Is there a word or term defined as: the wrong solution due to being overly specified?

This can happen when someone less knowledgable in a field suggests a specific solution to an expert, when stating the general problem or end-goal would be better since the expert is able to find a more appropriate solution.

For example: Telling a mechanic your car needs new brakes (which may not be true), when you should have just said the wheels are making an odd noise and allowing the mechanic to determine the correct solution.

  • 2
    "Amateur hour."
    – Ricky
    Nov 20, 2015 at 15:20
  • Maybe "carrying an uninformed theory of coal mining to Newcastle."
    – Sven Yargs
    Nov 21, 2015 at 6:45

4 Answers 4


Your example seems to demonstrate the XY problem:

The XY problem is asking about your attempted solution rather than your actual problem. This leads to enormous amounts of wasted time and energy, both on the part of people asking for help, and on the part of those providing help.


Instead of allowing the mechanic to get to determine what the real issue is, the person tells the expert what the solution should be ("change brakes").


In the wacky world of IT Systems we call this approach 'solutionizing' - that is to say, going straight for an end-solution without building up to the most appropriate solution from initial problems and diagnoses etc. Sadly I cannot find a citation for the word that reflects this somewhat colloquial usage.

It is fairly common when talking to business users that they will ask for a 'solution' that they have envisaged is required ("fit new brakes"), rather than describing the problem they see ("wheels are making odd noises") and allowing specialists to define the correct solution to the problem. This is an effect that most IT delivery people watch out for and attempt to prevent.

Unfortunately it does not automatically carry the meaning that the solution defined is always the wrong one. Sometimes it may be the right solution, but when there has been no process of proper diagnosis it can often be incorrect.


The related notions of “jumping to conclusions” and “the fallacy of the single cause” might describe such situations.

Jumping to conclusions is when:

one "judge[s] or decide[s] something without having all the facts; to reach unwarranted conclusions"

The fallacy of the single cause … is a fallacy of questionable cause that occurs when it is assumed that there is a single, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.

(both from Wikipedia)


"superfluous and presumptuous"

  • 2
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    Nov 20, 2015 at 22:39

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