What Do You Know When You Don’t?

Knowing something is half the battle.  Communicating that something is the other half, but that is the subject of another post.

Knowing how your customers use your product and how they want to interact with you is a great thing.  Two major steps toward becoming customer oriented.

But then you realize that what you know, might not be what you know.  You see signs that your data may be incomplete or inaccurately measured.  What do you know now?

1) You need to stop and reevaluate what you know.
2) Depending on the issue, you might be realizing that what you know, might be valid to some degree.
3) On the other-hand, you might be realizing that an entire rebuild of the data warehouse is in order.
4) You start making a mind map of the situation to visualize the scope of the problem.
5) You start counting the knowns, the unknowns, the could-be’s and the what-if’s.
6) You then start to think that maybe if you ignore it, it might, with a one in a trillion chance, actually fix itself.

Then you realize you just reconstructed the famous Donald Rumsfeld speech:
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” – Donald Rumsfeld (more Rumsfeld quotes)

In the end you may know much more than when you started.  But the process of determining what you don’t know and what you do know is a great one!  It is called validation. 

Everyone should have a process of validation.

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