Monday, May 14, 2007

Overprocessing--Excess Decimal Places

Saw a presentation by a sales rep this week in which she described the pace of implementation of her product in various clients.  It was a multi-step process and she wanted to show the degree of acceptance by the various clients at various time frames. 
And she introduced waste which hurt her presentation.
She presented the implementation level as a score of various factors, which she then divided by an ideal score.  The math gave her a percentage of implementation which she presented as a percentage with two decimal places.  This group had it 64.37% done in 6 months, while a less-committed group was only 57.81% done in 6 months.
The base assumptions were so vague that extrapolating them to two decimal places was absurd, even though the math was correct.  She would have been better to round to the nearest percent, or better, to the nearest 10 percentage points.  On discussion, the two implementations were not that different, depending on one's subjective assessments.  She could have stated both groups were "about 60% complete" and have made her point more clearly.
Don't introduce such overprocessing waste.  Just because the calculator works to 8 decimal places doesn't mean you have to use them. 
Keep learning.  Even learning how to use decimal places.

1 comment:

Mark Graban said...

"Innumeracy" at work! There's an excellent book by that title, by John Allen Paulos.