The Analytics of Project Measurement

Peter Drucker perfectly summed up why big corporations rely so heavily on analytics when he said “What gets measured, gets managed.”

A successful analyst is able to remove the noise when analyzing data and isolate what matters to his or her organization.

With most companies collecting large amounts of data, you need to be both talented and disciplined to pinpoint key insights that can yield value.

In the corporate world, business analytics is widely use to track, analyze and report Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

KPIs are rolled up to senior leadership to drive business strategy, identify and mitigate risk and to optimize operational productivity.

This approach is very similar to the way projects in the Measurement and Evaluation are tracked, analyzed and reported.

I would define measurement simply as the act of measuring to ascertain the impact, size, level of success, etc. of a specific data set.

There are many components to measuring projects making sure the project is on schedule, stays in scope, is not over budget, the quality of work is up to par, the end goal of the project remains relevant, and finally if the project is ultimately deemed a success.

A foundation in analytics will contribute to a more optimal and efficient process of measurement. Like businesses do with KPIs, you should start will identifying that are the key measurements your project will be judged on.

Once you know those data points, then figure out how to collect them, analyze them, and report them.

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At each step you can look for new data, validate existing data and blend data from other sources to add value to your measurement efforts.

Once you get to the reporting phase you can look for cutting edge techniques in data visualization and interactive reporting like dashboards to help educate and empower your audience.

That is how it is done in the corporate world where business analysts boil down massive amounts of big, often unstructured data into a few bullet points that allow decision-makers to take action.

When it comes to the Measurement of Project Evaluation, understanding various analytics solutions can make all the difference.

Analytics Education – Facilitating a mastery of the fundamentals of analytics is what DMAIPH does best. All across the world, companies are scrambling to hire analytics talent to optimize the big data they have in their businesses. We can empower students and their instructors with the knowledge they need to prepare for careers in analytics. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly so we can set a guest lecturer date, On-the-Job Training experience or other analytics education solution specifically tailored to your needs.

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Most Analysts Are Spending Only 20% of Their Time on Reporting

In many cases reporting is either something that is set and stone and just needs to be filled or there is a time crunch forcing quick and dirty reporting.

Little time is devoted to using the data for storytelling, maximizing data visualization and really providing the audience exactly what its needs.

% Finding Analyzing Reporting
10 12% 6% 33%
20 14% 10% 39%
30 20% 31% 24%
40 6% 14% 2%
50 31% 16% 2%
60 14% 18% 0
70 0% 0% 0
80 0% 2% 0
90 0% 0 0
100 0% 0 0
       

Ideally, at least a third of the time should be spent post data gathering and analysis to really give the end user of the data the things they need for intelligent decision-making.

A full one-third only spend 10% of their time on reporting, which to me means that there is a lot of the waste in their analytics process.

If you take a full 40 hour week to complete a high priority, high value report but only have Friday afternoon to boil down your finding into a report, it is highly unlikely that your report will fully capture the fruits of your labor.

However, if the time frame is even shorter… you have to do all this in one day, you are just getting to the reporting phase at around 3:30pm.

You have less than an hour and a half to summarize you methods and boil your findings into a few points.

Making sure you craft a compelling story to really influence decision-making based on intelligent data analysis is likely impossible.

Data is based on a survey I sent to 3,000 of my LinkedIn connections who are either analysts or work closely with data and analysis.

Analytics Survey – DMAIPH conducts quarterly analytics surveys to collect data on current trends in analytics. We specialize in surveys that assess analytics culture and measuring how aligned an organization is to using data and analytics  in its decision-making. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to find out more about how DMAIPH can conduct surveys to help you assess the analytics culture in your business.

 

 

The Self-Imposed Ceilings of Two Filipino Friends

I recently had two conversations on FB that happened simultaneously. Its amazing how we can do that now days, be engaged on two (or more different topics) with different people at the same time. But that’s a conversation for another time.

Right now, I want to talk about self-imposed ceilings people put on themselves.

One conversation was centered on being stuck in their current station in life.

The other conversation was about a resistance to embracing non-traditional learning methods.

In both cases, I was in empower mode. Trying to inspire both hope and self-determination to not continue down a path that seems locked in.

I will be the first to admit that as an educated, middle class, straight, white American male, there are few ceilings in life for me to break then just about every other demographic on the planet.

And most likely, my recognition of that at an early age has thrust me forward on a lifelong quest to help others who don’t have all the privilege I enjoy.

I am convinced that the blessing I have enjoyed in life need to be paid back in the form of me trying to uplift others to achieve success in life like I have.

