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Want to solve the space problem for the arts in Edmonton? Stop shaving that yak! - MasterMaq.ca Blog
In software development there's an expression we use to avoid scope creep. "Don't shave that yak!" we'll say. It's shorthand for staying focused and working on solving the problem at hand, not other problems that we might notice along the way. As far as I know the phrase comes from a Ren & Stimpy episode and was coined by Carlin Vieri, a Ph.D. at MIT back in the 90s. "Yak shaving is what you are doing when you're doing some stupid, fiddly little task that bears no obvious relationship to what you're supposed to be working on, but yet a chain of twelve causal relations links what you're doing to the original meta-task." I quite like Seth Godin's example of yak shaving. This GIF illustrates it well too: I was chatting with someone in the arts community recently about the Edmonton Downtown Academic & Cultural Centre project, and I remarked, "I just don't know how we got from 'arts organizations need space' to 'a $1 billion project is the answer'." But thinking about it later, I