The law of triviality is C. Northcote Parkinson's 1957 argument that people within an organization commonly or typically give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.[1] Parkinson provides the example of a fictional committee whose job was to approve the plans for a nuclear power plant spending the majority of its time on discussions about relatively minor but easy-to-grasp issues, such as what materials to use for the staff bicycle shed, while neglecting the proposed design of the plant itself, which is far more important and a far more difficult and complex task.

The law has been applied to software development and other activities.[2] The terms bicycle-shed effect, bike-shed effect, and bike-shedding were coined based on Parkinson's example; it was popularised in the Berkeley Software Distribution community by the Danish software developer Poul-Henning Kamp in 1999[3] and, due to that, has since become popular within the field of software development generally.