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Wilfing? “Now where was I…?”
11 June 2007, by , in Data Management, No comments

Came across this article in PC Magazine discussing "wilfing," a term coined by the British marketing research firm YouGov, short for "What Was I Looking For?". The concept is that as we go to the web to search for something, we're easily distracted by other things and then wind up far off from where we started. The result is decreased productivity.

I've noticed a similar phenomenon with databases, especially during training and testing, but even during day-to-day use. What typically happens is that we're working in the database and come across functionality that is new, works differently than we expected, or doesn't work at all. Then we go down the rabbit-hole of trying to figure out why. And in very short order, we've completely forgotten what our primary focus was.

What's important is that we maintain our focus on the primary reason we were in the database (e.g., testing, training) but also note the issues that arise, so that we can investigate them later. This is where a good issues-tracking database comes in handy. Frequently my clients will use something like Adminitrack to track issues that arise over time. A good issues tracking database goes a long way toward keeping you focused on the task at hand without losing track of issues that arise.

UPDATE: Broken link to Adminitrack fixed.

Full disclosure: EDM is an independent third-party consulting firm. This means we have no financial relationship with any of the vendors mentioned in this blog. We provide unbiased opinions on what we see.

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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