Facilitating the spread of knowledge and innovation in professional software development



Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage News Adopting Simple Design

Adopting Simple Design


Kim Gräsman asked a simple but thought-provoking question to the extremeprogramming Yahoo! group:

Hello all,
It seems incremental design has become a theme (if implicit) on the
list these past weeks -- does anyone have good references to reading
on incremental design?

Good question.  There were some good recommendations made.  Here are some of them:

The question then morphed into a discussion about adopting incremental design:

I'm just thinking about this in the abstract, I don't have an actual
question really, but it seems to me getting a team started with
incremental design can be difficult, and I've talked to people who
have tried without much success. So I think I'm trying to better
understand the practice before misguidedly attempting to use it.

To answer the question about how to adopt incremental design well, the age-old question of what IS good design reared it's head.  This, of course, resulted in advice that was all over the map.  One interesting point of view was presented by Ron Jeffries:

I believe that by most people's lights, a "good design"
automatically turns out to be evolvable. IOW, faced with a design
that is thought to be good, but not evolvable, we can quickly come
up with a design which is similar in essence, "better", and
evolvable. The making it "better" will make it more evolvable
without working directly toward that property.

But, one notable gap in the discussion was that the "how do I adopt incremental design?" was never directly addressed even though that seemed to be the main topic for a large part of the discussion.  The group came at the issue from different angles but never directly.  Is it difficult for us to discuss adoption?  Or is it so obvious that we don't need to address it directly?

We need your feedback

How might we improve InfoQ for you

Thank you for being an InfoQ reader.

Each year, we seek feedback from our readers to help us improve InfoQ. Would you mind spending 2 minutes to share your feedback in our short survey? Your feedback will directly help us continually evolve how we support you.

Take the Survey

Rate this Article


Hello stranger!

You need to Register an InfoQ account or or login to post comments. But there's so much more behind being registered.

Get the most out of the InfoQ experience.

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Community comments

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p


Is your profile up-to-date? Please take a moment to review and update.

Note: If updating/changing your email, a validation request will be sent

Company name:
Company role:
Company size:
You will be sent an email to validate the new email address. This pop-up will close itself in a few moments.