Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Peaking behind the knowledge curtain

After threatening for years to start a blog Martin Widlake has finally put fingers to keyboard. Some of you may recall that I am a fan of his UKOUG presentations. His writing is entertaining and insightful too. Despite his blog being called Yet Another OracleBlog he has not written much on Oracle, but I expect that will come.

In the meantime Martin has revisited "The knowledge curtain", a concept he discussed in one of those UKOUG presentations. The curtain is that barrier of misunderstanding which separates users and IT staff. It is one of the main reasons why some IT projects overrun or exceed budget or fail to fully meet the users' expectations.1 The good news is, the barrier is just a curtain. It's not a wall topped with barbed wire, it's not a shark-filled moat. I won't give away Martin's analysis: you can read it for yourselves

This does seem like a good time to mention something Rob James said at a BCS SPA meeting from a while back. In a discussion about rules engines he observed that these days it is not uncommon for the IT department to have a better understanding of the business than the users. The users only know what the business rules should be: the IT staff know what the computer systems actually do.

1. Whereas the occasional IT catastrophes, the ones which make the headlines, are usually due to a single error.

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Blogger Phantom Nitpicker said...

It's a pity he's already peaked.

17 June 2009 at 14:45:00 GMT-7  
Blogger Martin said...

Thank you for mentioning my Blog Andrew. More Oracle techie content is coming...

I like Rob James' thought that sometimes the IT staff know more about the business than the users - I suspect that it is true for an overall view but not the specifics.

18 June 2009 at 03:53:00 GMT-7  
Blogger APC said...

Rob was commenting on the specifics.

Rules are in the format GIVEN-WHEN-THEN (set-up, event, decision). The business users think they know the appropriate decisions for any permutation of set-up and event but the IT staff know what decision the systems would actually take.

Whose view is the more correct?

18 June 2009 at 07:43:00 GMT-7  

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