Stop Careless Mistakes

By John Honovich, Published Oct 06, 2014, 12:00am EDT (Info+)

Careless mistakes are a big problem, especially among inexperienced people who naively scan, skip or assume.

Whether you are reading a quote, contract, specification, review or recommendation, you need to properly interpret the words / language presented.

** *** **********, *** ****** ** carelessness *** ******:

  • ****** ******* ***** *** *** ****: *************, *** ***** ************ ******, will ****** ***** ** ****** ** words **** ***** *********** **** ********* ********** ***********.
  • **** / **** *** **********: *********** ********, ********** ** ********** and ***********, *** ********* ******* ********* by *******, ** ** *****. ***** or ************ ***** ****** ****** ** miss ****.

********* ****** **** *** *** *** ********* they *** **** *****. ***, **** ** the ****, *** ******* ****** *** be ***** ** ******* ********* *** unpacking *** ***** ****.

********

(*) ********:

"*** ******* ** ******* ** **** $200 ******* ** *****."

**** ****** ****** ****** *** ******* sold $*** *******, ** **** ***** on *** **** '*****' *** *** really ********* **** ** **** ******** is *** '*********'*********.

*** ******* ** *** ***** ** 'marry' ***** ** **** *** ***** 'engaged' to **** ****** **** '** *** process **'.

*** ****** *** **** ** **** **** people *** **** ********** **** ** do ** ******* ******** *****. **** company ****** *** ****** ** '**** $200 ******* ** *****' *** ******* they **** ****** / ****** / recognized $* ******* ** ****. ***, if ****** ** ****, **** ***** retort ** ****** ** ***** **** we '**** $*** *******', ** **** said ** **** '*********'**. 

(*) ********:

"*** ****** *** * *** ******."

**** ****** ****** **** **** ** a *** ******, **** **** *** camera *** ******* * *** ******. But ****** **** *** ************ ********* it **** *** **** '******'.

*********, **** **** ****** / ******** structure ** ****, ** ***** *** camera ******* **** **** * *** stream, *.*. * *** ** * 1080p ****** ** ***********.

** **** ****, *** *** ************ intend ** *******? **** *** ****** simply *** **** *** ********* ********** to *********** ******* ****** *** ******? This ** ****** ** ****.

********** ** ***** *** ***** ****, an *********** ************ ****** **** *** qualification *** ********** *** *********** *******.

(*) ********:

"* **** ** *** *** **** ****. What ********** ****** ** * ****?"

**** ****** **** *********** ****** **** an ****** - **, ***, ****, etc. *** *** **** ** ***** one *****, *** **** ****** ***, to **** ** ******** ******.

*** **** ******** ** *** **** an **** *** *****. ** ** is * **** ****, *** ****** is **** ********* **** *** **** wide.

***, ** **** **** **** **** and *****, ****** **** ** *********** on ********* **** ****. **** **** that *** **** *** *** *********** you ****. ** *** ** ***, ask *** ** ************. ***'* ************ ****** **** '** ******* ** the ***********'. ******* **** ******* ********* ****, "Tell ** *** **** ** **** you **** ** ***** *** *** much ******* *** **** ** *******?"

(*) ********:

"*** ******* ******* ******* ***** ** up ** **%."

**** ****** **** ****** **** *** product ******* ******* ***** **%. **** simply ****** *** ********* **** - "up **"

**** *** ****** **** * ****** problem, ****** ** *******, **** ***** ******* ***** ********** *** ******* in ** ******** ****. *********, ** **********, ******* *** power *** ********* *** *** ******** of ***** '** **' ******. *** typical ******* *** ** ********** ** minimal, *** *** ******** ****** **** take **** *** *** ******* ** to ****** ** *******.

(*) ********:

"**** ****** *** ******* ** *********** cameras" ** "**** ****** ***** *** the **** ********** ** ** *********** cameras."

