"Can't you just…" are the favorite words of my company's president. He uses them like a magic wand. When faced with a complex problem that will take thousands of development man hours, he utters the words, "Can't you just…" He believes that if he can over-simplify the problem, and summarize the necessary work into a sentence or two, it should only take a week or two to complete.

Of course, I then explain that what seems simple to him is actually very complex once you peel back the layers of the problem. I then explain the specifics until his eyes glaze over, and he cries uncle.

A couple weeks later, he has forgotten everything I said, and the Monday meeting begins with, "About that project. Can't you just…"

  • 1
    Oh yes, I know that one.

    That's the tinkerers approach, just make it work, it's just for the moment.

    Problem is, it's never for the moment. Even if you get it done quick, it won't be long until some of the "forgotten" requirements pop up again. And then the next, and the next, and so on. Then you end up with a messy solution, a big pile of quick&dirty workarounds, and altogether you've spent more time than the good solution would have been.
  • 0
    Alternative wording that has haunted my working life: "surely it's just a case of....", Followed immediately by some inane, naive suggestion that will achieve bugger all toward the desired end.
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