A workaround is a bypass of a recognized problem or limitation in a system. A workaround is typically a temporary fix that implies that a genuine solution to the problem is needed. But workarounds are frequently as creative as true solutions, involving outside the box thinking in their creation.
Typically they are considered brittle in that they will not respond well to further pressure from a system beyond the original design. In implementing a workaround it is important to flag the change so as to later implement a proper solution.
Placing pressure on a workaround may result in later system failures. For example, in computer programming workarounds are often used to address a problem or anti-pattern in a library, such as an incorrect return value. When the library is changed, the workaround may break the overall program functionality, effectively becoming an anti-pattern, since it may expect the older, wrong behaviour from the library.
Workarounds can also be a useful source of ideas for improvement of products or services.
When the legal system places an obstacle in the form of a restriction or requirement, the law may provide a possible workaround. Laws intended to tap into what may seem to be deep pockets may lead to what are at least temporary solutions such as:
Some well-known acronyms were created to work around bureaucractic or contracting restrictions:
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