Even if you don’t work in IT, this discussion of decision-making by Malcolm Gladwell at the RSA conference is worth checking out. He makes some interesting points about how gathering information is not the critical mechanism for making good decisions. In fact, gathering too much information can actually damage your ability to make good decisions. While that seems counter-intuitive, the more I think about it the more I think that it’s consistent with my own experience.
Click the 4th link on the left to hear Gladwell’s talk – otherwise you’ll listen to a bunch of IT stuff that may or may not be of interest if you’re not in the IT security business. Clearly, the RSA folks want to discourage “deep linking“
I’ve had to make a number of big decisions in recent years, some of which I agonized over and some of which I decided quickly, and I have begun to realize more and more that the amount of analysis that goes into a decision doesn’t necessarily have that big an impact on the quality of the eventual decision. Sometimes all that extra information gathering is wasted time, simply gathering more support for a decision that has already been made (or could have been made, based on the immediately available information). Sometimes the extra information just confuses the situation, adding noise that obscures the critical facts of the situation.