Friday 4 June 2010

Claims Justification

So often we hear press releases, blogs, whitepapers, tweets, marketing powerpoints or spoken (or whispered) claims concerning IT technology or (increasingly) architectures, about subjective & relative statements (faster, cheaper, more available, better, sexier etc) BUT

How often is any justification, edvidence or proof given for this?

I'd go so far as to state that claims without justification aren't just unhelpful to anyone, they are downright dangerous :-
  • Sets false expectations, that can never realistically be achieved - thus positioning everybody for a dismal future of perceived failure
  • Wastes customers time having to evaluate the claims and justify what that actual possibility is and the context required in order to achieve such claim (if at all possible)
  • Detracts from the real positives that genuinely are out there in vendor land (honest there are some but you need to look very hard)
  • Ruins the credibility of the parties making the claims
  • Destroys the trust the customer has in the party making the claim, which means all future claims will have to be validated 
One of the better things of the evolution of humans is that in early times quacks made random & often fraudulent claims, however through scientific method we've moved into an era where claims made in that area are now fully validated before being accepted. Why does this appear to be so hard for IT technology providers?

So to be clear, if you make a claim on performance, availability, functionality, commercial benefits etc be sure to be able to justify the claim objectively with facts & evidence showing how the claim was formulated and any assumptions or prerequisites. Next you must be prepeared to share this information with exactly the same forum and audience you made the original claim to.

If you don't justify your claims expect me to a) shout loudly that you make fiction based claims, b) ignore your claims totally, c) regard your company & technology with considerable disdain...

There are words for people who make frequent claims without justification - and do you really want to have the life-span and popularity rating of a politician? If you can't, or won't, justify your claims then I'd very much prefer you don't make any...

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