Judging past decisions based on today’s facts

While it’s good to regularly reconsider and rethink the way things are done, judging decisions from the past based on the knowledge we have today is far too easy, far too common and quite useless.

“Why is it this way? It doesn’t make sense!” “It’s ridiculous, why was this built like this?” “I wouldn’t have done it this way!”

Decisions are usually made based on a few assumptions and sometimes a few predictions about what the future may be. And as their name suggest, assumptions and predictions often turn out being wrong. Things simply change and today’s context is very different from what it was months or years ago.

So the easy reaction is to take what we now know — but didn’t at the time — and keep complaining about how horrible of a decision it was.

It’s easy because it doesn’t actually solve the problem and doesn’t involve any work. We’re not fixing anything, just continuously pointing out how obviously bad something is. It doesn’t help anybody and all that energy spent complaining is just lost.

A more useful approach is to think about how it can be fixed or improved and move forward.


Originally published at i5co.com on February 4, 2015.