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Explaining the Pervasive Kludgeitis

I found a great explanation for hodgepodge of kludges found in "organically grown" solutions (legacy precursors to SD-WAN come to mind):

In a long-lived project, components are being replaced. Nice reusable components are easy to replace and so they are. Ugly non-reusable components are pain to replace and each replacement means both a considerable risk and considerable cost. Thus, more often then not, they are not replaced. As the years go by, reusable components pass away and only the hairy ones remain. In the end the project turns into a monolithic cluster of ugly components melted one into another.

Note: You really should read the whole blog post.


  1. IMO this is how kludges keep surviving. A company consists of say 8 people. The company makes money by driving around in a bus. Let's say they make $100USD for every km they drive. The bus driver and co-pilot are usually in the later part of their careers and can see their retirement stop is 300km away. At some point the other passengers notice the radiator making a hissing sound. These passengers know that the best thing for long term health of the company is to stop and replace the radiator before the coolant leaks in to the transmission fluid and destroys the entire drivetrain. They present the radiator replacement project to the driver and co-pilot. The driver and co-pilot are content to ignore the problem and keep driving the bus hoping they reach their retirement stop 300km away before the bus fails. Basically, the driver / co-pilot care more about their own well-being than that of the whole company. They are happy to cash out and leave the passengers with a total jalopy. In some companies that awkward 300km plays out over the course of many years. It is rare to find organizations where the leaders truly put the overall health of the group above their own personal interest (see stock buyback schemes exploding in recent years.)
    1. ...and a few years later when someone finally says "let's fix that radiator" everyone else goes "it's always been that way, why do you always want to change things" ;))
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