In this blog post on irrationality in transportation costs (via Flutterby) I discovered a new-to-me term that is instantly useful:
There is a tension between the risk of gold plating (focus on benefits to the exclusion of cost) and of corner cutting (focusing on costs to the exclusion of benefits). But there is available to us a balance, building something which maximizes the difference between benefits and costs, not just looking at benefits or costs. Insufficient attention is placed on the trade-off, too much on the ends by advocates of one side or the other. [Emphasis added]
Gold plating. Brilliant. I had not noticed before that corner cutting was a one-sided term, only half an equation. Gold plating is the other side, the missing piece. Google tells me that this term is commonly used in the IT world — but I’ve not encountered it before, either as a social scientist, or as someone who is a “client” for a lot of IT teams. But you can bet I’ll be using it in a meeting someday soon. Oh yes.