I recently wrote a document titled "Guidelines for reviewing source code."

In the document, one of my statements was: "The core directive is to organize complexity.

I feel like I should know a word to use there, but one escaped me. Any help appreciated.

  • 2
    Do you mean organize, or do you mean manage? It might help if you add a sentence or two, and elaborate on what you're trying to convey by "organize complexity."
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 4:02
  • I mean organize. As in, "When performing object-oriented analysis and design, the core imperative is to organize complexity. Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 21:41
  • 3
    In Pittsburgh, you redd up complexity; i.e., you bring order out of chaos. "Would yinz [i.e., you, plural] please redd up this room? Looks like a tornado hit it!" Probably not widely applicable, however, except in Picksburgh! Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 16:13
  • 1
    @rhetorician It's a slippy concept. Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 15:21
  • 1
    @StevenJOwens: Indeed. N'at. Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 16:35

4 Answers 4


The mathematical procedures related to acting on complexity are

  • Resolve.
    Resolution, in Mathematics, means to figure out and chart a structure on the intended target of resolution.

  • Reduce.
    Resolution of complexity enables us to see the relationships within the members of a particular complexity, which thence allows us to reduce the complexity. However, resolution may lead to but is not reduction of complexity.

  • Normalize.
    Normalization means to reorganize a complexity into canonical terms and forms. Normalization is almost always part of resolving a complexity.

    • We need to normalize the terminology so that a broom is still called a broom and not a spade across the web of complexity we are dealing with.
    • Normalize the relationships down to their primitives or lowest common denominators, so that we are able to recognise and equate similar and equivalent relationships and then hold each type of common of relationships as common factors.
  • Transform. A complexity can rarely be transformed without it first being normalized and resolved.

  • Operate. Another reason why we need to normalize and resolve a complexity is the need to operate on it. Operation might include addition, subtraction, various interactions. We cannot operate and interaction between two complexities unless they have been normalized to the same terms and have respectively been resolved.

In the final analysis, I recommend the word resolve, resolution, which itself would encompass having to normalize, reduce, transform and operate on a complexity.


You might consider that the technical term here is


This is the verb form.

Code search the purpose of organizing operations. These dynamic activities are handled via architectural patterns. These architectural patterns structure the code in an organization-follows-function style typically represented in file systems and object-orientation.

All of these structure the code.


A common programming term used in contexts such as this is "refactor".

  • From the OP's example, I think maintainability could be an alternative - he's not looking to actively refactor code afaict.
    – Alok
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 23:40

I don't think organize and complexity pair well.

Why not:

simplify complex problems


break down complex problems into simple components.


elegantly reduce complex problems by organizing them better.

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