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6,362 posts
msg #52466
Ignore TheRumpledOne
6/24/2007 12:12:33 AM

De Bono’s Simplicity Principles
May 17th, 2005

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.

Simplicity Principles
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.

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