Honest Complexity

Dishonest complexity happens when you make things more complex to protect your job. IT technicians can do this and get away with it. Accountants can too. Lone programmers often do this as well. Its easy for doctors, pharmacists, dentists and other highly-educated workers to make this happen. Making something more complex than it needs to be, with no documentation, can seem to guarantee your position as the one-and-only expert in the pool.

Honest complexity is forced on you by the system in which you exist. Accountants live in a world of honest complexity, where the tax code created by the US government is as complex a beast as you’ll find. Similarly, an employee working in a highly charged political environment, where authority isn’t clear and motives go unspoken must deal with human complexity.

Dishonest complexity nearly always surfaces, because the person who created it eventually is faced with somebody more experienced that is willing to call the bluff. Honest complexity, however, is harder to deal with. You must model it in your company or software or process, and oversimplifying is rash. In a world of honest complexity, guiding visions and strategies that speak of the future light of simplicity that shall prosper in the land of milk and honey are as likely to stop people from learning what’s necessary as they are to motivate them onward.

Make a distinction between the complexities in your life. Cut out the gangrene with a sharp knife, and put your head down and learn what you must without complaint.

Leave a comment