The novelistHenry Green once said, “The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.” Or, to put it another way, less is more! And in Agile reporting we doing exactly this.
When you’re building a dashboard to report data on your business, it’s not the number of key performance indicators (KPIs) you use that counts, it’s the story they tell. The fewer KPIs on your dashboard, the clearer that story will be.
Marketers often say all ads should have a call to action. The same is true of data reports. The fact is, we often overpopulate our dashboards, when the idea that anyone actually needs or will care about that much data is absurd. If someone in your company is insisting on having too much data, ask them what their call to action from the report is — what action or actions do they want the report to help them take?
When you design a data report, you need to focus on what data you truly need to receive. The data in the report should be precise and actionable, meaning that the emphasis of the report should be to help you make decisions, not just provide information. An input without an outcome is a waste of time. That may sound a bit drastic, but it’s not!
So the next time you’re building a new dashboard, ask yourself these questions to use the agile reporting method:
- What actions do I want to take? Understand what you wish to achieve.
- When do I need to take these actions? Don’t waste time building a dashboard if you won’t look at it on a daily or weekly basis.
- Can I trust the data? We all know that data is not always consistent, so if you can’t trust the data, don’t use it.
The takeaway: Focus on actions, not on data!