Keep it simple stupid, or KISS, is a well worn design principle. A quick online search attributes its origin to the US Navy in 1960, where the brief was to be able to fix jet engines with only a spanner and screwdriver.

It’s worth considering how this is appropriate for modern number crunching models.

Create stuff that can be fixed

Like a jet engine, data tools break. This can be because of errors in the system or because something changes in the world outside your tool.

Readability allows your issues to be diagnosed and fixed simply and efficiently.

Little and often

Create little tools, that perform individual tasks.

More often than not, tools either evolve to attempt to solve all the problems for all the people or the “could you add this” list becomes too big at the outset. The cost of this is added complexity.

Understand your limits

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Adding advanced techniques, such as a machine learning algorithm, around a simple tool will create a tool that is neither simple nor complex, and provides false confidence.

When trying to create a better system start with what you’ve got and what you can throw away, not what you should add. Complexity comes in many guises, and bringing in a fresh pair of eyes can often show you where it is hiding.

Remember, it should all start with a KISS.

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