- Yair Mark
There is a mental model that goes something like this: when deciding on something if there is only one option then you have no choice. If you have at least 3 options then you really have a choice and can make a more informed decision off of that based on the pros, cons and trade offs with using one approach over another.
This mental model shone through with the project I am working on now. We had a month to build a product and ended up with 3 choices:
- Build it from scratch
- Copy/paste a very similar existing product's code base and refactor and add what you need
- Take an existing version of the product which is not working properly and not fully complete and try to get it to work (this was also coded by a completely different team)
We decided to go with option 2 as we had the reference product successfully running in production and saw it was a good base to work off of. If we went with option 1 there is a high risk we would miss the deadline due to the volume of code we would likely need based on what has been done already for 2. Option 3 seemed the next best option but as we are working with an incomplete and buggy product as well as off someone elses code base this seemed like a road fraught with landmines and other gotchas. We are still embarking one option 2 and will see as time goes by if it is the best route but so far it seems to be the correct way to go. Our choice of option 2 also fits well with the mental model known as Occam's Razor: "Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected." In our case the hypothesis would be the choices we have.