The cost of modularization – or what not to modularize

It is in a way fascinating, I myself an advocate for modularization come more and more often across projects where it would be the totally wrong approach due to cost and timing issues.

While we all know, modularization allows us to change usages in the future, e.g. in architecture or urban planning, increase product variability and reduce development costs for products e.g. in rolling stock but also allows an adaptation to newly emerging needs while under “construction” e.g. for IT projects. But these adaptations come with a hefty price: Increased development and implementation costs, longer time and quality compromises.

So what to do?

  • If you do not have sufficient knowledge to take a design decision, make a plan until you can take this decision
  • Else, do not postpone your decision
  • Decide on how much modularity you are seeking from a projects perspective and make a rough estimate
  • Decide on how much you are willing to pay for the modularity and make a rough estimate
  • Choose maximum 3 different scenarios to explore in more dept
  • Decide
  • Stick to the decision unless the situation changes
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