The Bike-Shed Effect


Bikeshedding: Placing too much importance on trivial things.

Today I found a blog post from a former Local Government colleague of mine, all about “bikeshedding”, or the Parkinson’s Law of Triviality to give it its official name.

Bikeshedding is a term to explain the phenomenon of focus being placed on a trivial part of an overall solution, while ignoring the main goal, or as Chantele puts it:

…too much effort is put in to areas that have little or no bearing on the functionality of the end product.

Parkinson’s Law of Triviality

As a developer I certainly have experienced that trivial little piece of functionality that wont go away, and as a manager I’ve seen this happening from time to time with my employees. I am very pleased that I’ve found a name for it.