Why do you make the decisions you do?

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28Sep2010

Why do you make the decisions you do?

  • By Andrew Garrett
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Most people base their IT decisions on something – it’s not just random choice.

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If they don’t work in the IT field, they often base their decisions on information that’s lacking in some way – bad information. In fact, that’s also true of many people who do work in IT, but that’s a subject for another post.

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Sometimes, the information used is out of date – it was true, once upon a time.

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Sometimes, the information is taken from the wrong context – it’s kinda true, but not relevant in this case.

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Other times, the information is just plain wrong – they were told something that was never true or (being polite here) was highly subjective.

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One client we were looking at working with had a wildly strong bias against HP printers. Absolutely refused to even consider them for their office. They were all “crap” and did horrible things to computers.

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When we dug a little deeper into the background behind this bias, it turned out that he was writing off the whole range of HP printers on the basis of his wife’s experience with the cheapest, bottom of the line HP printer. The experience was 5 years ago. Also, her experience was to do with getting the printer working on OS X (the Apple Mac operating system) which was barely supported by any printer manufacturer at that point.

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Considering that, for their offices, we were looking at a mid-range multi-function laser printer (ie, an entirely different range of printers), some time about now (that is to say, 5 years after his experiences), and on a Windows based network, his bias was more than a little bit unreasonable. More than that, it was potentially damaging to the company – by limiting the options based on bad information, there’s less choice. Eliminating an option for bad reasons just doesn’t make sense.

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Why did you make the decisions you’ve made? Are your irrational biases showing?

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