Customers do not ask for software complexity

Asking for software complexity is insane. Nobody wants software solutions that are complex. It is comparable with smart cities, intelligent lockdowns and safe banks. Nobody wants stupid cities, governmental panic measurements to fight covid-19 or a bank that can not be trusted with handling money.

Customers and end-users never ask for software that is complex. So software that is hard to adjust, maintain and is often unreliable. But designing simple software solutions is not simple and requires good principles along with solid experience.

When creating software solutions you should aim for simplicity because simplicity is a prerequisite for reliability. Simple is often erroneously mistaken for easy and cheap.  Simple is the opposite of complex.

Simple IS NOT easy

What matters for simple software solutions is: 

  • Does the software do what is supposed to do? 
  • Is it of high quality? 
  • Can you rely on it?
  • Can problems be fixed easy if needed? And against acceptable cost and by anyone? 
  • Can the software handle changing business requirements over time? 

The answer to these questions are always trade-offs:

  • Fast versus slow.
  • Expensive versus cheap.
  • Robustness versus flexibility. And:
  • Good versus Bad. Which is always biased and context dependent. There is never only one good solution. But there are always many more bad solutions. 

Benefits of software simplicity are: ease of understanding, ease of change, ease of debugging, flexibility. Building simple open software solutions means you should at least:

  • Make a simple conceptual model. This model should cover all aspects, so also the key business aspects. 
  • Define simple Solution Building Blocks (SBBs) for the software parts. Solutions building blocks describe in logic terms what is required for each component.
  • Choose or create simple software solutions that match the requested capabilities.

And since even simple solutions must be secure you use the key open principles of the open reference architecture for security and privacy.