A long while back, I stumbled upon a snippet of wisdom. Fortunately, I wrote it down, because the website that held this info is down. I have managed to track down the source to a Mr. Edward de Bono. His book, “Simplicity“, is available at Amazon.
The snippet of wisdom is related to achieving simplicity in designs. I am storing it here as much for your convenience, as for mine.
- You need to put a high value on simplicity
To get simplicity you have to want to get it. To want to get simplicity you have to put a high value on simplicity.
- You must be determined to seek simplicity
People quite like simplicity if it does not cost anything but are usually unwilling to invest resources in making something more simple.
- You need to understand the matter very well
If you do not seek to understand a situation or process, your efforts will be ‘simplistic’ rather than simple. Simplicity before understanding is worthless.
- You need to design alternatives
It is not a matter of designing the ‘one right way’. It is more a matter of designing alternatives and possibilities, and then selecting one of them.
- You need to challenge and discard existing elements
Everything needs to justify its continued existence. If you wish to retain something for the sake of tradition let that be a conscious decision.
- You need to be prepared to start over again
In the search for Simplicity, modify if you can – start afresh if you cannot.
- You need to use concepts
Concepts are the human mind’s way of simplifying the world around. Warning: If you do not use concepts, then you are working with detail.
- You may need to break things down into smaller units
The organisation of a smaller unit is obviously simpler than the organisation of a large unit. The smaller units are themselves organised to serve the larger purpose.
- You need to be prepared to trade off other values for simplicity
A system that seeks to be totally comprehensive may be very complex. You may need to trade off that comprehensiveness for simplicity.
- You need to know for whose sake the simplicity is being designed
A shift of complexity may mean that a system is made easier for the customer but much more complicated for the operator.