This blog post from Vinod Agrasala tackles how this phrase (consisting of just 2 words) can be used to answer a lot of things, particularly in consulting, or even training queries. Agrasala goes on by sharing his experience on exactly how this phrase is used:
When I attended my initial ITIL trainings, (it was version 2 at that point) to some of the questions raised by the students (us), the trainer used to (often with a quirky smile) respond ‘It depends!’ – Some, with follow-up explanations and others, without.
I kept hearing the same phrase in answers from many other trainers, consultants, experts, authors and practitioners all along. I felt some of them using that as a trump card to brush off difficult questions (and quite frankly made a mental note of the same tool for future use!). It is another thing that even the person(s) on the other end also started understanding the trick very soon.
On a more serious note…
Agrasala states in the blog that “It depends…” as a phrase being used can set a perspective on the right train of thought. A good example is on answering these questions: “Which ITIL process should be implemented first?” or “which order the processes need to be implemented?”
It really does not give you the exact answer you’re looking for. This phrase, especially when used in ITIL training sessions, can be used by the trainer as a prelude to the exact answer raised by the student or trainee. But it certainly needs a follow-up with a thorough clarification.
Although this phrase actually helps maintain your listener's attention, the overuse of this as a trick to set aside the answer to a difficult question seems to be a complicated test. Using “It depends…” often elicits an instantaneous reaction from the person that asked the question that you really don’t know what you are talking about. So, as a trainer/instructor, make sure not to overdo it, and use this phrase with timing.
Read the Original Blog Post: http://vagrasala.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/it-depends/