The Discouragement of Data

Imagine being omniscient. Knowing everything that has happened, everything that is happening now, even being able to see into the many possible futures. Sounds kinda slick, no? Certainly it would help in the stock market or casino, if perhaps be a little disconcerting in personal life.

The recent boom of interest in (big) data and is in some ways long overdue. Everyone says they want more insights, and that ready access to the facts will help steer decision-making for the better. But is this is actually true?

Psychology, organizational behavior, related disciplines, and even casual observation of office politics suggest that more information isn’t always welcome. People ask me a lot about how projects can be (un)successful, solutions choices, lessons learned, best practices, and the like. They seem surprised when I talk more about the human elements than the technology, but here’s what I see as more common issues:

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