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Common Sense Protocol - Where to Get the Facts?

It is critical that the analyst go where the facts are to learn about them. This means going where the work is done and learning from the people who are doing it. If there are a number of people doing the same work, one who is particularly knowledgeable should be selected or several may be interviewed.

Unfortunately, analysts often try to collect data in indirect ways. Occasionally this may be for no better reason than that the analyst is too lazy to go where the work is done. Or, the analyst may have been instructed to keep the project a secret because management wants to avoid stirring up concern about job loss. Unfortunately, when employees learn (and they will) that secret projects are underway in their areas, their anxiety levels will rise all the higher, encouraging more non-cooperation.

Introverts tend to be attracted to research type work and they also tend to find excuses to avoid meeting people. They are often tempted to use written procedures as their source of data rather than going directly to the operating people. Or, they may simply assume data to avoid having to go after it.

Sometimes an analyst arrives in the supervisor's office (a proper practice when visiting a department for the first time) and the supervisor wants to provide the information rather than having the analyst bother the employee who does the work. This could be motivated by a sincere desire to help. The supervisor may also want to slant the data. Regardless of the motive, it separates the analyst from the work place and the person doing the work.

Whatever the reasons, each time an analyst settles for collecting data at a distance from reality, the quality of the analysis suffers. Guesses replace facts. Fantasy replaces reality. Where the differences are small the analyst may slide by, but professionals should not try to slide by. Where the differences are large the analyst may be seriously embarrassed. Meanwhile, the quality of the work suffers and, in the worst cases, major commitments to work methods are made based on faulty premises.


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