26 June 2017

What is KISS principle

If you are working in IT industry, you might have heard your solutions architects & senior developers talking about KISS principle during solution design discussion. At least, I have heard it many times from my seniors and used it many times with my juniors. In this blog post let’s delve into, what is this KISS principle all about and why we need to care about it.

KISS expansion

KISS is an short for Keep it Simple, Stupid.

Let’s think you are proposing a new IT solution design. There could be many complicated scenarios in the business, but most of the common scenarios are simple. In this case, you should arrive at a simple solution to solve the problems instead of making it complex by considering all possible permutations and combinations. Every solution you propose needs not to solve 100% of the business cases. If it can just solve the pressing problems and it can be still very helpful for your customers.

Instead of keeping it simple, if you went onto cover all scenarios, you could end up with a complex solution which is difficult to use for the end users. Always make it simple for end users of your application.

If you think the solution is getting complicated, start having conversations with your business analysts and architects. Try to arrive at a solution to keep simple to use and simple to understand. Don't complicate solution just to cover some edge cases. The edge cases which are rare in nature can be handled separately as an exception.

KISS principle origin

As per Wikipedia, KISS is a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy way back in 1960.The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

Applying KISS principle outside engineering design solutions

I personally think, the KISS principle can be applied successfully in other fields well outside engineering and design.

For example, you could apply KISS principle to your investment strategy, instead of making it complex. The well-known stock investor Warren buffets says he keeps his investment philosophy simple and even then he is highly successful.

On the other hand, if you look at some investments funds which employ complex to understand investment philosophy are not that much successful.

So the essence here is, we should strive to keep the solutions SIMPLE from ALL the stakeholders perspective.

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