Saturday, August 28, 2004

Don't Use These Tired Sayings Anymore

When I'm King, I'm going to ban certain IT catch phrases:

Chop-O-MaticSlice and Dice: Used to describe the act of using a data analysis tool to sort, subtotal, and filter data. One could say that he is 'manipulating the data', or 'processing the numbers', or 'making a nice graph'. But, unless he works for Ronco, let's keep the Chop-O-Matic out of the conversation.

The 80/20 Rule: I hear this constantly, and it has no basis in reality. In a recent article by Steve Fox , he debunks the rule:

...but it evokes another overused catch-all -- the ubiquitous 80/20 rule. As Darryl Mataya, a chief development officer, points out, "First it was used to describe resources: 80 percent of your CPU time will be used by 20 percent of your jobs; 80 percent of the cycles will be used by 20 percent of your code; 80 percent of your network traffic will be generated by 20 percent of your users. Now it is used to describe every conceivable management concept. Don't believe me -- Google it! Eighty percent of your management time should be spent on 20 percent of your employees, (or is it the other way around?) 80 percent of your Web traffic comes from 20 percent of your pages, ad nauseam. … It is well known by students of urban legend that a key characteristic of successful legends is un-provability. Ironically, this legend drips it. Not only does it involve separate coefficients on two typically difficult-to-measure values, it has the convenient mathematical characteristic of implying that the two factors are connected by a direct and inverse relationship. Zillions of invisible hands at work all day long on a 4-to-1 lever."

Damn! I had another one, but I can't think of it now. More later...

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