24 March 2010

Overvaluing Complexity

One of my frequent refrains is that technologists have a tendency to overvalue complexity. Complexity looks like work. Complexity looks like improvement. I wrote The Simplicity Cycle book to help counter that tendency, arguing that simplicity is a sign of design maturity, while complexity is a sign of cluttered thinking and immature design.

This is not just a problem in the military. Industry certainly wrestles with overvaluing complexity, as the following video shows (incidentally, the video was actually produced by Microsoft, as an internal parody intended to highlight their own foibles - and somehow, it got unleashed onto the interweb and we all got to join in the laugh).

3 comments:

Glen B. Alleman said...

Just like

http://www.debonothinkingsystems.com/

says

Glen B. Alleman said...

Sorry Dan, I forgot.
Have you read the Alexander patterns books, starting with The Timeless Way of Building?

The first I read was Notes on the Synthesis of Form, in a grad school systems architecture class. It's worth locating. Speaks to all the problems you're speaking about.

The Dan Ward said...

@Glen - Yes, the DeBono stuff is very much in line with what I'm talking about. I'll have to check out the others you recommended too. Thanks for the info!