What will happen next?
In the last post I suggested that we shouldn’t be shy about questioning assumptions. But what? ALL assumptions?
Assumptions serve a purpose, otherwise they wouldn’t have lasted so long. They enable us to take shortcuts. Suppose I assume it is going to be sunny and don’t take a coat when I walk to the neighbourhood shops and get caught in a downpour. What are the consequences? I get wet and I am uncomfortable. But it doesn’t last long, and I am the only one affected. True, it would have taken but a moment or so to check my iPhone, so I probably also feel an idiot. But that’s it. Cost is small, temporary, and impact is limited.
Now consider an infrastructure decision where:
- the costs are large,
- the consequences last a long time, and
- they impact many people.
So when the consequences are low, by all means save yourself the effort if you wish, but if they are high – and particularly when the consequences are to be borne by others – we owe it to them to check, to question, to verify.
The DESCARTES SQUARE is a useful tool to ensure that ALL consequences are considered: