Commendable Comments (Part 3)

In a July 2008 blog post on Men with Pens (one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2009), James Chartrand explained:

“Comment sections are communities strengthened by people.”

“Building a blog community creates a festival of people” where everyone can, as Chartrand explained, “speak up with great care and attention, sharing thoughts and views while openly accepting differing opinions.”

I agree with James (and not just because of his cool first name) – my goal for this blog is to foster an environment in which a diversity of viewpoints is freely shared without bias.  Everyone is invited to get involved in the discussion and have an opportunity to hear what others have to offer.  This blog's comment section has become a community strengthened by your contributions.

This is the third entry in my ongoing series celebrating my heroes – my readers.


Commendable Comments

On The Fragility of Knowledge, Andy Lunn commented:

“In my field of Software Development, you simply cannot rest and rely on what you know.  The technology you master today will almost certainly evolve over time and this can catch you out.  There's no point being an expert in something no one wants any more!  This is not always the case, but don't forget to come up for air and look around for what's changing.

I've lost count of the number of organizations I've seen who have stuck with a technology that was fresh 15 years ago and a huge stagnant pot of data, who are now scrambling to come up to speed with what their customers expect.  Throwing endless piles of cash at the problem, hoping to catch up.

What am I getting at?  The secret I've learned is to adapt.  This doesn't mean jump on every new fad immediately, but be aware of it.  Follow what's trending, where the collective thinking is heading and most importantly, what do your customers want?

I just wish more organizations would think like this and realize that the systems they create, the data they hold, and the customers they have are in a constant state of flux.  They are all projects that need care and attention.  All subject to change, there's no getting away from it, but small, well planned changes are a lot less painful, trust me.”

On DQ-Tip: “Data quality is primarily about context not accuracy...”, Stephen Simmonds commented:

“I have to agree with Rick about data quality being in the eye of the beholder – and with Henrik on the several dimensions of quality.

A theme I often return to is 'what does the business want/expect from data?' – and when you hear them talk about quality, it's not just an issue of accuracy.  The business stakeholder cares – more than many seem to notice – about a number of other issues that are squarely BI concerns:

– Timeliness ('WHEN I want it')
– Format ('how I want to SEE it') – visualization, delivery channels
– Usability ('how I want to then make USE of it') – being able to extract information from a report (say) for other purposes
– Relevance ('I want HIGHLIGHTED the information that is meaningful to me')

And so on.  Yes, accuracy is important, and it messes up your effectiveness when delivering inaccurate information.  But that's not the only thing a business stakeholder can raise when discussing issues of quality.  A report can be rejected as poor quality if it doesn't adequately meet business needs in a far more general sense.  That is the constant challenge for a BI professional.”

On Mistake Driven Learning, Ken O'Connor commented:

“There is a Chinese proverb that says:

'Tell me and I'll forget; Show me and I may remember; Involve me and I'll understand.'

I have found the above to be very true, especially when seeking to brief a large team on a new policy or process.  Interaction with the audience generates involvement and a better understanding.

The challenge facing books, whitepapers, blog posts etc. is that they usually 'Tell us,' they often 'Show us,' but they seldom 'Involve us.'

Hence, we struggle to remember, and struggle even more to understand.  We learn best by 'doing' and by making mistakes.”

You Are Awesome

Thank you very much for your comments.  For me, the best part of blogging is the dialogue and discussion provided by interactions with my readers.  Since there have been so many commendable comments, please don't be offended if your commendable comment hasn't been featured yet.  Please keep on commenting and stay tuned for future entries in the series.

By the way, even if you have never posted a comment on my blog, you are still awesome — feel free to tell everyone I said so.


Related Posts

Commendable Comments (Part 1)

Commendable Comments (Part 2)