Thursday, June 13, 2013

Communication versus Babble


(Note: This was originally written in 2008)
Babble is aptly named after the Tower of Babel where, if you believe what is written in the TaNaKh or Bible, The Almighty confused the tongues of men so that they could not understand each other. And so it is with communications in Information Technology (IT). Rolando Hernandez and I were talking today about having a meeting where we would have both business users and IT users (commonly called geeks or nerds or...) in the same meeting. Here is the problem:

If you talk about objects, attributes, LHS, RHS, EHS, Rete, Rete 2, Rete III, Sequential Rules, etc. in a meeting with Business Analysts, PMs, CEOs, CIOs or CTOs you will get lots of blank looks while they try to determine whether or not to call the guys in white coats to escort you out of the building. BUT, if you talk about ease of programming, ROI, IROI, NETP, NET-NETP and things like that, then they will applaud you for being able to communicate.

On the other hand, if you explain objects, attributes, LHS, RHS, EHS, Rete, Rete 2, Rete III, Sequential Rules, etc in the meeting with the Rule Geeks, then they will just get up and leave the room since you would be, effectively, talking down to them. Using the terms is OK because the Rule Geeks understand them fluently. BUT, mention ROI, IROI, NETP, NET-NETP and the Rule Geeks will not come back - that is NOT why they want to use a rulebased system.

Another great example: Rolando Hernandez sent out an email to various users and business guys where he was explaining things in relation to Zachman's Chart on Enterprise Architecture. He talked about the Executives and Managers being on row 1 or row 2 while the implementors, the coders, would be on row 5 or 6. However, he forgot to mention that he was referring to Zachman's Chart and the geeks were thinking that the managers would be sitting on the first row in the meeting and the programmers would have to sit in the back of the room on row 5 or row 6.

On ANY presentation you HAVE to know your audience; Geek Speak is cool with Geeks. Financial Analysis is great with the CxO guys. So, Rolando is now proposing a monthly meeting in DRG for Business guys from 5:00 - 6:00 and the subject will be rulebased systems (usually sponsored by a specific vendor) and the information will be on HOW the rulebased systems can help the company increase the bottom line. Then, from 6:00 to 7:00 there will be a social hour (yes, a whole hour) where the Vendors, Business Guys and Geeks get together and just hang out with drinks and maybe supper of some kind, and then there will be a two hour meeting from 7:00 to 9:00 on some technical part (DRG) of rulebased system just using Geek Speak.

Same room. Same subject. Different audiences. Different words. What a deal!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen! Why more folks can not learn to speak properly is beyond me! English has become the lingua franca of the civilized world and, yet, most of those who speak the language do not take the time to learn to speak it properly. And, speaking properly is essential to proper communication. "Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?" [The very first song in "My Fair Lady"]