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What’s the “Software Peter Principle”?


The Software Peter Principle is in operation when unwise developers “improve” and “generalize” the software until they themselves can no longer understand it, then the project slowly dies.
The Software Peter Principle can ruin projects. The insidious thing about the Software Peter Principle is that it’s a silent killer — by the time the symptoms are visible, the problem has spread throughout every line of code in the project.
Foolish managers deal with symptoms rather than prevention, and they think
everything is okay unless there are visible bugs. Yet the problem isn’t bugs, at least initially. The problem is that the project is collapsing under its own weight.
The best way to avoid this problem is to build to the skill level of the maintainers, not of the developers. If the typical maintainer won’t understand the software then it’s simply too complex for the organization to maintain. This means avoiding tricky, sophisticated, subtle, clever techniques unless there is a compelling reason for them. Cleverness is evil; use it only when necessary.
Shown concern for the long-term health of the system being developed.

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