Layer Standards, STB, LDT, and Bias

Tags template, style, standards, CAD Standards, bias, people, people skills, AUGI, AUGI World

I've posted before on the NCS Layer Standards, STB vs CTB, and Project Management. All of these generated some substantial debate on the street and introduced me to some new interesting people. Thank you all for the continued feedback. 

All of these Civil 3D Template, Civil 3D Styles, and Civil 3D CAD Standards issues also bring up the point that there's a basic reason why our Land Desktop and AutoCAD way of thinking gets us into...

Some Trouble with AutoCAD Civil 3D

The human "reason" is so common it even has a formal name. Psychologists call it  "confirmation bias".
Given decisions to make, human beings automatically make up rules to "contain" their observations as quickly as possible. We do this internal structuring without even thinking about it or even being conscious of the process. The resultant "symbolic" thinking saves us from unnecessary work, worry, and makes faster decisions with minimal information possible.
By in large on a physical basis, this brain work serves us well. However, confirmation bias also gets us into trouble in more difficult mental pursuits. 
    We can be systematically
     be blind because we structure
     how we see the obvious.

2...4...6

I present you with a number sequence - 2...4...6. If I ask you for another set of numbers to match the sequence and confirm only whether your answer is right or wrong, the odds are you will continue to guess wrong about the rule. You will "intinctively" make up your own sequence "rule" BEFORE you even begin to guess. Only by testing me with a set of numbers offered in decending order would you discover the "truth" behind the simple rule - the numbers are in ascending order. When tested, most adults will consistently do this. 
Magicians, con artists, and politicians know this and use our internal bias to their advantage all the time. So do police investigators who don't trust the details of eye-witness accounts at face value. We not only predict what we'll see we edit our internal story along the way too. 
Did you catch the double "be" in the formatted sentence above the number series? Maybe so maybe not.
It appears that validating our KNOWN internal rules is More important than testing our actual observations most of the time.

Why Confirmation Bias Matters in Civil 3D

In my Civil 3D Implementation piece for AUGI World I make the statement:

"All Civil 3D Feature representations and the annotations are “abstracted” to named Style references. What Features look like are sets of properties collected separately and independently."

This means Civil 3D Feature Styles and Label Styles ARE separate and independent of the data contained in the core Civil 3D Features.
That actually does mean that ALL layer and other properties assigned by Style and Label Style don't matter to those Civil 3D Features at all.
Civil 3D is INTENTIONALLY built that way. 
Style independence is a critical and central part of object-based software programming methodology.
This essential Civil 3D truth provides us a totally new form of design, presentation, and publication liberty that was unavailable in our past. We can see that. We are attracted to it, but...

We still focus on the Properties

Our confimation bias derived from our existing AutoCAD and Land Desktop experience "rules" says, "It will never work." 
We obsess about getting the Properties "right" FIRST when they are not even on the critical path to using the software productively. I dare to say even say this... you start arguing already. :)

If I say a Civil 3D user should be able to work in Civil 3D for days and almost NEVER touch the Layer Manager tools for any reason I must be nuts. "That's not possible." Well it is possible and I'm not crazy. It does take some real world experience to make this experience real for many LDT users. We focus on the minors and miss the majors. Then we change our story about that after the fact.

It Costs

I am also saying our effort to impose our confirmation bias is a real world man-hour productivity problem. That fact is backed up in the marketplace by actual REPEATED Civil 3D customer experience. We make Civil 3D implementation much harder on ourselves than is necessary.

We can certainly remake and customize Civil 3D into our own internal ACAD/LDT based image. It is natural to do so, but is that the best thing to do? Probably not.
If we create such an image we shouldn't wonder: why it takes longer to get going; why the training isn't really all that effective; or why it is difficult and expensive to maintain that image. 
We also shouldn't expect that others on the outside will see any real value in our myopic pursuits either, but we must believe it. All the invested time and effort must be useful? 
Yes. The work is useful, if we learn.

Put down the shovel. Step away from the ditch. 

It is Easier to Edit than to Create

* Thanks again to Taleb who continues to remind me that the Highly Improbable is not only possible but much More likely when we won't pay attention.