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Trust Me You Don’t Really Need All That Data

Trust Me You Don't Really Need All That DataStill, Platfora CEO Ben Werther says he’s skeptical that most customers really need to analyze years’ worth of data: “We’ve seen many companies bring a new technology to the market, but we maintain the key challenge is in delivering value … that a business user can understand.”  How To Manage Data Like Facebook, Bloomberg Businessweek, Oct 20, 2014

Yeah.  They were the experts and running the project.  Every week they would show their charts and say “we’ll be done by Friday!”  Months went by.  We finally delivered nine months late.  Few customers wanted to take our product.

Every one of these guys and gals was smarter than I by just about every measure (IQ, experience, pay, good looks ;-), etc.).  Yet I had gone to the VP of engineering and showed him the data from over the past year.  It showed that at the current backlog of open issues and the current arrival rate of new issues (discovered and inserted), we wouldn’t be ready to ship for months.

“Bruce, I’ve seen your numbers but if we don’t ship by next month, we’ll be out of business!”  Well, we didn’t ship for months.  And we survived for years before the company got split up and sold off in pieces.

The years of data from past projects was never seen as having strategic insight even though it readily predicted how long it took us to deliver our projects.  Taking a simple average of this data provided a project schedule that turned out to be aggressive, achievable and garnered kudos from our skeptical customers when we then delivered as promised.

For more see Your Average Is Powerful

Beware of folks telling us that there is no need to look any further into our data.  They claim they have everything we already need.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, they say.  Ignore those guys who just delivered their projects on time with good quality. Trust us, we know what we are doing and we can deliver the project 20-50% faster than we’ve ever delivered it in the past.  Yes, we’ve promised that before. But this time we’ll do it!

Compare with Why We Don’t Really Need All Those Experts

Instead, deep dive into the data you have. All of it.  It is the best source of information on how your business, organization or project is doing or has done. If it provides insights that suggest our assumptions were not quite right, then there is a good possibility that we’ve just learned something profound that will rocket us to success in the near future.

See more on How To Get The Project Management Data We Need
Also see How One CEO Came To A Deep Understanding of His Company

What data exists on your team’s performance that you’ve not yet taken the time to fully understand?

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