Design by committee

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Design by committee is a term referring to a style of design and its resultant output when a group of entities comes together to produce something (often the design of technological systems or standards), particularly in the presence of poor and incompetent leadership. The defining characteristics of "design by committee" are needless complexity, internal inconsistency, logical flaws, banality, and the lack of a unifying vision. Successful design and style much more relate to intuition, and even aesthetics, than science or politics.

The term is especially common in technical parlance, and legitimates the need and general acceptance of a unique systems architect. Often, when software is designed by a committee, the original motivation, specifications and technical criteria take a backseat and poor choices may be made merely to appease the egos of several individual committee members. Such products and standards end up doing too many things or having parts that fit together poorly (because the entities who produced those parts were unaware of each other's requirements for a good fit).

The term is also common in automotive parlance for poorly designed or unpopular cars.[1]

One maxim is that a camel is a horse designed by committee; this has been attributed to Vogue magazine, July 1958, to Sir Alec Issigonis and also to University of Wisconsin philosophy professor Lester Hunt.[2][3]

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