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This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.

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Re: Why politicians like computer models

The problem with off the shelf solutions is that they never match the customers needs unless the customer can figure out how to make excel accomplish the task.

People who can figure out how to use excel as a word processor, database, or any other task they need done, can figure out how to use an off the shelf system to accomplish their task. This may seem obvious, but it is something I run into constantly. People have visions of what they want a system to do which never matches what a canned product can do. you can usually point out how to get the system to mimick the "feature" they expect but it requires the user to adjust how they look at the problem. Ironically it is usually quite easy to get the user trained to do the task. It is near impossible to get the manager to get it.

Managers know better.

Re: Why politicians like computer models

I think they acquired an off the shelf ambulance system and it was tampering with that that cased some emergencies to be downplayed resulting in deaths.

The problem is that it was Government meddling as usual.

By the way, Brad, yes, I did detect the sarcasm. I should have shown that in my reply.

Re: Why politicians like computer models

The first mistake the bosses make is to ask dozens of 'user groups' (i.e. managers) what they would like from a system. This results in hundreds of incompatible demands and raises expectations that cannot be fulfilled. As Henry Ford remarked "If I'd asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse". They then hand this over to consultants who win the work based on their size, cost (the greater the better, it proves they must be good) and ability to schmooze. The consultants have an interest in making the system as complex and expensive as possible in order that they may become essential and, of course, the last thing they want is for the project to be completed and their income stream stanched. The bosses then watch helplessly as a project that they do not understand turns into a money-eating monster.

The alternative is to find out what is available, with modifications that can reasonably be achieved and then offer the users a choice of three or four options. Moral: never let the best drive out the good.

Re: Why politicians like computer models

On the subject of misuse of models, here is a prime example:
BBC Link
Despite the fact that polar bears are apparently thriving, some guy has a “model”, which says they won’t. Cue the BBC in full doomsday mode and you have an impending disaster. A completely misleading piece by Matt Walker, who is well known for writing tripe like this!