Title: Letter to the Editor: Helping Your Leaders Make Decisions that

Stick

Release Date: 2016-08-10

Document Date: 2005-01-03

Description: A letter from an analyst in response to the SID chief of staff’s column about making decisions that stick, with real-world SID user interface examples.

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(U) Letter to the Editor: Helping Your Leaders Make Decisions that
Stick
FROM: SIGINT Communications
Unknown
Run Date: 01/03/2005

(U) We received some feedback on the article Helping Your Leaders
Make Decisions that Stick :
From:
(U) I wanted to say I thought the article entitled The Bald Truth:
Helping Your Leaders Make Decisions that Stick was a very good
article, and something that many people seem to need to hear. I
think that the prevelance of the Point Solution Briefing is the result
of -- continuing the analogy in the article -- the metaphor/analogy
virus that NSA suffers from. The virus often causes good ideas to
be taken way too literally, and the point they were trying to get
across is often overlooked.
(U) After all, it makes sense for people to make a Point Solution
Briefing when "leaders don't want to just hear problems, they want
solutions!" The Agency has a very bad habit of taking analogies,
example cases, and metaphors and turning them into the basis for
strategy. Just like a point-solution briefing can lead to the problem
not being solved because of constant re-evaluation, many other
programs end up being more harmful than useful because the
analogy or metaphor or other figure of speech is taken too literally.
(S//SI) Take the DNI content presentation philosophy, for
example: "Analysts want to see data the way the user saw it." So
now we have the concept of "native view." While we currently refer
to the "native" presentation of the data, analysts would not be
happy with -- and would not want to use -- a system that only
gave them a choice between displaying what the target saw or the
raw data. What analysts want, and have been able to get for some
data with current presentation systems, is something LIKE what
the user saw, but with all kinds of SIGINT information and normally
hidden data presented as well. Unfortunately, there are still future
systems that seem to be building to meet the "native view" simile,
instead of the true needs of the analyst.
(S//SI) Then there is the more general idea of how to get to
analysts' DNI data. It seems that examples are provided to
decision-makers such as "We want to see data like in the CNE
Portal" or "We want to view data as easily as going to a web
portal." Here again the analogy is often talked about as if it is the
solution. My hope is that leaders and solution providers have
worked to find out why analysts like these interfaces (they are
easy ways to traverse metadata of different kinds to get to content
that we care about, and provide customizable views and single
query points), and are building to the underlying needs of the
analysts.
(U) Again, I think this article is great to see from a leader, and
certainly something I hope a lot of others (especially those who

SERIES:
The Bald Truth
1. The Bald Truth:
Technical Leadership
2. The Bald Truth: The
Sweet Conspiracy
3. The Bald Truth: P3 &
Promotion Feedback
4. The Bald Truth:
Helping Your Leaders
Make Decisions that
Stick
5. Letters to the Editor:
Helping Your Leaders
Make Decisions that
Stick
6. Letter to the Editor:
Helping Your Leaders
Make Decisions that
Stick

don't already recognize this as a problem) get a chance to read.
(U//FOUO) See more comments on this article.
"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid comms)."

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DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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