They know. Better than you.
With all your experience and perspective, with your years of working in the field, with the wider understanding of where everything fits and how they’re connected, with all your … seniority … you might think you know better than them. But … nya hah! Not even.
The people who do the work, out in the field, know better than you what it’s like to be in the field right now.
When you need facts from the field, you have only two choices: go back out to the field, do the work and find out for yourself; or, squeeze the intelligence from people already in the field.
Of course you’ll triangulate, of course you’ll use all that experience and perspective, of course you’ll have an opinion, but your baseline, your reality, has to be from now, not history.
Skippy strategy: The baseline is volatile, start with the current reality.