… in every problematic situation there is a set of relevant facts of the case. Some of these usually appear to be obvious. The more obvious such a fact appears to be, the more intensely its truth should be investigated. Russell Ackhoff

“This system must have 99.9% availability.” Says who? “We’re in financial trouble, and there’s going to be a lay-off.” Says who? “Management won’t let us purchase the new tool like they said we could.” Says who? Any statement that doesn’t include “Who Said”, needs to have “Says who?” as a response.

This question identifies actor information lost in translation. Knowing who said something allows us to pursue gathering more information about the statement. Until we have this information, we’re dealing with hearsay, rumor, and gossip.

Do be careful using this question. If you say it with malice, it can become a Career Limiting Move. If you maintain congruence, you can learn a lot of information.