Simple Designs Work Best

In 1979, Adidas released the Copa Mundial Soccer boot. These soccer boots have gone almost unchanged in 30 years.  The original design is still the best design.  Even with all the technical advances in shoe manufacturing and all the fancy features of today’s footware.  The simple design of the Copas can’t be beat.

As software engineers, we can learn a lot from the Copa Mundial example.  Most of the time, the simple solution is the best solution.  The shoes work and perform well. They don’t need a lot of options and they don’t need the latest in technical advances. They don’t need a lot of marketing gimmicks to make them the best selling soccer boots of all time.

Copa Mundial

When trying to solve a problem with software, write down your ideas. Then step back and focus on solving the problem in the simplest way possible.  99% of the time software engineers try to think through all the issues that may arise or corner cases that don’t need to be solved initially.  The software does not need to be optimized on the first cut, your almost guaranteed to optimizing the wrong area. Remember, the 80-20 rule, spend 80% of your time solving the core problem.

  1. The simplest solution is usually the best solution
  2. You don’t need to show off your technical prowess on every design
  3. Always try the simple solution first, then iterate and mature rather then build complicated designs

I have to work on this everytime I start a new project.  Yes, experience lets me expect problems. But, I try to always rework my designs because they are always more complicated then needed.

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