Be careful with absolutes

Be careful with absolutes

When I speak with clients I try to be careful about speaking in absolutes. I'll catch myself saying things like "The only way you can do that..." or "All associations have this challenge..." The proper way to say this is along the lines of "One of the best ways you can do that..." or "Most associations have this challenge..." Because the reality is that for any "rule" there are almost always exceptions. (Notice I didn't say for EVERY rule!)

Changing how we think and speak about these things is important because thinking in absolutes leads to business rules rife with exceptions. And exceptions are the bane of data management.

Yes, yes, we all have exceptions, and we all have to deal with them. But we don't need to write our business rules to manage to every exception. I've written about the dangers of exceptions many times, but I'm reemphasizing it today because it's so easy to fall back into the exception trap.

So when you hear yourself or others speaking in absolutes ("Everyone does it this way" or "This always happens") be careful about how you react to that and what kind of rules are written as a result.

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

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