Ossified Design Decisions

When trying to solve any problem, certain variables must remain constant. Experimentation requires firm footing. Changing too many things at once means you can no longer clearly judge the changes. You have nothing to compare them to.

However, as time goes on it’s natural to begin to have a “core” to your design problem. A foundation that you layer attempted solutions on top of. A pivot point that all changes orbit around. Until one day someone points at your pivot point and says “wouldn’t it be better if this was different?” This is terrifying. Your pivot point is your ossified design.

I often find myself resisting change to ossified design decisions. “But if we change that, haven’t we lost the core of what we’re building?” It’s funny because often modifying an ossified design decision is often easier than whatever other solutions are being considered. But it’s the fear of the unknown, and the fear of losing everything you’ve built that makes it hard to consider. Finding out you’re wrong about your assumptions feels much worse than failing at something that’s marked as an experiment.

Do you recognize the ossified designs in your own projects? Do you have people making minor change suggestions that feel impossible and terrifying but in reality are simple and obvious? Do you forget that you can always undo your changes?

You can only pivot around a single point so much before you’ve looked at a problem from every angle. Sometimes lifting the pivot and clearing out your ossified design is the only way to get a clear perspective.


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