Sunday, June 29, 2008

Doing what you know or doing what is right

Often people do what they are used to do, without any reflection. If it has worked once people tend to hope it will work again. Stopping to think and gathering and looking at evidence is often ignored in favor of doing the normal thing. Since conditions will vary, what was done previously may not be the right thing to do.

When you are hired you are asked for experience, measured as number of years working with a given technology, indicating that you are expected to do the same over and over again what you are experienced at, regardless of what the conditions are.

There is also a second kind of experience, where you have seen lots and lots of different things and you know that doing what you are used and expected to is going to go in the wrong direction. There may not always be very much you can do the improve the situation.

A better approach would be to practice an evidence based approach. If there are no evidence, you need to first run an experiment in order to obtain the data needed to make a sound decision.

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