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And through a series of circumstances (which feel like a divine plan) I have ended up focusing most of my empowerment efforts in the Philippines. I love working with students and young professionals interested in analytics careers. That is what I have devoted the 2nd half of my life too.

And both conversations are stronger reminders that I am doing exactly what I was created to do.

Holding the ladder, or offering a hammer, or identifying a new approach to breaking through self-imposed ceilings for Filipinos has over the years become my great cause.

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business.

Survey Results: Devote More Time For Data Analysis

Most Analysts Spend 50% of Their Time Finding Data

% Finding Analyzing Reporting
10 12% 6% 33%
20 14% 10% 39%
30 20% 31% 24%
40 6% 14% 2%
50 31% 16% 2%
60 14% 18% 0
70 0% 0% 0
80 0% 2% 0
90 0% 0 0
100 0% 0 0
       

Most analysts spend most of their time finding data.

Among other thing this can mean they are setting up data mining or data gathering process to look for the data or it can mean they reviewing their data for relevancy.

My experience is that when you spending this much time on the finding the right data phase it reflects a poorly structured data environment or a unfamiliarity with the data needed.

Dirty data is also a big time waste.

Experience is the best solution for challenges with finding data. The fact the finding phase % is so high speaks to both the explosion in the 3 V’s of Big Data (Velocity, Volume and Variety)  as well as the number of analytics newbies.

To me this should be no more than 20% of your time.

I expected finding data would be the biggest chunk, but was surprised that over 50% of my analyst connections using at least 40% of their time finding data.

If you have one day to answer a key business question, this means you are using your entire morning just finding the data.

When you get back from lunch you haven’t even started the actual analysis yet and the clock is ticking.

Data is based on a survey I sent to 3,000 of my LinkedIn connections who are either analysts or work closely with data and analysis.

Analytics Survey – DMAIPH conducts quarterly analytics surveys to collect data on current trends in analytics. We specialize in surveys that assess analytics culture and measuring how aligned an organization is to using data and analytics  in its decision-making. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to find out more about how DMAIPH can conduct surveys to help you assess the analytics culture in your business.

Quick Analytics Career Question

Greetings to You My Valued LinkedIn Connection,

I was talking with a young professional just getting started in his analytics career. During our conversation we discussed what is most important to being a great analyst. With that in mind, I’d ask you to share your thoughts.

In your opinion, of the following ways to learn about analytics, which one has been the most important in your career path?

  • Formal Education – A degree or certificate in an analytics related field.
  • Self-Learning – Using trial and error and online resources.
  • Subject Matter Experts – Being trained/mentored by an expert.
  • Seminars/Workshops – Attending events to acquire new knowledge.
  • Technical Training – Attend training on specific technical areas.

Thanks for sharing. As always I will roll up all the replies I get and blog about it.

Dan Meyer, Analytics Champion, http://www.dmaiph.com

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Analytics Survey – DMAIPH conducts quarterly analytics surveys to collect data on current trends in analytics. We specialize in surveys that assess analytics culture and measuring how aligned an organization is to using data and analytics  in its decision-making. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to find out more about how DMAIPH can conduct surveys to help you assess the analytics culture in your business.

How Does a Foreigner Become a Successful Speaker in the Philippines?

“As a foreigner, how do you market and sell yourself as a speaker in the Philippines.”

A good friend of mine asked me that a little while ago.

After letting it rattle around in my head a bit, I came up with this reply.

As cliché as it sounds you have to be yourself. Although high powered, dynamic speakers can come to the Philippines to speak and make money, the ones who keep coming back are the ones who are authentic.

I also understand the heart of the Filipino. I am just one of a network of maybe several dozen Philippines based, non-Filipino speakers who routinely are asked to speak at conferences and seminars.  The fact that we have expertise in our fields of specialty is important, but I think what’s more important is that we all have chosen to live in the Philippines. That makes a significant difference.

To a person not familiar with the Philippines, who is just visiting to be a speaker, it will be much harder to really understand the heart of the Filipino. And therefore you would have to work much harder to be an impactful speaker. There will always be a lot of value in sharing knowledge and being a subject matter expert, but if you can’t put that in context of what it means to live and work in the Philippines, you will likely not succeed long term.

That said, I can point out a few things that I think would help a visitor who really wants to learn what it takes to know be successful in the Philippines.

