Simpler and Faster is Better

Simple and Faster is Better

Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to attend a session at ASAE's Annual Meeting entitled "No Analyst, No Problem!" presented by Bailey Kasten and Meagan Roloff. Their session was essentially about creating data visualizations on a shoestring budget. They presented several "case studies" of how they took relatively complex data and created very easy-to-consume visualizations and infographics.

In the presentation, they raised two points that I think are critical for all data managers: Use the simplest tools you have at your disposal, and process and communicate information as quickly as possible (I'm paraphrasing).

Simple tools — Several of the visualizations they presented were created using Excel. Excel is a powerful tool that pretty much all of us have access to. You don't need a super-powered business intelligence tool (e.g., Tableau or Power BI) to make some pretty usable and nice-looking charts.

Communicate quickly — They pointed out that, when gathering survey information, there can be a big time lag between when the data is collected and when it's reported back out. So they suggested grabbing snippets of data and communicating those snippets more quickly, rather than trying to analyze all of the data and reporting it all out at once. (Again, I'm paraphrasing; not sure they said "snippets"!).

What I love about both of these points is that the focus is on outputs(charts, reporting survey data) rather than inputs (using fancy software, crunching ALL the data before reporting out).

The simple fact is while it may be fun to use powerful tools and it may feel good to spend weeks analyzing data to make sure it's perfect, what we're looking for is actionable information. We want useful output; it doesn't matter how we get there.

Faster and simpler really is better.

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

It’s all about managing expectations

September 28, 2022

It’s all about managing expectations I placed an order online on a Friday and the …

It’s all about managing expectations Read More »

Experience is the best teacher

September 21, 2022

Experience is the best teacher Experience is the best teacher. Every one of us has …

Experience is the best teacher Read More »

Don’t ask for what you don’t need!

September 14, 2022

Don’t ask for what you don’t need! Recently I received a bill from a doctor’s …

Don’t ask for what you don’t need! Read More »

It is never done – so celebrate!

September 7, 2022

It is never done – so celebrate! A client of mine recently had their official …

It is never done – so celebrate! Read More »

MDR (Minimum Data Required)

August 31, 2022

MDR (Minimum Data Required) I’ve written about minimum viable product (MVP) in software development in the …

MDR (Minimum Data Required) Read More »

Patience and grace

August 17, 2022

Patience and grace A past client of mine recently told me: “You inspire confidence and …

Patience and grace Read More »

Sometimes you just have to try it and see what happens

August 10, 2022

Sometimes you just have to try it and see what happens The single greatest key …

Sometimes you just have to try it and see what happens Read More »

Training and testing

August 3, 2022

Training and testing I’ve written before that the best form of training follows this process: …

Training and testing Read More »

How to save a “failing” project

July 27, 2022

How to save a “failing” project It is not unusual for me to receive a …

How to save a “failing” project Read More »

How to avoid the “IT black hole”

July 20, 2022

How to avoid the “IT black hole” Going all the way back to my days …

How to avoid the “IT black hole” Read More »

Scroll to Top