The Truth about Over-Engineering-How to Identify It and Avoid It ?

The Truth about Over-Engineering-How to Identify It and Avoid It ?

Over-Engineering has been a vastly discussed topic in the engineering market, with many speculations of it being an unnecessary practice while on the opposite end, many technicians believe that this practice reveals many new possibilities in the project that were previously overlooked. This ‘going the extra mile’ practice can provide vision about great improvements but this is a one in a million chance so the practice, overall, is unnecessary.


Over-Engineering is the phenomenon of engineering extra units that are not specified in the requirements making the overall structure of project complex. The practice is done by many engineers, sometimes knowingly and sometimes without knowledge. The engineer has to judge himself when the project is over-engineered and is creating complexity issues. The easiest trick of this practice is to optimize engineering practice. When instead of simplifying the problem the issue becomes more complex than the engineering is overly done resulting in rising problems.

The Truth:

There is a fine line between good engineering and overly-done engineering and the requirements of the project distinguish that difference. One cannot go on the mission of simplifying things and make them extra complicated and if such work is done than we have an over engineering problem at our hands. But many engineers argue that the extra research and knowledge does not go to waste. The extra analysis actually improves the project and gives it an edge. But is that really the story or just a cloak on their mistakes? Let’s find out.

In critical systems, where there is a high risk of failure and the result might affect many people, such as healthcare systems or safety-critical systems, the margin for error is not acceptable at any cost. In these systems, the extra engineering techniques help remove the possibility of failure, making them error free and optimal. But if we look at the normal project which is not that demanding, over-engineering in that is more troublesome than effective.

How to Identify and Avoid Over-Engineering:

There are some identifiers of this practice, the most important one being the increase in complexity of the overall project. The unnecessary improvements of the project also indicate over-engineering phenomenon. But avoiding it is very easy and the developers just have to stick to the stated requirements of the customers to get the job done. These engineering practices can be complicated but education and experience can simplify any matter.