When Dashboards Fail…

on April 30, 2010
SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Management Platform

First time in my life…  I heard that it happened to lots of people but it never happened to me before…  It was bound to happen: my dashboard failed me!

Does it really matter whether you are at your desk or behind the wheel?  The feeling is the same: somewhat frustrated at the technology, but mostly embarrassed that you did not anticipate the problem.

When it happened to me I was in San Jose, driving back from a pretty good class I attended downtown.  I was heading for my usual gas station when, always seeking patterns, I felt the car choking, I pulled over and sure enough, I did not make it to the station.

It happens to smart people; it happens to dumb people.  I won’t comment much on that!

The point is that dashboards are fantastic tools and they assist us in a very powerful way everyday for big and small tasks.  But having a mechanism to monitor your performance does not mean that you are not accountable any longer…  It is your responsibility to make sure that everything is still working fine…  Because you may get the warning only too late…  Or because you may not get the warning at all (like my failing light that never turned on)…

Tools cannot replace human expertise when something unexpected happens.  Granted, I know that it is theoretically possible to run out of gas, but I was not expecting that it would happen to me as I am very vigilant of getting gas as soon as the light turns on (or before).  But it can happen, and when it does, having some creative processes can help: ask a nearby gas station to loan you a tank or call a friend (or spouse) to come and help, or get AAA assistance.  If you don’t know how to handle it, call people that do.  This is the power of social media, although I did not go as far as Tweeting for help!

This little incident was hardly a bother in the day, and my husband was very gracious about coming to my rescue (thanks to mood-lifting NPR reporting of the Goldman-Sachs hearing)…  But it made me think some more about Pattern-Based Strategy — When do I not think about it? — I felt stranded in this right part of the spider diagram: unexpected exception, creative “ad-hoc” and collaborative process.  I felt good about managing it though.

Jim Sinur (again) wrote a great post (http://bit.ly/9vH4BB) a while ago when the Toyota incidents started.  In short, he stressed the value of knowing how to control the car, rather than relying on the recall to remove the problem.

Now, I can personally relate…  People and ad-hoc processes, leveraging people’s expertise potentially in a collaborative manner, is what can help us when technology is failing us.

Disclaimer: although I own a Toyota, this story happened to my other car…  I can’t blame Toyota for everything…

Learn more about Decision Management and Sparkling Logic’s SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Manager

Go previous post

Search Posts by Category


Sparkling Logic Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based company dedicated to helping organizations automate and optimize key decisions in daily business operations and customer interactions in a low-code, no-code environment. Our core product, SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Manager, is an all-in-one decision management platform designed for business analysts to quickly automate and continuously optimize complex operational decisions. Learn more by requesting a live demo or free trial today.