I’ve written a fair bit on this blog over the years using the v word(s).
A useful interaction with a colleague1 today caused us to become clearer on our terms (always a good thing).
In the spirit of sharing (and at the risk of stating the bleedin obvious):
1. Variance = a difference, usually between what was expected/wanted and what happened (e.g. a discrepancy)
2. Variation = the act of varying (i.e. that something changes/ is changing)
3. Variety = the quality of being varied; diversity
4. A variant = a specific instance of variety
They are inter-related, though different terms. They vary 🙂
I’d add: beware of (improperly) analysing 1; constantly work to see and understand 2; embrace 3; and you are a great example of 4.
For those of you who are now wondering what on earth I’m on about, here are links to some previous posts that explain the importance of the V words (particularly variation and variety):
- The Spice of Life
- Falling into that trap!
- A Service Revolution
- I’m just a spanner!
- “You keep saying that…but what does it mean?!”
- Thanks Sarah
2 thoughts on “Word soup: The ‘V’ words”
Where does Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety fit into this?
Thanks for commenting. FYI: I refer to requisite variety in the ‘oversimplification’ post that I reference at the bottom.