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Allan MacGregor:
Swiss Army Knife Syndrome
May 21, 2014 @ 10:47:12

In his latest post Allan MacGregor talks about something commonly referred to as Swiss Army Knife Syndrome, a common problem in software development where features and functionality are added "just in case" and aren't needed.

The inspiration for the "Swiss Army Knife Syndrome" came from my frustration in dealing with project managers, clients, and even other developers, that think in too much of a narrow, particular way. I call it the "Swiss Army Knife Syndrome". [...] The term 'Swiss Army Knife' is often used to describe a collection of useful items or tools that are able to perform well in multiple scenarios. While this may be useful, there are risks to be aware of as well.

He points out that not only can software with unnecessary features become cumbersome over time, it can also have the potential for being mostly useless (and unmaintainable). He suggests a few ways the syndrome can show up in your process including scope creep, early optimization and anything that assumes that "more features" is the same as "more value" in the product. In his opinion, software with a clear purpose and that does its job well is more valuable that one packed with features, especially ones no one wants to use.

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Link: http://coderoncode.com/2014/05/20/swiss-knife-syndrome.html


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