Get outside the comfort zones. Most foreigners stay in relatively rich, safe and easy to get around areas in Metro Manila. To really get to know the Philippines you need to go to the palengke (market place), ride a Jeepney (local transit) and eat some street food (I love BBQ pork on a stick). Now, I recommend you go with a local your first time, but if you can talk about these experiences, you audience will be able to relate to you and have much more respect for you.

Traffic congestion is horrible in Metro Manila. Its an easy target for a shared experience. Saying you were worried you might be late because “Traffic sa Edsa” (traffic was bad on EDSA, the major north-south traffic artery in Manila) will also help. Actually just learning and using a few Tagalog phrases will make a huge difference.

Another suggestion I would make is don’t use up most of your time talking. Breaking into small groups discussions and having interactive learning activities will take the burden off of the audience having to always listen to having a fast-talking and intelligent, foreigner. It can be very intimidating for the audience when that happens. They end up getting, what Filipinos humorously refer to as “nosebleed”. Too much English, too fast and with too much information being the cause. So building in breaks from you speaking is another key to success.

The final suggestion I’d offer my friend, would be to be social. Mix with the audience before the event starts. Be ready to say Maghanda Umaga (Good Morning) when they come in. After the first session and you are on AM break while everyone is having snacks, be ready to mingle some more. And at the end, build in time to take a group photo and group pics. The Philippines is proud to be the most Social Media driven country in the world. Selfies reign. Embrace that fact and you will win a lot of support.

As for marketing, social media and mobile are of paramount importance. You have to push a lot of mobile friendly content through social media to really draw attention to you and your training. And the more that you do to show your interest in empowering Filipinos the more success you will have.

Hope that helps!

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business.

Big Data Analytics:Big Data—It’s Not Just Size > 2/21/17

I will be speaking on February 21, 2017 at Discovery Suites, Ortigas Center, Pasig City  on Big Data Analytics and Business Intelligence.

With that in mind, I wanted to go into a little more detail about each section, starting with…

Enabling Your Business to Make Smarter Decisions Section 1 : Big Data—It’s Not Just Size

Participants will learn to Describe the Importance of Effectively Analyzing Big Data in Business Today
. Being able to explain analytics to non-technical people is very important for any analytics solution to work.

We will also come up with a Data Map to Analyze the Big Data in your business. A data map allows you to see how data comes into the business, where it is stored and how it is accessed. Knowing you data environment is key to having clean and valid data in your analysis.

Another goal will be Establish Clear Objectives When Analyzing Big Data. Knowing exactly what your end user needs, how they want your reports and what will happen to the fruits of your analysis will allow you to be much more value to the business.

I will show attendees how to Recognize and Apply Various Data Collection Methods
. Way to often we get stuck by not having documented are process clearly. Having an easily traceable and repeatable process will make your analytics life much easier.

In addition, we will talk about how to Identify and Resolve Problems Associated with Data Collection
. Not all data is good data. In fact cleaning data can eat up a lot of time, but it’s a better alternative to reporting based on bad data.

We will discuss the difference between Data Warehouses and Data Lakes. Knowing how data is used in your organization, who has access to it and what they do with it goes a long way in making sure your entire organization becomes more data-driven.

Finally, we will determine when to use Data Blending in your analysis. How to take all of the Big Data you have both inside and around your business and bring them together to give you a 360 degree view of things is also very important to success.

Thats section one… i’ll over the next 3 sections over the next few days.

If you are interested in attending this training, I can connect you with my good friends at Ariva Events Management who will be facilitating the program.

Analytics Training – DMAIPH offers a wide range of analytics centric training solutions for professionals and students via public, in-house, on-site, and academic settings. We tailor each training event to meet the unique needs of the audience. If you need empowerment and skills enhancement to optimize the use of analytics in your organization, we are here to help. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to set up a free consultation on which of our DMAIPH analytics training solutions is best for you.

 

Most Analysts Spend 50% of Their Time Finding Data

Most analysts spend most of their time finding data.

% Finding Analyzing Reporting
10 12% 6% 33%
20 14% 10% 39%
30 20% 31% 24%
40 6% 14% 2%
50 31% 16% 2%
60 14% 18% 0
70 0% 0% 0
80 0% 2% 0
90 0% 0 0
100 0% 0 0
       

In fact, most analysts I know spend 50% of their time finding data.

Among other thing this can mean they are setting up data mining or data gathering process to look for the data or it can mean they reviewing their data for relevancy.

My experience is that when you spending this much time on the finding the right data phase it reflects a poorly structured data environment or a unfamiliarity with the data needed.

Dirty data is also a big time waste.

