What the heck is bikeshedding?

During the 2017 DevNet Create Developer Conference I heard Michael-Schoonmaker make reference to “bikeshedding” during his workshop on OPEN JSON APIs in Node. I had never heard the term before, so of course I had to look it up. I assume that others may not have heard of bikeshedding either, so I figured I would share what I learned.

According to wordnik.com’s results for bikeshedding, it is defined as Futile investment of time and energy in marginal technical issues.. Reading the etymology it makes much more sense…

The word originates in Berkeley Software Distribution culture and implies technical disputes over minor, marginal issues conducted while more serious ones are being overlooked. The implied image is of people arguing over what color to paint the bicycle shed while the house is not finished. The word has its origins in Parkinson’s Law of Triviality.

While this definitely wasn’t the most valuable thing that i learned at DevNet Create, it was pretty interesting to me. I hope this quick write up helps others who may hear the term and feel confused like I did.

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