Rule of 100 and 1000 for ongoing data management

Many years ago I coined the Rule of 100 and 1,000, as it pertains to data conversions. (Click here to read about it.)

As it happens, a similar rule applies to ongoing data management. In a nutshell, if you’re managing under 100 records (e.g., small trade association with few members), you may not need to automate a lot of things, since manual processes for that size of a data set will work fine.

For example, I have a client who manages 47 chapters that pay monthly dues. Rather than going to a lot of trouble creating all kinds of set up and business rules within the primary database, my client manages these dues invoices directly in their financial management system.

Normally I would say “Manage everything in your AMS!” But sometimes, that just doesn’t make sense.

This rule can apply to any set of data smaller than 100 records. If the amount of effort to manage the records is greater in the AMS than it is/would be to manage them in, say, an Excel file, then it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to force them into the AMS.

CAVEAT! There are greater considerations here, as well (e.g., are these smaller sets of data part of a larger set of data already in the database? Are we going to wind up managing redundant data all over the place?). So be very judicious about how you apply this rule. There may be times where the list is very small (e.g., board of directors) but the data overlaps with a lot of other data already managed in the AMS. In those cases, the rule does not apply. Committees should be managed in the AMS!

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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