Sometimes a simple question can shatter the way you look at things.
What if you worked at the Social Security Administration and someone asked you for the data on the number of people in the U.S. over 100 years old. When the data was examined, you discovered that 6.5 million people aged 112 or older were still listed as alive according to Social Security Admin records. Many still receiving social security benefits. One simple question and now the Social Security Admin is being asked “How could this happen?” and they are looking for ways to reorganize the data. The data they believed was fairly accurate proved to have no logical checkpoints. Just cross-checking the Master Death Index to Medicare Patients has shown that very few of the over 111-year-olds had entered Medicare claims and that those that did weren’t 111 years old. The cross check was an easy concept but one that no one ever thought of using until that one simple question revealed a crack in the system.
Or imagine that you are about 20 months old. All your life Mommy and Daddy have been there tending to all your needs. To you, Mommy, Daddy and you are one unit. Then one day, you crawl, scoot, run or walk around the corner of the chair or into the next room, and Mommy says “What are doing over there?” And that’s the day the light bulb lights up! “She doesn’t know what I’m doing? Aren’t we the same person?” and thus begins the Terrible Twos and saying “NO” to everything!
Another example was Ambient, a sleep medication. One day a doctor asked why so many of his female patients had issues waking up the next morning, even though they took the appropriate dosage. All of his male patients had no such issues. Further research was done and suddenly the medical community found that the female body synthesized the medication differently; therefore, the prescribed dosage tested in trails based on men was not the appropriate dosage for women. Suddenly the whole concept of drug trails on just men was proved flawed.
My simple question came a few weeks ago: “Can a budget be entered in Spitfire?” Since Budgeting/Forecasting/Cost Analysis is one of the most widely used and appreciated features in our Spitfire Project Management System, how could a current user not know this! Our website mentions it. We have a user guide called Focus on Budgets and Period Distributions. We even offer training videos on budget, forecast and analysis. Yet, somehow, there was a disconnect between our information and our client. Now I’m taking a second look at our documentation, training, and client website to find ways to improve our ability to relay information to our client base.
Although a simple question can cause us shock, dismay, distress, or confusion, it’s always a good idea to take a second look and use the question as a Wake Up call to make improvements. That has always been our philosophy here at Spitfire Management, and will continue to be so.Tweet