Too Much Information Coming At You!


It is virtually impossible to enjoy any connected electronic device today without enduring countless hours of meaningless interruptions.

I’m talking about radio, TV, Internet, smartphones and even the library research computer! Seriously—when was the last time you enjoyed commercial-free entertainment or Internet browsing? Don’t say the movie theater—unless you show up 15 minutes after the advertised start time.

Even such important events like the Democratic and Republican debates are not without commercial interruption. It is truly mind blowing.

Listening to the latest round of “as advertised on TV” statistics, I’m shocked and amazed that my wife and I actually didn’t meet on a dating site. That by some magical event, we were able to conceive and have a healthy baby without pharmaceutical support. That our child actually went to college—and I mean one with real brick and mortar—and got a real education in person.

Francis Bacon, an English philosopher in the 1600s, is credited as stating, “the remedy is worse than the disease.” Is this dude capable of time travel? Must be so! He must have listened to the endless disclaimers that consume at least half of any drug commercial.  (By the way, is there anything you can’t fix with drugs?)

I have two big gripes:

  1. The Weather Channel is not the Shopping Channel. The last thing I need is my screen real estate being consumed with a 50% discount on a pair of flip flops during the worst winter blizzard in this century.
  2. Targeted advertising. Reading one review on a “once in 10 year purchase” like a food freezer does not mean I want every ad, promotion or review for every make, model and configuration of freezers for the foreseeable future. Just because I clicked on a link of interest does not mean my whole life is encapsulated around that topic—and nothing else—and that I want to be flooded with “people also read.”

What pushed me over the edge to write about all this visual and audio pollution was Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix International Raceway. I am not a NASCAR follower. I might watch one race each season. However, last Sunday my wife and I visited friends who are true NASCAR nuts. The TV was on and tuned into the race. What blew me away was the actual TV broadcast.

The screen was sectioned into three parts:

  1. Half of the screen was ongoing commercials like you would expect with normal programming about drugs, trucks, vacations, dating sites, law firms, insurance, pet care, etc., etc., etc.
  2. One half of the remaining screen was advertising by NASCAR-specific vendors—more specifically, the sponsors for various cars.
  3. Finally, one-quarter of the screen was the actual race. Seriously, just 1/4 of the screen was dedicated to the race!

So what does all this have to do with the Spitfire Project Management System?

Well, when we designed the system we were aware that there is a lot of information involved in project management. As a result, two areas where Spitfire is extremely strong are the Watchdog Alerts and the Home Inbox.

Watchdog Alerts

When properly configured, Spitfire helps every user, especially those who handle huge volumes of work, to work more efficiently. Based on the concept of management by exception, Watchdog Alerts continuously monitor actions by any project partner. Reminders can be sent to responsible parties of approaching due dates, thus keeping all the balls moving at the appropriate pace. Also, if something slips past, overdue items don’t just linger unattended but are quickly assigned to an escalation procedure to create visibility as well as additional actionable events.

Home Inbox

When we designed the Home Inbox, we thought about the hundreds of items that happen on projects at any moment and how some of those items are just noise to different people, but others need attention from specific individuals. Based on the concept of awareness management, the Home Inbox can read like an evolving novel detailing all the minutiae related to each project. Instead of having someone go looking for important documents, those documents appear, ready and waiting, in one location.

However, just as the unrelenting flow of commercial advertising through our connected devices desensitizes us to the actual message through sheer volume, too much of anything can be counterproductive.

While we encourage every user to configure our system to drive the most benefit, we also strongly suggest “balanced programming” to optimize the effectiveness of the Watch Alerts and the Home Inbox.

If you would like to see how the Spitfire Project Management System can deliver timely information to the appropriate person while creating operational efficiencies without increasing managerial overhead, request your free demo.


This entry was posted in Project Management by Dennis Stroud. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dennis Stroud

Dennis Stroud is Spitfire's President, resident Microsoft Excel guru and the go-to guy for all questions about Budgets, Forecasts, Schedule of Values and project accounting. His postings on this site are all his own and do not necessarily represent Microsoft or Spitfire's positions, strategies or opinions.

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