Re: bikeshed

From: Bill Moran <>
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2003 11:05:04 -0400
Liew Jay Sern wrote:
> I missed BSDcon 03, what's a bikeshed got to do with anything, anyway?
> (besides bikes).

Let's see if I remember the story correctly:

If you were building a nuclear reactor, your board of directors would
likely agree with you on just about anything you tried to do, since a
nuclear reactor is a complex, dangerous, difficult-to-build thing, that
none of them wants to get into the dirty details, and there's enough
for everyone to do anyway.

If you were building a bikeshed, it's so simple, that having a number
of people involved would cause endless arguments over things such as
the color, or exact location of the bikeshed, since a bikeshed is
simple enough that everyone understands it, and there's not really
enough work for many people to be involved.

The theory (I guess) being that people like to get involved.  In a
business atmosphere, the lesson is don't assign too many people to
a project, it doesn't speed it up, it slows it down.
In a volunteer project, where everyone is free to do what they want,
it's too easy for too many people to focus on the easy parts, thus
discussing petty details into the ground.

Thus "building a bikeshed" has become a euphamism for discussing
relatively unimportant details into the ground.

Bill Moran
Potential Technologies
Received on Sat Sep 13 2003 - 06:05:06 UTC

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