Just finished reading a wonderful book that people in IT should read. It is called In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing. The book is about elegance and what characterizes an elegant solution. Examples range from the unexpected iPhone followed by almost no advertising before the launch to the completely different thought process behind the Not So Big House where we discovery that perhaps we don’t really need a bigger house. Speaking of the iPhone, RIM thought that Apple was lying with the announcement because it was so different from what had been seen before and from what they thought was possible.
There are many different examples of elegance and what characterizes elegant solutions. The book is not an IT or even a technology book, but it so applies to all of us in the business world and in IT because it is too easy for us to deliver non-elegant solutions. It is too easy to just start coding something up with this new, fun tool that will be in the cloud that will run on a smart phone when perhaps a better solution would involve rethinking the whole problem and transforming it into something completely different.
The ideas of symmetry, subtraction and sustainability are discussed as key attributes of elegant solutions.
Read this book.