Home » Communication » Where Anecdotes Are Better Than Big Data

Where Anecdotes Are Better Than Big Data“Every anecdote from a customer matters,“ [Amazon’s Senior VP] Wilke replied. “We research each of them because they tell us something about our processes. It’s an audit that is done for us by our customers. We treat them as precious sources of information.” It’s one of the contradictions of life inside Amazon: The company relies on metrics to make almost every important decision …. Yet random customer anecdotes, the opposite of cold, hard data, can also alter Amazon’s course. Bloomberg Businessweek, 2014.

“But Bruce,” the senior scientist said to me in front of the meeting, “your experience may not be the definitive one!” With that one statement, my extensive achievements in successfully delivering software projects on time and with good quality were discarded.

I then took over their unsuccessful $1 million-a-year contracting effort, which had not succeeded after years of trying, and achieved our organization’s objectives in nine months.

Runners and coaches have a lot of insights. Each person is an experiment of one and you can learn a lot by talking about their experiences. I love talking to coaches and finding out what they think is the right way to run and what causes running injuries. Does that mean it’s scientific evidence? No. But their information is vitally important. Daniel Lieberman, 10 Years After “Born to Run”, RunnersWorld.com, Aug 29, 2014.

Don’t let anyone tell you that your experience is “just an anecdote” and, hence, not valuable for improving things. Your experience is your primary project management tool that works.

How are you making use of the anecdotal feedback you are getting from your team and your customers?

Thank you for sharing!