Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

Data Accretes

July 1, 2020

Data Accretes One of my very first jobs in the association world was managing the production of a printed directory, a buyer’s guide. Within this buyer’s guide was a list of over 500 different “categories” of equipment. And each time the directory was updated, the number of categories expanded (members always had some new super-special category that didn’t fit …

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Don’t be so lazy…

June 24, 2020

Don’t be so lazy… One of the things that attracted me to the software world is how good software can really make your life easier. As I like to (half) joke, I’m incredibly lazy, so I like the software to do as much of the work for me as possible. But the reality is, sometimes …

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Don’t try to do everything at go-live

June 17, 2020

Don’t Try to do Everything at Go-live When implementing a new AMS, there is a tendency to try to get everything done and “in the system” prior to go-live. After all, you’ve got this shiny new system with all kinds of new functionality. Why not go for it and have it do everything it can …

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Make sure your system has broad support

June 10, 2020

Make sure your system has broad support An AMS vendor pointed out to me recently the danger of buying a new AMS (or any enterprise software, for that matter) based on the passion of one person. As he put it, “I have seen this more than a handful of times, but when that one person drives …

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You have to have the right people in place

June 10, 2020

You have to have the right people in place This may seem obvious, but I’ll say it anyway: All the best technology and all the correct processes can’t fix people. If your staff won’t do the work, it won’t get done. I’ve had clients in the past who struggled with getting their systems to work. They spent …

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Ask “What” not “Why”

June 3, 2020

Ask “What” not “Why” As a consultant, one of my favorite questions to ask my clients is “Why?” As in, “Why are you doing that?” Asking “why” can be an effective way of determining if a process is actually doing what is expected or needed. But I recently came across an article that referenced the book …

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Engagement is measured by the customer

May 27, 2020

Engagement is Measured by the Customer I’ve written a bunch about measuring engagement in the past. (Click here to read one of my favorites.) But one thing that’s critically important to understand is that ultimately, engagement is not measured by the association, but by the member or customer. Click here for an example of what I mean. For some …

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Yes, you do have a process for that

May 13, 2020

Yes, you do have a process for that When I work with clients on pretty much any issue, a question commonly asked is “What is your process for doing X?” (For example, “What’s your process for onboarding new members?”) Very often my client will respond “We don’t have a process for that.” But that answer …

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“Correct your mistakes before they become your habits”

May 6, 2020

“Correct your mistakes before they become your habits” Yet another great quote from James Clear: “Correct your mistakes before they become your habits.” In the data management world, you might hear this more commonly as “We’ve always done it that way.” The following is a true story: During a conversation with a client, I learned that after …

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Sometimes it’s a process issue

April 29, 2020

Sometimes it’s a process issue When I work with clients on developing a needs list for functionality in a new AMS, one thing that often comes up is the need to track award winners. Whether it’s awards for individuals or organizations, the association (rightfully) wants to track who the winners were, so that the history is captured and …

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First ask: “How will I use this data?”

April 22, 2020

First ask: “How will I use this data?” Whether it’s during data conversion, adding a new data field, or reconsidering a given process, one of the first questions you should ask is “How will we use that data?” Put another way, just because we can manage the data doesn’t mean we should! For example, I …

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“We run the report three times and get three different results.”

April 15, 2020

“We run the report three times and get three different results.” “We run the same report three times and get different results.” In my 21 years of consulting, I’ve probably heard this (or something similar) dozens, if not hundreds, of times. What the user is usually saying is that when they run two different reports …

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How do you know if you’re making progress?

April 8, 2020

How do you know if you’re making progress? We all want to improve our data management, making it better than it was yesterday. But how do you know if you are improving? Showing progress requires two things: a benchmark and an objective. Your benchmark tells you where you are right now. Your objective tells you where …

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Don’t move too quickly OR too slowly

April 1, 2020

Don’t move too quickly OR too slowly This may sound like a big “duh!” but I’ll say it anyway: When it comes to selecting and implementing a new AMS, don’t move too quickly or too slowly. If you move too quickly, you are very likely to overlook things. During the selection process, this means overlooking functionality …

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“Your current habits are perfectly designed to deliver your current results.”

March 25, 2020

“Your current habits are perfectly designed to deliver your current results.” “Your current habits are perfectly designed to deliver your current results.” – James Clear I’m a big fan of James Clear because much of data management is based on habits. Whatever business process we develop, if we execute it long enough, it becomes habit. And so, …

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There is value in just going through the exercise

March 18, 2020

There is value in just going through the exercise I was working with a client recently on helping them adopt new business rules for managing the customer relationship management (CRM) aspect of their association. The project includes reviewing how staff throughout the organization interact with members and customers, and included discussion of what type of data should be captured, …

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Daylight savings and business rules

March 11, 2020

Daylight savings and business rules This past Sunday, most of the US observed Daylight Savings Time and moved our clocks one hour ahead. Daylight Savings Time (DST) is a case-study in how bad business rules never go away. Consider: DST was implemented first during WWI and then implemented as federal law in 1966. A classic case …

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It’s always about priorities

March 4, 2020

It’s always about priorities No matter the size or type of technology project, you will always be faced with choosing priorities. What gets done first, what gets done second, what will be saved for Phase 2 (or “phase later” as I like to call it). Every project requires you to determine your priorities. So how …

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Only one can be best

February 26, 2020

Only one can be best One of my (many) pet peeves with software vendor marketing is when an AMS company claims “We’re the number one AMS product in the market” or “We’re the top provider of membership software!” Since only ONE company can be “number one,” by definition, all but one of these companies are lying. And …

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Seek to simplify

February 19, 2020

Seek to simplify When I work with my clients on system selection or implementation, one of the things I love to praise them for is simple business rules. When they tell me things like “Our registration is simple; member or non-member, early-bird pricing, that’s it,” I can barely contain my glee! Too often we’re our …

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