Andy McKay

Sep 20, 2008

Complexity


When I saw this quote:

If this is the death of Wall Street as we know it, the tombstone will read: killed by complexity.

Guardian

I thought instantly of the number of software projects that have died due to complexity. Buffetts report on the derivatives which has been widely quoted this week says:

Each contract has a plus or minus value derived from one or more reference items, including some of mind-boggling complexity. Valuing a portfolio like that, expert auditors could easily and honestly have widely varying opinions.
Warren Buffett

It's easy to just lump anything into complexity, but it's true in software all the time. It could be that one little Rails app that's written in a mind boggling confusing way, it could be probably the biggest software project of all, Vista.

Complexity kills. It sucks the life out of developers, it makes products difficult to plan, build and test, it introduces security challenges, and it causes end-user and administrator frustration.
Ray Ozzie

Complexity sucks, yet through out life we've created specialisations and abstractions so that something complex like lighting a room, is as simple as turning on a light bulb.

My 2 cents on what I've been reading today about the end of capitalism as we know it? People's memories are short and focus on the short term. In a few years some one will have abstracted out derivatives into something simpler and people will be trading them around like before.