(noun) A set of steps used to compensate for or avoid dealing with a systemic problem rather than fixing it.
Typically used in regard to computers or industrial work-flow.
The term "workaround" implies that there should be a quicker, more efficient, or otherwise better way to accomplish things. But also that such improved methods are unavailable due to some circumstances beyond the control of those directly involved.
It's been noted that Version 2.5 can not read the files normally produced by Version 3.1. The workaround typically used to solve this problem involves saving the file in an unusual format then manually changing the file extension.
He was by far the most inept and inefficient person on the team, but the details of his contract made it prohibitively expensive to fire him outright. So his co-workers invented elaborate workarounds to avoid having to deal with him, effectively making his job unnecessary.
a sad excuse for a bug fix.
Nullsoft forum lackies suggest using cross fade and other weird settings in winamp 5.01 that effect other aspects of audio file play in order to workaround the bug that produces gaps between cd audio tracks.
When trying to accomplish a task in a bureaucratic environment (the DMV for example), the typically lazy civil servants will refer you to an office, who's occupants will refer you back to the same office, until you proceed to either lay on the floor in fetal position, or pull out a .357 and try to kill as many people you can so the dogs stop barking.
A typical workaround:
You: Excuse me, is this the transcript office?
Officious Prick: Yes it is.
You: I need this error on my transcript repaired.
Officious Prick: Oh, I see, that needs to be fixed by the transcript error department, it's 3 blocks down and across the highway.
...30 minutes later
You: Hi, was referred here by the transcript department, I need this error fixed.
Visibly Bored Mixed Ethnicity Clerk: Oh, we only fix errors within the system, not outside. You need to see the transcript department. bureaucracy
You: Did you just hear a dog bark?