Charles Miller describes how engineers express the level of difficulty of solving a problem (via Ron K. Jeffries). He has some great descriptions of each level of difficulty, which I found quite accurate:

* Impossible
* Unfeasable
* Non-Trivial
* Very Hard
* Hard
* Trivial

I’ve added “straightforward” to my language, which describes trivial problems that will still require some time to implement. I find it helpful in talking to non-engineers and to other engineers who might argue with my characterization of a given problem as “trivial.”

One thought on “understanding engineers

  1. Totally accurate, although I’ve found that sometimes, depending on the engineer, “trivial” can be the first response, and “very hard” is the real answer :)


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