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Law of triviality is C. Northcote Parkinson 's argument that people within an organization commonly or typically give disproportionate weight to trivial issues. The law has been applied to software development and other activities.

The concept was first presented as a corollary of his broader " Parkinson's law " spoof of management. He dramatizes this "law of triviality" with the example of a committee's deliberations on an atomic reactor, contrasting it to deliberations on a bicycle shed. As he put it: "The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum [of money] involved. On the other hand, everyone can visualize a cheap, simple bicycle shed, so planning one can result in endless discussions because everyone involved wants to add a touch and show personal contribution.

Problems arise after a suggestion of building something new for the community, like a bike shed, causes everyone involved to argue about the details. This is a metaphor indicating that it is not necessary to argue about every little feature based simply on the knowledge to do so.

Some people have commented that the amount of noise generated by a change is inversely proportional to the complexity of the change.

There are several other principles, well known in specific problem domains, which express a similar sentiment. Wadler's law : In the context of programming-language design , one encounters Wadler's law , named for computer scientist Philip Wadler. Sayre's law is a more general principle, which holds among other formulations that "In any dispute, the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake"; many formulations of the principle focus on academia.

Atwood's duck : A countermeasure is the "duck" technique in corporate programming: a programmer expects his or her corporate office to insist on at least one change on every presentation to show that they're participating, regardless of the benefits of that change. Consequently, the programmer intentionally adds an element they expect corporate to remove. Quoted from Jeff Atwood 's blog, Coding Horror : [6].

This started as a piece of corporate lore at Interplay Entertainment. It was well known that producers a video game industry position roughly equivalent to project manager had to make a change to everything that was done.

The assumption was that subconsciously they felt that if they didn't, they weren't adding value. The artist working on the queen animations for Battle Chess was aware of this tendency, and came up with an innovative solution. He did the animations for the queen the way that he felt would be best, with one addition: he gave the queen a pet duck. He animated this duck through all of the queen's animations, had it flapping around the corners. He also took great care to make sure that it never overlapped the "actual" animation.

Eventually, it came time for the producer to review the animation set for the queen. The producer sat down and watched all of the animations. When they were done, he turned to the artist and said, "That looks great. Just one thing: get rid of the duck. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Parkinson's Law of Triviality. Focusing on what is irrelevant but easy to understand. It is not to be confused with Parkinson's law. Analysis paralysis Busy work Dunning�Kruger effect Fredkin's paradox Hofstadter's law Jevons paradox List of eponymous laws Moral panic Omission bias Peter principle Procrastination Narcissism of small differences Snackwell effect Student syndrome Time management Time to completion Tyranny of small decisions Zero-risk bias.

Northcote Parkinson's Law, or the Pursuit of Progress. John Murray. ISBN X, and 9. Retrieved 31 July Group Dynamics 5 ed. Cengage Learning.

Retrieved 12 May Coding Horror. Retrieved 27 May Trevor S. Preston McGraw�Hill, p. Categories : Adages s neologisms C. Northcote Parkinson Organizational behavior. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file. Download as PDF Printable version.

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