Features Don’t Need To Be Forever

I recently purchased a kitchen timer. I smirked as I read a description of the last feature:

Calendar displays day and date to the year 2099

This has to be the boldest display of a limitation I’ve encountered. Immediately the following questions came to mind:

  • Will I be alive in 2100? Probably not.
  • Will the timer survive 85 years? Probably not.
  • Do I need it to last that long to be worth the purchase? No!

It’s awesome to see such honesty about what is really not a limitation at all.

All too often we try to perfect software in a never ending quest to craft everything the right way. Even at the level of user functionality I find people lost in pedantry, bickering over every possible scenario without considering the likelihood nor the value of handling all of them.

When we fail to make tradeoffs based on value and instead handle every possible limitation, we end up with a vast amount of waste in the software we create.