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"Final Solution" is not the optimal phrase to use because it has a negative historical reference.

When working on a project, I'd like to find a phrase that describes the process of evolving solutions (see, for example, Agile software development).

Additionally, the phrase should fit well with phrases like initial solution, intermediate solution, etc.

Update: Doesn't necessarily have to be a 'solution.'

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Ultimate solution, last solution. –  ermanen Feb 22 at 3:27
    
I added an update. The phrase doesn't necessarily have to be a 'solution' –  philshem Feb 22 at 3:31
    
Forget solution and call it an "iteration"? Our "most recent iteration" has features X, Y and Z and fixes bugs 1, 2 and 3. Or "version". Nothing in software is ever final unless you're out of business, so the word "final" here seems to be the most problematic. –  Michael Hampton Feb 22 at 16:25
    
It's not actually for software, I just wanted to take the concept of an evolving solution. –  philshem Feb 23 at 19:34
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10 Answers 10

Optimal solution gets tossed around a lot these days when one is iterating one's way towards the best possible answer.

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probably the best so far. –  philshem Feb 22 at 3:32
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This implies that you actually found the best possible solution. Pretty different from "the solution I ended up using". –  CodesInChaos Feb 22 at 11:44
    
@CodesInChaos In solution space, there are local optima and global optima. It's not uncommon, or even wrong, to use the term optimal solution on what is in fact merely a local optima. In part, that's true because whatever solution you implement must lie within the region of the feasible en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feasible_region, which is often far smaller than the entire solution space. –  Wayfaring Stranger Feb 22 at 13:21
    
One issue with 'optimal solution' is that it doesn't guarantee it's the last. –  philshem Feb 22 at 19:47
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"Logical Conclusion" is similar to "Final Solution" and virtually devoid of connotation.

Also you may consider coining a neologism, perhaps something seemingly-contradictory, paradoxical or oxymoronic -- perhaps everconclusion or endorand (poor example practically, but interesting - combines the words "end" "or" and "and" as to suggest the (end) implies the inevitable connection of (or) the next thing (and)).

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Have a vote for creativity! –  philshem Feb 22 at 3:32
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You had me at Logical Conclusion –  David M Feb 22 at 3:34
    
Don't make up words where perfectly good words already exist. –  David Richerby Feb 22 at 11:32
    
thank you, @DavidRicherby gives really important advice here. My suggesting making up a word resulted from that I took the original question to possibly involve an attempt to come up with a name for a company/project. But if that's not the case, there is probably not a single good reason to make up words as in alternative to seeking out and using those already in existence. –  miercoledi Feb 22 at 23:13
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Let me self-answer with final product. Even though the solution may not be a product, the phrase best describes the iterative and evolving process.

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or "final version" –  CodesInChaos Feb 22 at 11:45
    
In the end, 'final' product' is the most useful and is my replacement for 'final solution'. Thanks for all the great answers! –  philshem Mar 6 at 7:49
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How about final result? This is also used in other contexts, but I think it also fits into your software development example.

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or "end result." –  Potatoswatter Feb 22 at 12:06
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I have no canonical answers, nothing much to back me, but in the situation I would say:

the solution,

which I'm sure will speak a lot without much ado.

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How about complete solution or end solution?

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Ironically, end solution comes even closer to a literal translation of the German Endlösung. –  Wrzlprmft Feb 22 at 9:16
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You say the answer doesn't have to be of the form "       solution" but why not go the other way around?

At the moment, you have a series of solutions: solution 1, solution 2, ..., solution n. You could refer to solution n as just "the solution" and solutions 1 through n-1 as "intermediate stages", "solution stages", "intermediate solutions" or something like that.

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I think "ultimate solution" fits in well with your series of solutions.

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Eventual solution. I think this phrase fits in well with the idea of a process working towards something, but doesn't necessarily imply perfection.

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How about:

Final Solution*

*No negative historical reference intended

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It's not a matter of whether negative references are intended, but whether the reader infers them anyway. It is one thing to accidentally say something that people might find uncomfortable (for want of a better word); to acknowledge the discomfort and say it anyway is quite a different thing. –  David Richerby Feb 22 at 11:31
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It's a bad solution, because it's an immediate reminder of precisely what one does not want to remind others of. It's roughly like the following the groom is single* -- *recently divorced leaving behind his ex-wife of six years and three young children. It's not what you want on your wedding invitations. –  virmaior Feb 22 at 13:33
    
@virmaior ex-wife of six years? –  Awesome Feb 22 at 13:49
    
I think you generally just don't talk about it in your wedding invitations if that's the case. Including it automatically adds a bad light that needn't be mentioned. –  virmaior Feb 22 at 22:40
    
@virmaior In all seriousness, Do you think I was being serious while answering that? –  Awesome Feb 23 at 7:12
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