Parkinson’s Law of Triviality (also known as the bicycle shed example, and by the expression colour of the bikeshed) is C. Northcote Parkinson’s 1957 argument that organisations give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.
ArgumentThe concept is presented in C. Northcote Parkinson’s spoof of management, Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson dramatizes his Law of Triviality with a committee’s deliberations on a nuclear power plant, contrasting it to deliberation on a bicycle shed. A nuclear reactor is used because it is so vastly expensive and complicated that an average person cannot understand it, so they assume that those working on it understand it. Even those with strong opinions often withhold them for fear of being shown to be insufficiently informed. On the other hand, everyone understands a bicycle shed (or thinks he or she does), so building one can result in endless discussions because everyone involved wants to add his or her touch and show that they have contributed.
Here Is The Problem
The photograph was taken by a colleague and inserted into an email with the following text:
At some point we have to start using a little common sense. This is ridiculous!
Please place your dirty dishes over to the right of the bench so the sink it still useable. Thank you.
I think the suggested solution is insane. I said so to another work colleague. He looked at me as if I were insane. Now I don’t not know whether I am insane or merely a sane person dreaming that I am insane office worker.
Please to imagine alternative possibilities.