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“Specifically vague! I’m confused!”

Successful IT projects begin with plain old human communication, not technology

Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan “The Wombat” Fisher’s personal mission. Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan “The Wombat” Fisher’s personal mission.

Why do you receive an answer of “maybe,” when all you wanted was a simple “yes” or “no”?

Vendors are trained in sales classes to be specifically vague, particularly when they don’t have an available answer that corresponds to the question you just asked.

Why is it that way?

My theory—and my solution

Well, I have often thought that if you figure out the answer before the vendors do, then they can quickly disclaim it and respond by saying, “That is not what I said or meant!”

Sound like déjà vu?

All of us have encountered this many times before. Now, what to do about it?

Communicate. Yes, it’s critical.

When searching for a solution to an issue, be it simple or complicated, don’t assume that every vendor you visit with is using the same glossary of terms as you are (or as other vendors).

Similar to common sense, which is not common, neither is vocabulary, let alone the definition. Take text messages, acronyms, and words found in Webster’s Dictionary! Not the same use or the same meaning.

And if the speakers and the listeners are more than five years apart in age, the opportunity for miscommunication can be multiplied by the square of the age difference.

Too funny, but true!

No kidding—begin with some definitions

Before embarking on a project, particularly an expensive one, a good approach would be to create a glossary of terms and expectations. Take some time on the front end to ensure that all of the participants are equally informed and prepared. Then when developing a project scope, all of you have a common ground to start the work from.

I can assure you, if you start a project with application of this communication concept, you will experience more success than failure.

Common ground for all to stand on is a great place to start!

Be specific, not vague, and it will be clear to all!

—The Wombat!

Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is president and CEO of The Copper River Group, a consulting firm headquartered in Fargo, N. D., that focuses on technology and payment systems research and consulting for community financial institutions. For nearly 30 years, Fisher has worked in the financial industry using technology to improve the bottom line. He was CIO of Community First Bankshares (now part of Bank of the West), has served as a director of the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis, the chairman of the American Bankers Association Payment Systems Committee, and was a member of the Independent Community Bankers of America Payments Committee. Fisher has written numerous articles on banking technology and the payments system. He has authored or co-authored six books and recently published a book titled, "Capturing Your Customer! The New Technology of Remote Deposit." You can contact Fisher at [email protected] or at 701-293-6222.
P.S. To understand Dan's nickname, check out "About the Wombat" on his website.       

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