Where in Life is it Not Helpful to Have a Plan?

Strategic Planning for your Analytics Initiatives

Planning is harder than usual right now

My family takes a trip to the beach most summers. We spend a lot of time preparing for this week. Who are we going with? Where are we staying? Are we renting bikes when we get there? Where is the dog going to stay when we are gone? Who is going to feed the guinea pig and fish? (Yes, there are too many living things at my house). 

It is no shock that planning is even harder this year. Are the beaches even going to be open? At what point do I forfeit my deposit if I cancel? Are schools going to open on time? Will schools be online? Do I have to quarantine myself for 2 weeks if I go out of state? Even if everything is open, should we even go?

Good planning has always been hard

Most of my career has been in the field of analytics, both on the client side and the consulting side. I’ve seen a lot of initiatives that began without the requisite planning. 

  • How many organizations jumped into Hadoop without a legitimate need?
  • How many business leaders have wanted to throw a bunch of data into the machine, only to see what came out the other end? 
  • How many business functions decided they needed their own data scientist without fully understanding the full suite of skills required? 

Our team has seen tremendous value over the years in pausing before jumping right in. 

  • We’ve uncovered existing reports that others didn’t know existed -> avoiding duplicative work.
  • We’ve reprioritized work based on data availability and upcoming system changes -> avoiding the need for rework and not putting too much strain on the required SMEs.
  • We’ve used POCs to ensure an adequate level of accuracy could be obtained -> preventing costly investments that ultimately wouldn’t be of value. 

Good planning is necessary to achieve full ROI

I’m certainly not immune to failing to plan and jumping right in. There was a recent project where we started doing development work, not realizing that certain stakeholders were not aligned. Due to that, the solution has yet to be implemented, and is not creating the value it could. 

That experience led me to explore the world of change management. I learned a few things, such as the importance of finding a great sponsor and the traits found in one. In our methodology, we consider aspects of change management such as this. If you are interested in learning more, here’s a conversation I had recently with a few lifelong change management experts. 

If you’d like some help planning your analytics and intelligent automation efforts, we’d love to talk. Over the past 4+ years, we’ve seen a wide variety of projects across all kinds of industries and would love to put that knowledge to work for you