Most of us fall prey to making judgements.  We may even justify our judgements using a complex array of reasons from those based on our abilities, position and social based emotions/norms.  The reality is that in just about every case we are woefully inept.  Equipped with single situations we compound and confuse the debate with single point of reference arguements used to justify our judgments.  Why is this?

The obvious answer is expediency, we deeply believe we have the answer and use our judgement to quickly dispatch the topic under consideration.  In almost all cases the topic is far more complex and more disserving of consideration at levels that are far greater.  The human response when this is put forth is that it is totally unnecessary, but is it?

I recently encounter a long standing riff between family members in which one person took the position of silence in response to another person’s assaults, and ultimately a decision that will have result in possible far reaching remorseful regret.  The person, failed to consider the multitude of reasons why and chose to focus on the dataset of faults that occurred.  Decisions were made, hurt abounded and yet the justification is rendered not on the whole but only a small part.  What would you do, what should you do or should you do nothing?  The obvious abundance of emotions may preempt a timely (now) response but rather to allow the climate in which it is occuring to settle a bit before focusing attention.  In matters such as this it might be a case to simply let it be and see whether the ‘judger’ comes to a new level of realize or to permit them to live by their judgement and to accept the outcome.

I see similiar conditions in the software engineering realm when we draw conclusions about software readiness where the judgemental focus is based on the negatives and fails to holistically weigh the true worth of the outcome.  Since people know the risks associated with judgement there is also the potential for a totally non-judgemental stance.  In these cases they level the outcome to bear evidence to what is and not be more proactive in preventing certain outcomes.  These too are quite dangerous because in these cases it shifts the need from judgment as a preventative tool to one in which we are totally reliant upon natural outcomes.

I recently had some communication with an person about predictive analytics in which he point out that the company who made predictions about certain technological outcomes was totally off base.  There are several faults in judgement and the corresponding analytics.

  • the analytics were narrowly based both in terms of size, source, timing and relative time applicability,
  • Analytics were driven based on commercial and not informational value.  As a result, the end is being used to justify the means and not allowing the means to stand on their own basis of further use.  Again I revert this back to being the result of expedience and not reliability,
  • Misunderstanding that analytics are not necessarily a predictive tool but one that strives to expose trends in behavior as the potential catalyst for ‘possible’ outcome, and
  • Finally the information totally lacks a statistical basis.  A percent or ratio is not analytics except at the simplistly lowest form, that of reporting.  Analytics are not simply putting data combinations together and producing the obvious relationships, it also involves the use of multiple datapoints to further substantiate the validity of the judgement.

I ask the question whether we can rely upon only one thread of thinking in making judgements or whether we need to take a much more holistic approach?  Can we rely upon the human emotion (or commercial consideration) as a part of the equation which can only possibly further distort judgement?  Must we rely upon much broader analytic collection, using technology in both a static and realtime sense, to make ‘judging’ a bit more within our real of possible abilities?  Or do we simply let things be and see what happens.  Those that know ME know that I’m not a wait and see type guy.  I don’t wait and see because I believe in proactive efforts and to produce outcomes that are real and that are valued.  Without this… I would in fact simply sit back and wait for the inevidable to happen.