8. Try the Solution on for Size

Why the specification is not the solution

When I went shopping for a new ski jacket, I learned how easy it is to misjudge solution specifications. The jacket I had no longer served my most important need: keeping warm.

Fortunately, I knew exactly what I wanted. My new jacket should be longer, to insulate me in single-digit temperatures. It should have a hood, to protect me from weather that makes the wind in my hair less than romantic. It should have lots of pockets. And it should be a bright color. I’ve always bought brightly colored ski jackets, so that was a must.

After trying on several jackets, I selected one that met all my specifications: It was long, thickly lined, full of pockets, had a hood, and was a ...

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