Is This a Waste of Time?
None of this means it is wasting time to attempt to measure network complexity. What it does mean, however, is that the problem must be approached with a large dose of humility. Engineers need to be very careful about understanding the tradeoffs being made in every part of the design, and very intentional in remembering that there are limits to accurately predicting the outcome of any particular design decision.
Instead of “giving up,” engineers should do everything possible to understand the complexity, to contain it, to minimize it, and to make intelligent tradeoffs—but there isn’t, and won’t ever be a silver bullet for complexity. As explained in Chapter 1, “Defining Complexity,” there are sets of three out of which only two can be chosen, and there are curves where increasing complexity in one axis to solve a particular problem actually causes problems in another axis.
Measuring and managing complexity is not wasting time unless you believe you can actually solve the problem—because the “problem” cannot be “solved.”