Thursday, September 30, 2010

Warning: Data Is As Data Does

It has been an exciting time. The guru, FAC and representatives of numerous customers have talked, listened, shared knowledge, raised issues, discussed concerns, worried aloud, boasted now and then ... how can we keep all of this straight? More importantly, how can we keep it in perspective?

Once again, the devil is in the details. And the knowledge -- our goal -- is there as well. Data, retrieved, stored and misunderstood could be worse than no data at all. Yet it is precisely the content retained from the Customer Listening Meeting that holds the key to future progress.

How can we record that content, rationalize it, objectify it, ensure that we retain the real knowledge contained within the data, and not just the data itself. How can we ensure that we retain knowledge, and not just data.

Numbers often speak more loudly than words. This is particularly true if they are backed-up with detailed verbal documentation. Objectivity and quantification, with their strong links to mathematics -- the basis of engineering -- holds a certain comfort level in a technological environment. But how will we even begin to sift through all of the meetings' output, much less quantify it? Can we transform the subjective into the objective?

As was true for the Customer Listening Meeting, the achievement of this goal begins with the process. With a specific process that is well-documented and understood by all who participate in the planning activity, a solid basis for future progress is put in place.

Please come back for the next installments of this blog. We will roll up our sleeves and get to work once again!