Washington, May 20 : A new study has revealed that many software designers intentionally create unnecessarily complex products that do less to serve their companies and customers than to advance their careers.
Today, companies are struggling to deal with increasingly difficult and complex product design projects.
The study, by Enno Siemsen of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, argues that this struggle is not only because of accelerated technological change but also because of product designers, who have an incentive to choose more difficult design solutions instead of simple solutions to further their careers.
Siemsen concluded that highly capable designers have an incentive to choose somewhat more difficult designs to better prove their talent, while less-capable designers have an incentive to choose highly difficult designs to obfuscate their lack of talent.
He argues that one way to reduce these dysfunctional incentives is to move compensation agreements away from a long-term, career-oriented focus toward a more short-term focus in which bonuses are directly associated with the success or failure of projects.
Other options to decrease these incentives are to collect better data on design task outcomes or to have product designers receive evaluations from managers who have an interest in the design projects succeeding and an excellent understanding of the technology.
The study is published in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.