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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's Complicated

A long time ago a close friend and colleague told me that if you cannot be replaced, that you cannot be promoted either.  It's a lesson I took to heart a very long time ago, and it turned me even more towards teaching others.  I found and still find this to be a very rewarding part of my job.  One of my favorite quotes is from my personal hero Richard Feynman:
You know, I couldn't do it. I couldn't reduce it to the freshman level. That means we really don't understand it.
This is a concept I (and others) fail to consider a great deal in developing standards. Because if we cannot explain it clearly enough so that the average developer can implement it, then we may not really understand it ourselves.  It's why I go back and implement specifications that I've written as often as I can (or better yet while I'm writing them), because only then do I ever understand the problems of my audience.

Real art, and real skill is not being able to understand what is complicated, but in making it easier for others to do so. This is a challenge that few specifications ever really succeed with. And when we argue that the specifications must be complicated because Healthcare is complicated, sometimes I wonder if what we are really saying is we don't understand it ourselves.

So it is up to us to make it easy.  That is, unless we want to be stuck doing the same complicated stuff all our lives.  I, for one, would like to do something different every now and again.


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