*** ** ** *** **** '***' in *** ***** ******** *** *** qualifier '**********' ** *** ******.

'***' ********* **** ** '** **** to **' *********. **** ******* **** immediately ******** **** **** **** ** able ** ** ****, *.*., ******* 10 *********** ******* ** ***** ********. But **** ** *** **** *** statement ** ******. **** *** *** guaranteeing *** **** ** **** ** do ** *** **** **** **** always ****** (******: ***** ********** *** not ********). ** ********, ***** *** word '***' **** **** ** ******* to *** ********** ********* ** '** to' ****** *** *** *******, *********** professional ** *********** ***** ** **** concerns.

********, ****** **** *** ****** ******** includes *** ********* '*** **** **********'. *** sentence ***** **** **** ******* "**** camera ** *** **** ** ** *********** cameras." *******, *** ***** ********* ** *** ** ** '********' *** still ***** *** ******** ******. **** also ******** **** ********* *********, ******* amongst ************ *********************** ** ******* ******* *****, *** ***** *******

(*) ******** ***** ****:

"*********", "** *******, "**** *********"

********** *** ****** **** ** *** ****** are **** *** ** ***********. ***** the ***** ** ******* *** *** everyone **** ****** ** *** ***** same ***, ** ** ********* ** qualify ************ **** *********** (*********, ** general, ***.). **** **** **** *** qualifier *** ****** ******** **** ** this ***. ****** **** **** *** counter **** *** ******** *** ****** statement ** *****. **** **** ** note ***** ********** *** ******** *** limitations *** *********** ** ****.

(*) ******** ***** ****:

"**********", "*********", "**********"

** *** ******** ** ***** * above, ********* ********** ******* ************* **********. When ***** *****, *** ****** ** much ****** *** *** ****** ****** be ***** ******* **** ***** *** no ********** (********** ** **** *** responding ** **** **********). *****, ************* readers **** **** ***** *****, ****** assuming '**** ******' ** '***** ******' is **********. *******, **** ***** ************* qualifiers *** ********, **** **** ***** are ** **********.

Stop ***** ************

************ ** *** ****** #* ******* we **** ***** **** ************* ******. The *******, ********** ** **** ******, can **** * **** ********** ** outcomes. **** ********* *********, **** *** qualifiers *** ******** *** ***** ******* what ** ***** ***** ** *******.

Comments (16)

To give some color for this post, it is being released in preparation for our next IP camera class starting next Tuesday. We want to help point out common problems and patterns of problems for attendees.

And, to be clear, we have made careless mistakes throughout the years as well. We continue to refine our materials and test questions to make sure that they are properly and fairly 'qualified' to best reflect the reality of today's technology and operations.

Being careful is a 'process' where one needs to be continuously vigilant about how they read and communicate with others.

Agree: 4
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Great article.

Another situation I see a lot in ads or journalism:

When reading or citing scientific studies, people often think the word "significant" is synonimous with the word "meaningful". Significance gives no indication as to how big of an effect has been detected; only that something has been detected.

Let's say you're comparing intelligence: an IQ of 101 could be significantly different from an IQ of 102 in a statistical sense, but be completely meaningless in a practical sense. An even much smaller difference could be considered significant in some cases.

This is why it's important to read the studies that you see cited in ads or articles: there's usually a discussion of practical (meaningful) implications in the study's conclusion.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

in everyday terms, a statistically significant event is an observed effect (to a cause) that has typically less than a 5% chance of occurring by accident. like you say that doesn't make it meaningful, but it does seperate out things out from the noise a bit.

using this meaning of significant without the word statistical, in non-technical usage is wrong and probably intentionally misleading.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Unfortunately, I see it all the time. People see P < .05, and forget that there's more to the story.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

When I was working for a previous company, I often had to review specs in preparation for bidding. When I saw the phrase "... must be able to" our immediate response was "Comply". The logic being, we can do anything, with enough money. These phrases never said that it was to be part of this specific quote.

Agree
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Are you sure? "These phrases never said that it was to be part of this specific quote."

It's a little strange to think that you could claim "Yes, we said we could do this in response to your proposal, but no we did not include the cost or effort to do this in that proposal."

