Most of our decisions are made on gut instinct in a matter of seconds and usually less than a minute. This is the most common way to make a decision. It’s often said the best ideas are the ones that come from your gut, but when you start making more tactical decisions within your business, then data always helps. Data is more than just facts and figures. Data is everywhere. There’s more data available now than ever before, and we are continuously striving to stay head of the curve in an increasingly data-driven decision making world. Data can align your team members, improve collaboration and ultimately enhance your organization’s bottom line. With this, the increasing opportunity to collect, interpret and leverage digital information, has led many managers and leaders adapting to how they make decisions – relying less on intuition and more on data.
Data vs. Opinions
When it comes to making decisions, your colleagues and team members have their own distinct strategies. The more experience we gain, and the more time we spend at a job, the more opinionated we become. How many of you can relate to the quote from James Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape, who famously said “If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.”? However, without the numbers to back you up, those opinions are suppositions, not actionable data-based insights.
Data-Driven Project Decisions
Every decision you make as a project manager helps or hinders the project. These decisions can make the project shorter or longer, less or more expensive, simpler or more complex. Data-driven project metrics can enable project managers to collect, measure, interpret and analyze project performance. This result in making rational project decisions with data-driven certainty rather than making vague decisions with feelings and uncertainty.
Data-Driven Business Decisions
We are aware of the boundless possibilities and opportunities which data can provide. Once we dive in, we realize there are at least 20 different approaches to take and because of this, you have to be mindful not to spend all of your time mining the data, but to have an end goal in sight, to keep focused.
So, what is it you want to achieve? For example:
- Do you want to investigate and diagnose a current problem?
- Identify a future business opportunity?
- Measure the return on investment of a particular effort?
The more clarity you have in relation to your end goal or objective, the more focused and rewarding your analysis will be.
Here are five of my favorite quotes to get you focused when making data-driven decisions: