Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

It could always be worse

October 5, 2022

It could always be worse Because most of us don’t have the benefit (like I do) of seeing how other associations are managing their data, we tend to think our situation is much worse than it really is. So I like to collect stories of organizations that really ARE in bad shape. Here’s the latest example: A […]

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 store I was ordering from told me my product would deliver the following Wednesday. I would have preferred to receive the product sooner, but Wednesday it is. On the next day, Saturday, FedEx sent me an email confirming the product […]

Experience is the best teacher

September 21, 2022

Experience is the best teacher Experience is the best teacher. Every one of us has experienced this (pun intended!) and we all know it’s true. And yet too often, when it comes to database training, we think we can place staff in front of a trainer, have the trainer show the class how to do something, […]

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 practice. The bill provided a website for paying online. So I went to the website and the first thing it asked me for is my account number. This is good because the bill they sent me has my account number on it. […]

It is never done – so celebrate!

September 7, 2022

It is never done – so celebrate! A client of mine recently had their official “go-live” with their new AMS. On the day after go-live, my client said “I still have a whole list of things to do. We’re not done at go-live, we’re just getting started!” And she’s absolutely right! There is really no […]

MDR (Minimum Data Required)

August 31, 2022

MDR (Minimum Data Required) I’ve written about minimum viable product (MVP) in software development in the past. MVP means getting the product out into the market with the least amount of features, in order to get customer feedback and to just get something out there. A related concept in data management is minimum data required (MDR)*. The purpose […]

Simpler and Faster is Better

August 24, 2022

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 […]

Patience and grace

August 17, 2022

Patience and grace A past client of mine recently told me: “You inspire confidence and calmness which people need when going through an AMS transition.” This got me thinking about two behavioral attributes that I think are absolutely critical to success when going through any major technology transition: patience and grace. Technology transitions, no matter […]

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 to happiness in data management (and life!) is to seek success and not perfection. A corollary to that could be “Try it and see what happens.” Part of my work with clients is helping them make decisions about business rules and business […]

Training and testing

August 3, 2022

Training and testing I’ve written before that the best form of training follows this process: Tell them what you’re going to do, tell them what you’re doing, tell them what you did. When working with your software company to report bugs or other issues, you should follow a similar process: Tell them what you were […]

How to save a “failing” project

July 27, 2022

How to save a “failing” project It is not unusual for me to receive a call from an association that sounds something like this: “We implemented a new AMS in the past year, everyone on staff hates the new system, and this whole project is failing. What can we do to save it?” While every project […]

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 as an association staffer (more than 30 years ago) I’ve encountered what I call the “IT black hole.” The IT black hole is where technology issues go to die. Perhaps you’ve experienced this. You report an issue to your technology staff […]

The “People” are important!

July 13, 2022

The “People” are important! I’ve written a lot about people, process, and technology over the years. This is the three-legged stool of success for any technology project (and these days, for any project at all!). My writing has focused mostly on process and technology because process and technology are usually easier to change. But I […]

Always look for the MVP

July 6, 2022

Always look for the MVP I first wrote about minimum viable product (MVP) just three years ago, but the term itself was coined over 20 years ago. But I’ve been thinking about this more and more with all of my new projects, for one significant reason: Even compared to five years ago, much less 20 […]

The longer you take, the longer it will take

June 29, 2022

The longer you take, the longer it will take It may sound like a tautology, but the longer you take to complete a project, the longer it’s going to take to complete it. Put another way, every day you add to the final launch of the project increases the odds that you’ll add even more […]

Data is for action

June 22, 2022

Data is for action When deciding whether or not to collect a piece of data, there is a simple question that will help you decide: “What action will I take on this data, either immediately or in the long-term?” If you can’t answer that question clearly, then you don’t need to collect that data. (Note: […]

Have you shopped yourself?

June 15, 2022

Have you shopped yourself? I’ve always been fascinated by the “secret shopper” concept. (Maybe it’s because I worked retail through high school and college). The concept is simple: Have someone “secretly” shop at your place of business, so you can experience exactly what your customers experience. My sense is that not many associations do this, and […]

To improve adoption, decrease the friction

June 1, 2022

To improve adoption, decrease the friction “Before you try to increase your willpower, try to decrease the friction in your environment.” – James Clear I’m a big fan of James Clear (who writes on habits) because so much of data management is about habits. What Clear is saying above is that if you want to change […]

“Is this normal?”

May 25, 2022

“Is this normal?” ne of the greatest parts about my job is that I get to work with so many different associations, which means I see all kinds of things that most of my clients never see. It also means I have a very deep perspective on how often something does or does not happen with associations […]

Give your staff more freedom, not less

May 18, 2022

Give your staff more freedom, not less I often tell my clients, when it comes to data management, I’m a big liberal; I believe you should give as many staff as possible the ability to edit data within your data management system (with proper training, of course!). The point of a centralized data management system is not just […]

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