Bikeshedding is this idea that if you have a tremendously complicated project such as a nuclear power station nobody wants to have an opinion on the really big important stuff – they’ll just rubber-stamp it – but you want to be seen to be doing something so you’ll argue endlessly about the shape of the bike sheds.Matt Rose – Code Narratology or How I Learned to Stop Bikeshedding and Love the Linter
C. Northcote Parkinson* coined the idea as the Law of Triviality: “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum [of money] involved.” (Wikipedia) The bike sheds were his idea.
The rest of Matt Rose’s (5 minute) video is a humorous sort of literary-theory of writing computer code. It’s very entertaining and thought-provoking. Recommended.
*Parkinson of “Parkinson’s law“: that work expands to fill the time available.
Wikipedia: the Law of Triviality
Bikeshedding at The Decision Lab