How would you explain it?

OK so it’s a simple concept to most of you guys, but obviously, our various users don’t quite grasp this, and I’m wondering what the best way to explain it is. Here’s the scenario:

User needs data copied to a laptop from the network so he can work on it offline from some other location that does not have internet access. The required “stuff” you’ve been asked to copy is 17GB worth of data, which then needs to be loaded into database program and configured correctly. User expects to be able to pick up laptop in an hour or so.

Now, most of us can imagine that copying 17GB of data off a network server, in the middle of the work day, simply takes some time! A lot of users though, just don’t comprehend this. They don’t understand the size of the data, how that translates to moving it, and what that means in terms of time.

So, IT folks, how do you explain it to folks who obviously don’t get it?

Technorati Tags: Data, Copy, Users

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  1. Determine how many GB you can move per hour and tell him that 17 GB is going to take about 6 hours (for example). Maybe then he’ll understand a bit more. That’s always worked for me.

  2. figure out what they do understand and put it in those terms.

    Each GB is the equivalent of xxx of those big law books on your shelves over there (pointing). Just as movers would need time to get those into a truck, across town, and unpacked into a new office, data takes time to move. During rush hour it would take even longer. We can be thankful that data doesn’t take as long or require as many big smelly men to carry, but on average we’ll need xx minutes per GB, plus yy minutes of overhead to get things set up beforehand and checked out afterward. (smile) Non-billable time for you, of course.

  3. See I’d use the GB per hour thing, but it varies so randomly depending on other people on the network, that I might still get it wrong! The book analogy is good, but I might take it one step further. Because I can see them looking at the books and saying “If I wanted to take that book home to work on, I’d just grab it off the shelf and go”, so
    I might compare it to copying every page of the book so you could take a copy of it home, which is essentially what you’re doing with the data. You’re not grabbing the machine it’s on and leaving, you’re making a copy of it.

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