June 26, 2013

Out Of The Ordinary

In the real world, when we see something out of the ordinary, we take a picture of it.

What do we do when we see something out of the ordinary in business?

Curiosity is a gift.  Too often, we let software limit our curiosity.

I once asked an analyst if he calculated profit.  He told me that the systems weren't integrated well enough for him to incorporate profitability into his calculations.  He didn't possess the curiosity required to investigate if any data could be linked.

Another analyst produced a report that didn't tie out with the report the EVP possessed.  The analyst didn't have the curiosity to find out why the data didn't match, only offering that the data came from "different systems".

Or as I'm seeing a lot lately ... merchandise performance absolutely stinks, and somebody notices something odd in the data.  But ... and this is a big but ... "that's the responsibility of the merchandising team, it's simply not my job to analyze the performance of merchandise, that's the job of the merchandising team."



Terribly wrong.

When you see something out of the ordinary, document it (i.e. take a picture).  Then go figure out what the heck is going on.  Odds are nobody else is seeing what you are seeing, and even if somebody else is analyzing the issue, they aren't analyzing it the way you analyze it!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:03 AM

    This is a great point. I'm a developer in a small company, so I have a lot of autonomy and ownership of the things that I work on, which I think is very important. I've been in different environments in the past, where it was just natural to expect the other guy in the other department to do something.

    I'm also working on a little side project - a service for Magento merchants. I just recently added in profitability calculation to some of the orders that the service is driving.

    It's exactly the kind of thing that if I was in a different (larger?) environment, I never would have thought to even care about, let alone to do some of the manual data entry that was needed to get the calculations to be accurate.

    But being the only one in charge of the whole thing, it just makes sense to do it. And after having done it, you see how incredibly valuable such a simple thing is, that otherwise you might not have even bothered with.

    I really enjoy the process of developing features (or performing analysis) when you have full ownership over the entire product. It's awesome!


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