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

"The system as supplied must support 1,000,000 card readers" is not the same as "you must be able to support 1,000,000 card readers".

I am very sure that at no time did the spec indicate that these were requirements of the system to be provided, just that the system to be provide "was able to...". I've read a lot of spec's "back in the day" and a lot of them were boilerplated with loose wording or with contradictions or cutting and pasting of 2 or more manufacure's systems or components.

If it was not asked for as part of the spec, the trend was not to provide it. If however the spec said "you must provide a full and complete system" but a major part was not specifically identified, a request for clarification went back to the consultant, not to get a clarification, but to ensure everyone included the costs in their bid. We had a saying "The person who made the most mistakes wins the jobs". I've seen too many times when the low bidder is subsequently contracted to provide the "missed but necessary parts" and the job ends higher than our quote, but went to someone else.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

Paul, that's a fascinating explanation, to say the least.

I do genuinely see your point. I also think the buyer implicitly expects "you must be able to support 1,000,000 card readers" to be treated as "The system as supplied must support 1,000,000 card readers."

That said, I agree with you that they need to explicitly require it, to close any loopholes. Thanks!

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

You need to be careful. In most large bid situations, the buyer is just that, a buyer. The person you ultimately should be making happy is the end user. If you want to have an easier time getting more business, you will need to keep the person who has financial desicion making happy. Getting through the crowd to the end user is the challenge. If you can find and work with the guy who is going to use the system in the end, you can work to ensure he gets what he wants.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Paul, I don't see how that would be practical in a bid scenario, especially one that is supposed to be heavily or completely factored on lowest cost. The end user will always want everything, especially if they don't have to pay for it, but a bid by its nature is meant to restrict costs and if you give the user everything they want in the bid you'll easily be the highest bidder and loose out. Your objective should be to get established by winning the bid giving them only what they specifically ask for and require. After that, they usually have the ability to make small purchases under certain dollar amounts that don't need to go out to bid that can used for add-ons that we not in the requirements of the initial bid.

Now if it's not an absolute or strongly low cost bid scenario, if it's what we are starting to see more of where they weigh heavily on if they feel it's a more feasible solution or if they feel it offers the most value (even if not the cheapest), then it make be well worth your time to find the end user who is still high enough to be a decision maker or on the committee, you can educate them on the available enhancements that can be had after the bid is one which weren't in the initial requirements.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

The question I have in that case is what does "support" mean?

Does it mean the software will handle 1,000,000 readers without upgrade? Does that mean I should use an Enterprise level license, for example, instead of a lower tier version which will handle only what they're asking for on this project? After all, the platform will handle it, and they didn't specify "without additional cost."

Does it mean the hardware will support 1,000,000 card readers without upgrade?

These are all vastly different things with vastly different price points and even writing it unambiguously is difficult. And trying to do the right thing so you're not being outbid but also serving the customer is equally hard.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

The definition of 'support' is also a good point. That needs to be qualified to explain what type of support is expected / required.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Been there and it angers me that a professional security integrator bidding a job wouldn't RFI that kind of thing. Users are known for putting out swiss cheese bids, its not thier fault, they aren't the experts. Some bidders fill those holes like you described and others, the professional ones, point out those holes via RFI to allow the customer to send out an addenda and in the end, collect good solid bids that won't turn into change orders. If an integrator loses a bid to a hole filler, they have only themselves to blame for not filling the hole via RFI.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

"Users are known for putting out swiss cheese bids, its not thier fault, they aren't the experts." To an extent, sometimes I think it is. If they don't have the expertise, then they should hire an independant consultant who does to help them through the selection process and form the specs. What they should probably be educated on is not letting the general contractor do the RFP.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Totally agree and along with encouraging them to sign up to IPVM we should all be urging them to use a good consultant on these projects but alas, they (the end users) don't see the value in spending the $ on a consultant so they put out swiss cheese!

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

You'd be surprised how many consultants put out bids with crappy swiss cheese.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts reporting, tutorials and software funded by subscriber's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.
Loading Related Reports