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Don’t build the Titanic when a paddle boat will do

by @ 1:01 pm on 6/24/2017. Filed under general

When poking around today I found a comment I made on a post two years ago, I thought I would share it here as it is just as true today.

…complexity kills. A lot of my work is around trying to figure out and fix stuff where people got too complex for the task at hand. Either they weren’t very good at what they did and made it complex accidently, the environment grew beyond intents over time and was patched into complexity, or someone was trying to be fancy and thought a complex solution was sexier and made them look smarter or something (I call this consultant / vendor syndrome). For the record, the simplest most elegant solutions are the most sexy. Those are the ones that have real life down the road and are more likely not to be ripped out and replaced. I personally am far more impressed and joyful at simple solutions than complex ones stacked up with all sorts of various interconnections. Don’t build the Titanic when a paddle boat will do.

This goes when fixing anything, you don’t always have to fix the entire problem in one fell swoop. Sometimes it not only makes sense, but makes infinitely more sense to solve issues in small bite-size pieces that slowly work you back to how something should really be done. When I worked for HP Enterprise Services I regularly saw cases where they would try to fix something but building a whole new solution that was a massive undertaking and would be paralyzed and unable to do anything until that was completed and unfortunately more times than not those massive solutions would end up getting killed before anything got done and so we would never move off the dime and fix even small things because people didn’t look at solving them at the micro level and wanted only to deal with them at the macro level. That is when I first started saying “don’t build the Titanic when a paddle boat will do”. I said it because I would visualize our many issues and problems as us floating down the river without so much as a stick to our name and someone would say let’s fix that and the solution was to build the Titanic and everyone would have great job and expectations and two years later nothing was built and nothing was going to be built and in the meanwhile we are still waterlogged in the river and could have been much better off if we had just built a paddleboat.

   joe

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