Joel Christiansen

Impediments to Simplicity

July 22, 2023
This week I am thinking about potential impediments to building simple software. Here's a list I compiled from my reading this week:

1. Complexity bias: We perceive complex solutions as more valuable or effective, even when simpler solutions exist. This bias leads to an emphasis on adding more features and functionality rather than focusing on simplicity and elegance.

2. Market pressure: In the competitive software industry, developers and companies may feel pressure to continuously add new features and functionality to keep up with competitors or meet requests and demands. This can result in overly complex software that is difficult to use and maintain.

3. Inadequate design principles: Developers may lack a strong foundation in design principles that promote simplicity, such as modularity, separation of concerns, and adhering to a "less is more" philosophy. Without a solid understanding of these principles, it can be challenging to create simple and elegant software.

4. Time constraints: Developing simple and beautiful software often takes more time and thought than creating complex solutions. Tight deadlines and pressure to deliver quickly can lead to shortcuts and compromises that result in complex and less user-friendly software.

5. Fear of change: Developers may be hesitant to adopt new development practices or remove unnecessary features, fearing that it could lead to negative consequences, such as losing customers or receiving criticism from peers.

6. Insufficient collaboration: A lack of collaboration among team members can result in a disjointed, overly complex final product. When developers work in silos, they may not be aware of the overall vision for the software or understand how their work fits into the larger project.

7. Technical debt: Over time, as software evolves and new features are added, it can become burdened with legacy code and outdated design patterns. Addressing this technical debt can be challenging and time-consuming