Schlagwort-Archive: Adjustment

When correct results are wrong

Riding an information wave, the question arises as to what is actually valid. Since the beginning, IT has struggled with the difficulty of pulling together data from multiple sources into one report to compute the data found and generate the final report from the results. As long as there is only one report, discrepancies are not apparent. Creating reports from independently running IT systems on the same issues brings unpredictable inconsistencies to light. The leading causes are the differently understood and independently recorded data sources and paths.

Reliable data increases the quality of a report.

  • One storage location
    Redundantly stored data inevitably leads due to erroneous input to inconsistencies, uncoordinated meanings, and different target dates. Global networking allows relevant report data to be stored in one place at a specified time. Plausibility checks minimize inaccurate entries. Eventually, costs are reduced with one storage location and, additionally, through avoiding errors and rework.
  • Standardized data format
    Different formats need to be cleansed (data cleansing) before they can be computed. Text fields need to be made computable, non-uniform units converted (orders of magnitude, such as thousands or millions; units of measure, such as meters and yards; currencies, such as Dollars and Euros), and an agreed number of decimal places supplied. Just deadlines in setting exchange rates blur values in reports. Predefined tables for conversion reduce inconsistencies.
  • Coordinated meaning
    You cannot see in a number what it is supposed to express. Different perspectives lead to distorted figures and statements. Let’s take the number of employees as an example. Are only permanent employees counted? As full-time equivalents or headcounts? Do temporary and part-time employees also count? Do interns count? Do external freelancers, consultants, and personnel leased count? The purpose determines the counting method. Does an area want to be more productive, or should the headcount be high? Before generating internal reports, the meaning of the term employee should be aligned. Otherwise, wrong conclusions will be drawn.
  • Synchronized reporting dates
    Reporting figures follow a local logic, serve the local management for control, and are determined by the conditions on the spot. It means that the creation by the local IT systems and the associated processes lead to an on-site up-to-datedness of the data. If it is retrieved on a centrally determined deadline, it may not match due to different periods. For example, if the local monthly values vary on the last business day due to various time zones – Wellington, New Zealand versus San Francisco, USA.
  • Prepared cross-checks
    Additional info can lead to different results. A hint provides the totals of the overall or unit results, which differ due to the mentioned difficulties or due to the varying views that do not match. If the expected numbers turn out too high, numbers may have been counted twice. If they turn out too low, numbers may have been misinterpreted or are simply lacking. Cross-checks are always needed! If we only have one report, the errors go unnoticed.
  • Continuous adjustment
    As errors only become apparent over time, data quality should be continuously observed. As soon as discrepancies occur, they should be understood and corrected, starting with the following report. In this way, you will eventually get a reliable reporting system.

Bottom line: If multiple data sources are available, input errors, fuzzy checkpoints, and different interpretations of data lead to hardly understood mistakes. If there are repeated mismatches, the readers no longer trust the report and the reporting party. Reliability is enhanced by ONE data source, a reconciled and processable data structure, unambiguous meaning, a synchronized target date, prepared cross-checks, and ongoing adjustment when errors are identified. The well-thought-out calculation path provides a correct result that is wrong if the data quality is poor.

The reticle – the ideal metaphor for aiming

Achieving or hitting a goal is difficult without an appropriate aiming device. It is not enough to be able to recognize and target a destination. It is also necessary to align with the existing conditions. When shooting over a long distance, this includes considering distance and crosswinds. At long range, a projectile is pulled downwards by gravity and possible down winds. At the same time, crosswinds cause the missile to be pushed to the side. Experienced shooters take the recognizable influences into account – as far as possible in advance and in any case based on the observation of the outcome. The shot is then readjusted accordingly. In business life, too, responsible people should not act without aiming.

The considerable aspects are similar for firing a cannon and in business.

  • Clear view
    In the interest of high accuracy, it is crucial to have the target in sight. Clear vision is made possible by sufficient light, low air opacity, and an appropriate magnification factor. Technical devices improve visibility additionally: e.g., night vision devices, thermal cameras, or radar equipment.
    The diverse aspects that determine business life rarely allow a clear view of the tasks – e.g., conspicuous roadblocks, clumsy division of labor, or unreasonable procedures.
    In almost all cases, an analysis of the current situation is required to reveal the weak points – e.g., evaluating the available data, interviewing staff and customers, or observing business routines.
    In those cases, the aiming devices show only a specific extract of the target area.
  • Aiming accuracy
    The reticle that enables orientation towards the target must be easily readable and hide the target only minimally. To better estimate deviations, there are the central target point and additional scales on the x- and y-axis, which enables the user to adapt to discrepancies.
    Since business activities must also cope with unexpected influences, the target devices should also allow for exact adjustment of the target – e.g., through different scenarios, actions, and participants.
    In any case, the target devices must allow exact adjustments.
  • Foreward-looking adjustment
    The further away a target is, the greater the influence on the projectile. For long-range shots, this is done by determining side effects: e.g., the distance, the target’s movement, the natural parabola of the projectile, and wind conditions. Experienced shooters use these factors to calculate a deviation from the central target point and align accordingly in the reticle.
    Also, business measures must always consider the influencing factors: e.g., limited resources, rigid processes, and IT and employee acceptance.
    In each case, unintended consequences have to be avoided by reaching the actual goal as precisely as possible.
  • Target Tracking
    The reticle not only serves to align with the target but also to observe whether the desired aim is reached. Depending on the distance, it takes time to see the effects. If the target is missed, a new target is adjusted in the reticle, and another shot is released.
    The business measures should also be tracked to readjust as soon as possible: e.g., involve additional employees and departments, extend tasks, or allocate more resources.
    It is always true that with the shot, the aiming does not end. The pursuit and adjustment of goals are essential for the achievement of objectives.

Bottom line: The reticle is a vital instrument for achieving the goals. It offers a clear view of the goal, creates the conditions for aiming accuracy, enables forward-looking adjustments and target tracking. Actions that occur without such an instrument have a low probability of hitting the target – unless somebody has so many means available that shehe can drop a burst of fire in the direction of the target, hoping that one bullet will hit it.
In the business world, initiatives need an appropriate aiming. Understanding the initial situation, including the existing influences, is crucial as the foresighted adaptation of actions to the determined conditions. Goal setting does not end with the release and start of the initiative but requires regular goal tracking, and afterward to adjust early on or set up further measures. The reticle of a riflescope is an excellent example of the tasks involved in aiming. This makes the reticle an ideal metaphor for aiming.