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What Do You Mean by WOA?

In a discussion group it.toolbox.com a questioner open a discussion with “I need to know implementation issues with regards to WOA and its limitations”

Graham Beresford, a very experienced practitioner from the UK, instead of launching into a detailed response, very sensibly asked “What do you mean by WOA?” (read more at http://tinyurl.com/yd8xmlp)

“What do you mean by… . . ?” is one of the first questions we should always ask! In the world of IT and business analysis there are so many terms that are understood in so many differing ways (and often totally misunderstood) that it is essential to get the questioner to explain, in plain English, exactly what they they mean.

However, it takes courage to ask “what do you mean by….?”. Many analysts and consultants are afraid that asking such a question might suggest that they are not experts in their field. If they were experts they would know what the term meant, wouldn’t they?

Too many times have I sat in a room listening to people, each accomplished in their field, talking “expertly” to each other about WOA, Cloud, Agile, ERP, or some other term – all in total agreement. When I have asked, “what do you mean by….?”, I have attracted looks ranging from incredulity to pity.

However, when I persisted with my question and asked for a definition it soon became apparent to all present that their understanding of the term often varied greatly from that of their neighbour.

As an old mentor of mine often said, “expertise is one of the greatest barriers to learning and growth”


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