Jul 29, 2021

Feature Article

Simplicity.

Written by David Stevens, Director of Business Development

Simple is good, but it’s not easy.

I recently spent a week’s worth of evenings putting together the LEGO Technic - Bugatti Chiron set. Yes, I am a grown adult man who loves building LEGO. I get immense enjoyment from piecing together hyper-detailed and complex models with nothing more than injection-molded plastic. What begins as a pile of thousands of pieces is soon transformed into a true spectacle.

About 3 days into the build, I was stunned by the complexity of the structure I had created. I had built a nearly 2-foot-long chassis complete with fully operational axles, engine, transmission, and steering column. Another 8 hours of building, and the 3,500 pieces of plastic had been turned into a 1:8 scale Bugatti Chiron.

What really struck me as impressive was not the final product, but rather the way in which I had achieved it. Something I think many of us pay little attention to is the shear simplicity of LEGO instructions. While the instruction booklet for this set was hundreds of pages long, it had correctly guided me through the build process without a single typed instruction. Simple, well-oriented images is all that was required to accomplish the end goal.

What’s even more impressive, is that many products follow this same approach but with less than stellar results. Think back to the last time you built a piece of furniture. In my experience, while the instructions use imagery to guide you through the build, there are typically multiple details that are missing or undefined, leaving you questioning whether you’re doing things correctly. This proves that a simple approach is good, but it’s not always easy to achieve.

In the business of developing software solutions, it’s easy to pile on complexities to get the output a customer is looking for. But unless you take the time to plan and structure your approach you will quickly find yourself with a convoluted and complex solution.

A simple solution is not the easy solution. Truly simple solutions take all components into account and are designed and built to lessen/limit complexities rather than add to them. It takes time, practice, and focus to apply this level of refinement. To quote the late great Leonardo da Vinci, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Strive for simplicity.

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