The curse of knowledge

The curse of knowledge

“How do you not know what the curse of knowledge is?”

The curse of knowledge is when someone is communicating to others, and unknowingly assumes that the other party has the background knowledge to understand what is being communicated.

The example that I come across the most is when people are talking about pop culture and say things like

“How have you not seen (TV show)?”

“How have you not heard (song)?”

That kind of thing, but the worst one that I have come across is in offices when starting new jobs.

“I got the IDD for 35d today and it’s for CDP, not ADP”

That’s an actual line of conversation that I had in my first week at the current job. I didn’t know what the hell the other person was talking about. Even now, two months in, I only know through context what each section of that means, but never actually had it formally explained to me. Because this phenomenon is so ingrained in the culture of the company, it is something that is actually having an impact on the work flow, and is something that I am trying to make sure is avoided for future BAs through creating new handover documents.

I am taking on a project to create a template for the Integrated Design Documents (IDDs) and I have had a conversation with some of the design architects who have wanted to update these things for years* and they are regaling me with stories of times that they have asked people to define ‘What *is* an IDD?’ and there were several different explanations of what the documents even were.

So yeah, it’s one of the things that we should all maybe try to be more conscious of: Times when we assume that other people know what we’re talking about, and that when we talk about these things, we outline the foundational knowledge that the higher up info is accessible.

Anyway, that’s all for today. I am about to receive a microphone and XLR, for an upcoming podcast project, so… Watch this space. 😀

(* – As opposed to me, who just comes in and decides to do it.)