Yogi Berra

Things That Make You Go Hmmm (Part 1)

One of my favorite philosophers is Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra.

If you have not yet studied his quotes, I strongly suggest you look them up. His declaration “I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question” can be interpreted similar to the quote “the more you know, the more you realize how much you do not know” (author unknown). When asked a question outside your current knowledge, you have three choices: plead ignorance (the humble approach), find the answer (the intellectual approach), or B.S. (the humorous approach, if done correctly). The choice is yours.

When my son was about to graduate high school, we took a trip to preview the college campus he would be attending that fall. The university is located about 5 hours from our house and my wife, son, and I planned to leave by 7:00 AM to have ample time for lunch prior to our 1 PM scheduled tour of the campus. My wife has never been good with clocks and our departure was closer to 8 AM instead. I made up some time on the drive down but we still had little time to eat lunch, prompting my wife to comment “we need to just slow down so we are not in such a hurry all the time”. Pondering that for a minute, I realized that if she did not slow down when we were trying to leave that morning, we wouldn’t have been in a hurry to begin with. Though an ironic phrase in the context of our travel that day, her observation is accurate in other situations.

I have considered the phrase “not enough time to do it right the first time, but enough time to fix it later” to be a hindsight perspective of armchair quarterbacks. If somebody purposely plans a shortcut that will knowingly result in massive rework later, please do not send me your resume. I don’t ever remember hearing myself say that phrase but do consider a larger context when evaluating budgets and project constraints placed on decision makers accused of not doing it correctly by those in armchairs. On the other hand, I’ve seen sloppy and unmanageable code produced out of laziness or lack of skills which would have never made it past a proper code review. So, like the other discussion, there is some merit to it.

So, how does this all relate to Information Management?

Business involvement and defined requirements are the foundation for Information Management decisions. Business users know the core information they need and are usually eager to ask anybody from IT who will listen to help them find and manage it.

Unfortunately for them, business users are constrained by the budget, capacity, and capabilities that their Information Technology department can provide. The answer lies in setting priorities and working as partners with each other to define an Information Management solution that gives the business control of their information.

Rushing through requirements definition without adequately identifying success goals leaves the effort with unfulfilled business users. Clear goals and expectations on both sides is needed.

I’ll leave you with one more Yogi Berra quote, “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is”. Think about it!

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