Its Not Rocket Science

A (sometimes) AntiPattern which usually occurs in the requirements/design phase. Solution is trivialized in the requirements phase with the utterance (often times from the requester/manager) "It's not rocket science." (or something similar). True, it's not rocket science - it's -computer science- and while it's generally a Bad Thing to overanalyze/design a solution, it's almost as bad to underanalyze/design as that leads to BlameStorming, ScopeCreep and GoldenHammer type solutions as the implementation team tries to compensate for design/requirement gaps.

This is done for one of several reasons:


We get this where I work. My standard answer to the pointy-haired insistence that, "hey, ItsNotRocketScience" is "you're right, it's ComputerScience."

Among ourselves (the engineers) we assert that "it's not RocketSurgery."

-- GarryHamilton


Of course, then there's the old (possibly apocryphal) saw of the NASA engineer giving a presentation to a group of politicians. He began his presentation with the following observation:

"Ladies and gentlemen... this is rocket science!"


I think this is particularly pernicious when it comes from a manager who "used to" program. This used to be easy! It's not rocket science! What are you buffoons doing? Well, we scaled up by an order of magnitude, we integrated with eight external systems, we sharded the databases to handle the extra traffic, and we imposed data integrity guarantees to meet SLAs that were being blatantly violated when you were still programming... but, in the view of the executives, a very senior "technical" person is saying loudly that the current tech team is incompetent.


See also JustIsaDangerousWord, OccamsRazor

EditText of this page (last edited December 10, 2013) or FindPage with title or text search