Experience is the best solution for challenges with finding data. The fact the finding phase % is so high speaks to both the explosion in the 3 V’s of Big Data (Velocity, Volume and Variety)  as well as the number of analytics newbies.

To me this should be no more than 20% of your time.

I expected finding data would be the biggest chunk, but was surprised that over 50% of my analyst connections using at least 40% of their time finding data.

If you have one day to answer a key business question, this means you are using your entire morning just finding the data.

When you get back from lunch you haven’t even started the actual analysis yet and the clock is ticking.

Data is based on a survey I sent to 3,000 of my LinkedIn connections who are either analysts or work closely with data and analysis.

Analytics Survey – DMAIPH conducts quarterly analytics surveys to collect data on current trends in analytics. We specialize in surveys that assess analytics culture and measuring how aligned an organization is to using data and analytics  in its decision-making. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to find out more about how DMAIPH can conduct surveys to help you assess the analytics culture in your business.

The Analytics of Measurement and Evaluation

By taking inspiration from the way corporations use business analytics to optimize their Big Data, our Program Measurement and Evaluation processes can be greatly enhanced.

To understand the connection, let’s start with the mission of the Measurement & Evaluation program.

“The ability to effectively evaluate projects, programs and processes is becoming increasingly essential to organizational success today. American University’s online Master of Science (MS) in Measurement & Evaluation provides you with the knowledge to lead these evaluation efforts and the technical skills needed for analytically demanding roles in upper management.” 1

A good analytics solution constructs a universal framework for collecting, analyzing and utilizing data to determine project effectiveness and efficiency.

Likewise, an efficient measurement and evaluation of projects, programs and policies using analytics should ensure success. An analytics centered approach will likely work with corporate, non-profit and governmental organizations across various sectors and industries.

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We can look specifically to two key business analytics concepts I have used in my twenty plus years of analysis work; Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Data Visualization. The key to my success was my ability to answer important business questions using analytics.

Analytics is generally defined as the discovery of patterns in data that provides insight and identifies opportunities. As Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP said about analytics, “The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.” 2

Organizations that invest in analytics generally make much better business decisions then one’s that don’t. In fact, IBM found that organizations who use analytics are up to 12x more efficient and 33% more profitable. 3

In the corporate world, business analytics is widely use to track, analyze and report Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

KPIs are rolled up to senior leadership to drive business strategy, identify and mitigate risk and to optimize operational productivity.

This approach is very similar to the way projects in the Measurement and Evaluation are tracked, analyzed and reported.

So we need to ask ourselves, what are the KPIs for the project, program or process we are measuring? What points of data need to be captured, analyzed and reported to determine success?

A successful analyst is able to remove the noise when analyzing data and isolate what matters most to his or her organization. That is what is at the heart of measurement, knowing what data is important and what is not.

Once we have the right data, we can measure what the data tells us to determine success, causality, impact… whatever the outcome may be.

A quote often attributed to management guru Peter Drucker perfectly sums up why big corporations rely so heavily on analytics when he said “What gets measured, gets managed.”

Similarly, policy decisions can be made based on what is measured. Project funding can be impacted by what is measured. Process optimization can be directed by what is measured.

Once we are able to measure what is truly important to policy-makers, managers and decision-makers, we need to make sure we present the data in a compelling way.

This is where data visualization comes in.

I often make the analogy that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a good pie chart is worth a thousand rows of data.

We all know that most people learn more by seeing something then by reading or hearing it. Data visualization takes that a step further.

Data visualization is not only important to presenting our insights but also for exploring the data for insights. Most people find it easier to process information when it is in the form of a picture then a collection of data.

Chip & Dan Heath, Authors of Made to Stick, found that, “Data are just summaries of thousands of stories – tell a few of those stories to help make the data meaningful.”

The ability to take all of the data gathered in the measurement phase and use it in the evaluation phase will make a significant difference in the success of the project, program or process you are working on.

According to the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, “Program evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies and programs, particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency”. 5

Data Visualization can be used to paint a picture of a program, project or policy that influences outcomes based on the KPIs. And by appealing to the basic human fascination with stories, a persuasive graph, chart or infographic can make all the difference in the world.

By adopting the business analytics concepts of KPIs and Data Visualization, and applying them to the world of programs, policies and projects, you can find the same level of success I found in the corporate world.

