Signal to noise

Our imminent expansion provides the opportunity to do what most people do when moving – get rid of the clutter.

My personal pack rat instincts continually resist my intellectual understanding that in many situations, and information systems are one of them, more is less. The formal description of this theory is the signal to noise ratio. In any sensory input, sound, sight, touch, etc. there is valuable information that we want to have – the signal – and useless and distracting components – the noise.

An interesting relationship exists between these two. When the input grows, that is the amount of stuff increases, the liklihood that the item you want is in there somewhere increases. However, the chance that you will not find it or take much longer to find it because of the large amount of items you don’t want also inceases.

On the flip side of that, if you de-clutter yourself and reduce the amount of input, the chance of finding the item you want decreases
because you may have excluded it. However, if it is amoung the important materials you kept, the chance of finding it and the time required will be decreased.

Let’s take this moving opportunity to look around the office, including our files, shelves, disks, etc. and decide what is very likely trash. My personal suggestion is to use the guideline, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

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About mielniczuk

Community, systems, design, collaboration, change, evidence, Intelligent Accountability(c)
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