Design by Committee

A design process based on consensus building, group decision making, and extensive iteration.

It is a commonly held view that good design results when projects are driven by an autocratic leader, and bad design results when projects are driven by democratized groups.1 Many find this notion of an alpha leader romantically appealing, believing that great design requires a tyrannical “Steve Jobs” at the helm to be successful. This notion is, at best, an oversimplification, and in many cases it is simply incorrect.

Design by dictator is preferred when projects are time-driven, requirements are relatively straightforward, consequences of error are tolerable, and stakeholder buy-in is unimportant. It should be noted that with the ...

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