The U.S. Army has a useful phrase: Ground Truth, the truth of a matter as it actually exists on the "ground". It's also called by a number of other terms such as the "real stuff from the trenches", "where the rubber meets the road", etc.; pick a cliche. I found this out in Don Cohen and Laurence Prusak's excellent book In Good Company: How Social Capital makes Organizations Work.
The ground truth indicates that the actual matter of a deployment may be different or call for actions other than prescribed procedures, pre-planned processes, etc. In reality, this is quite common in software development and deployment too.
More significantly, understanding or learning the ground truth comes from experience and direct participation. This understanding varies depending upon the specific situation but can be something that occurs again and again for others.
This kind of knowledge really lies in the hands of those on the ground themselves. In many cases, the knowledge itself is not easily describable in a simple, generic repeatable manner but requires a lot of qualification.
To paraphrase Fox Mulder: the ground truth is out there.
The only practical way to get to it is to help people to communicate and participate in discussion. And that is just what we want to aim for in developerWorks Community.
Getting to Ground Truth