  1. American University, “Certificate in Measurement & Evaluation” http://programs.online.american.edu/online-graduate-certificates/project-monitorin Accessed October 20, 2016
  2. Carly Fiorina Speech from December 6, 2004 http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/execteam/speeches/fiorina/04openworld.html . Accessed October 20, 2016
  3. Simon Thomas, Senior Analytics Consultant for IBM https://youtu.be/Zi8jTbXnamY . Viewed October 20, 2016
  4. Chip & Dan Heath, Authors of Made to Stick, http://heathbrothers.com. Accessed October 20, 2016
  5. OPRE, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/resource/the-program-managers-guide-to-evaluation-second-edition. Accessed October 20, 2016

Analytics Education – Facilitating a mastery of the fundamentals of analytics is what DMAIPH does best. All across the world, companies are scrambling to hire analytics talent to optimize the big data they have in their businesses. We can empower students and their instructors with the knowledge they need to prepare for careers in analytics. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly so we can set a guest lecturer date, On-the-Job Training experience or other analytics education solution specifically tailored to your needs.

The 10 Analytics Essentials of Entrepreneurship

A good friend of mine, Boom San Agustin, recently blogged about the essentials of entrepreneurship. Boom listed the 10 things most essential to be successful in setting up and running your own business.

This inspired me to put an analytics spin on each of the 10 points, showing how you can use data to augment each point.

  1. Have passion for what you do. One way to measure how much of your time you are devoting to your passion is to set a schedule and track how much time is devoted to everything you do each day. If you are happy with the % spent on passion projects then you are doing the right thing. But if too much of your time is spent on things you don’t like doing, then you need to make some changes.
  2. Pursue excellence first, money second. Here you need to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions. You need a clear idea of what excellence in your chosen business looks like. How can you measure excellence with your products, your service, your team’s performance and engagement? Putting some key metics in place will allow you to make more informed decisions.
  3. Be open and honest with others and yourself. Get feedback. See what % of your client, customer, partner, team member, interactions are honest and endure honesty in others. Come up with a way to measure the trustworthiness of what you do.
  4. Have a “can-do” attitude. Keep a project list of all the things you need to accomplish. Update it every day. Be able to show yourself and others your progress towards getting things done. This will ensure that people see the work behind the words.
  5. Be the leader your team needs. Devote significant amounts of your time to your team. Keep them informed by blogging. Build tools for communication like newsletters. Be visible in person and in social media. Track the frequency of your engagements and correlate them to employee satisfaction surveys.
  6. Learn to communicate well. Get in front of an audience whenever possible. Engage the audience. Ask for feedback. Identify challenges and opportunities and then follow up. If your team doesn’t know what is going on in your head, then it is a problem. Gathering data on your communication strengths and weaknesses is key.
  7. Be a teacher and a learner. Facilitate as much on-site training as possible. Get involved in it. Train people yourself on areas you are good at. And then sit and listen to other experts in areas you are not. Track the time put into training and come up with a cost justification. Its easy to cut training when times are tough because its hard to assign a value to it. Make this a priority now so you always know the valued of training in your business.
  8. Have your ear to the ground. Stay engaged in person and on social media. Keep updated on trends affecting your business and your employees. Use a social media tool like Hootsuite to manage your social media messaging to get feedback all in one place. Lots of data points can be created and tracked to measure how close you are to the pulse of your business.
  9. Be dynamic and open to change. Set a check-in schedule. Encourage one on ones and team meetings that are not just one sided but empower sharing. If you are open minded and listen, you will be able to make changes to your business that keep things on the cutting edge. Use a timeline to show where you have been, where you are and project out where you are going.
  10. Know when to quit. We all fail. Businesses will all fail at some point. Winners know when its time to fail and walk away to do something else. Losers stay the course until they go down with the ship. Figure out what is the most important metric in your business. Sales, profit, engagement, risk potential… whatever it is. Figure out what is the lowest acceptable number, once you get close to it, be prepare and exit plan. If you pass it, face facts and pull the plug. Always have that data point at your fingertips.

If you are able to build in analytics like these, you will be able to manage your business well. You will set a tone among the leadership that uses data, not just the gut, to make decisions. One of your first hires should be a data guy who can build a business dashboard and deliver impactful reports. Someone who can help you identify risks and rewards and keep your focus on the metrics that matter most.

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Analytics Leadership – DMAIPH specializes in arming the Data-Driven Leader with the tools and techniques they need to build and empower an analytics centric organization. Analytics leadership requires a mastery of not just analytics skill, but also of nurturing an analytics culture. We have guided thousands of Filipino professionals to become better analytics leaders. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly to discuss a uniquely tailored strategy to ensure you are the top of your game when it comes to Analytics Leadership.