sales have changed the week after your launch, there is “around” 80% chances that it’s because of you (whether it’s up or down). The failure of this approach is of course the “around” term. Illusion?

Mr. Hyde is more pragmatic (more human?), data deserve a purpose which is not making him useless. Thus, if sales are up it’s because of him. If not, he find something which could have interfere with your work and blame it. If there is no truth, there is no lies. This way is more frequent, more faster and let you more time to really make something. If your work was based on facts (read data), it should be positive. Does it?

I’m just asking the question, not actually answer it, like humanities (see the comics Price tag on the human soul)

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