Some problems are not problems

Some problems are not problems

"A problem with no solution is not a problem, it's a fact of life." This quote, or some form of it, has been attributed to the political philosopher James Burnham.

It dawned on me that I encounter this issue frequently with my clients. Because in data management, there many examples of problems that are really just facts of life. Here are just a few examples:

  • Members and customers, when visiting our website, will always find ways to create duplicate records, even though they already have a record and login in the system, and even though we've given them a way to request their username/password, and even though we've given them a dozen warnings about creating duplicate records.
  • Data will always be out of date or incorrect because people insist on changing jobs, moving, and/or dying.
  • No matter how simple we make it to join, renew, register for an event, donate, or buy products and services online, there will always be someone who insists on using a paper form, sending in a check, or asking for different payment terms.

These are insoluble problems, or, as Burnham put it, "a fact of life." Stop trying to solve them.

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

It’s all relative…

July 21, 2021

It’s all relative… Over the course of my 22 years of consulting, I’ve consulted with …

It’s all relative… Read More »

Eliminate to optimize

July 14, 2021

Eliminate to optimize So much of data management is habit (both good and bad) which is …

Eliminate to optimize Read More »

For data governance, ask “Why?”

July 7, 2021

For data governance, ask “Why?” Recently I’ve had the opportunity to work on several data …

For data governance, ask “Why?” Read More »

More on Meetings

June 30, 2021

More on Meetings I’ve written before about the importance of making sure your meetings are …

More on Meetings Read More »

Action produces momentum

June 23, 2021

Action produces momentum Another great quote from James Clear: “Motivation often comes after starting, not …

Action produces momentum Read More »

My #1 Best Practice…

June 16, 2021

My #1 Best Practice… A client recently asked me: “If you had to pick a single …

My #1 Best Practice… Read More »

Encourage engagement with prizes!

June 9, 2021

Encourage engagement with prizes! One of the biggest challenges any organization faces when implementing a new …

Encourage engagement with prizes! Read More »


June 2, 2021

Inertia One definition of inertia is “to remain unchanged.” My sense is that many association processes, projects, or …

Inertia Read More »

When’s the “least bad” time?

May 26, 2021

When’s the “least bad” time? When working with clients on a new project, especially a …

When’s the “least bad” time? Read More »

A poor launch can set the stage for YEARS

May 19, 2021

A poor launch can set the stage for YEARS It is not uncommon for me …

A poor launch can set the stage for YEARS Read More »

Scroll to Top