10 Tips to Perfect Your Presentation Skills
Is giving presentations the part of your job that you dread? Not to worry, we have provided some practical tips that you can immediately put into action. With the amount of emphasis placed on sharing and utilizing data in the President’s Management Agenda, the demand for data analysis-focused presentations is likely to expand. Try applying these tips to perfect your presentation skills.read more
Data Visualization 101
One sure-fire way to lose your audience is to give a bland presentation about numbers. While the rise and fall of digits matter to all of us – GDP, interest rates, profit margins – something about it transports our minds to thoughts of sandy beaches in faraway places.read more
Data-Driven Decision Making at Federal Agencies
One of the chief Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goals of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) is: “Leverage data as a strategic asset to grow the economy, increase the effectiveness of the Federal Government, facilitate oversight, and promote transparency.”read more
Analytics is a Function, Not a Job Title
I recently read an HBR article that reinforced much of what we’ve been seeing internally at Management Concepts for the last two years: Analytics is a function, not a job title, and regardless of job title, analytics should be a part of every team’s profile. As noted by the HRB authors, you don’t have to be a Data Scientist to work in analytics. Success with analytics requires a “big tent” approach: Everybody in, and everybody all in.read more
Data, Data Everywhere…Albatross or Opportunity?
Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner tells the experience of a sailor returning from a long voyage. In the early parts of the poem, the mariner describes how an albatross leads the crew out an ice jam in the Antarctic, but the mariner then kills the bird. The crew vacillates between viewing the killing of the albatross as a good or a bad thing. However, they soon become surrounded by “water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” Eventually, the mariner encounters death, but survives after accepting his guilt – however as a penance for shooting the bird, the sailor must wander the earth telling his story to passersby.read more
What Is Data Science and Why Do We Need More Data Scientists?
If you take a quick look at Glassdoor.com and their “50 Best Jobs in America” for 2017, you will notice that Data Scientist ranks at #1, among several other “data/analytics” titles in the list. Although this is evidently a highly desirable job, there appears to be a large talent gap in the field.read more
Same Data, Different Conclusions: It’s a Good Thing
When I was deciding where to go with my husband, I experienced a bit of work-related déjà vu. Every option I considered was very different from the next, but all were possibilities chosen based on the same exact set of data (number of vacation days available, budget, etc.). I felt like I was back at the office working with a team, arguing about what decision to make, even though we were all reviewing the same data.read more
Defining the Problem – How Savvy Data Pros Get It Right
Without a clearly or accurately defined problem, time and other resources will be wasted, and you’ll be left unable to make an effective decision. Often, nailing down exactly what you’re trying to solve is more difficult than the analysis itself.read more
A Perfect Match: Data Analysts Pair Technical Skills with Soft Skills
I’m going to discuss a very important relationship in every data analyst’s life: the marriage of technical skills to their soft-skill counterparts. Just like every relationship, this one requires understanding and balancing complementary aspects to be successful. Let’s look at how the skill for knowing how your sphere of influence—i.e. awareness of what you can do yourself, and how you can influence others—works hand-in-hand with your skill for driving data-based decisions.read more
Put Your Data Visuals on a Diet: No More Pie Charts!
Happy Pi Day! To celebrate, I will be discussing one of the most widely-used (but not widely useful!) data visualizations: the Pie Chart. While charts and graphs are invaluable tools for easily and quickly communicating a complex message to an audience, if they aren’t wisely designed, they can also be misinterpreted, misleading, or even deterrents to action. And pie charts—despite their deceptively simple style and popularity—often lead viewers astray, or lead nowhere at all.read more
In 2017, Show the Way—With Data
There’s no better way to illustrate the ROI of a program than to literally illustrate it—with effective, irrefutable visuals of the data—which can serve as common ground for discussions about the work being analyzed.read more
Are You a Good Data Storyteller?
Data tells stories: of success and ambition, as well as failure and challenge. It looks to the past and to the future, while delivering a clear and accurate now. But data professionals know it speaks best when arranged with a simple visual alongside a cogent message. Visuals show the story of your data, but are your visuals telling the right story the right way? When data storytelling goes wrong—when the visual is too complicated, when there are too many meanings in the graphic, when the message can’t be read quickly or clearly—your audience will not hear the story. And just as a great visual presentation can be remembered for a long time, some stakeholders may take a long time to forget a bad one.read more
Analysis Paralysis: Find Time to Get the Croissant with Your Cup of Coffee
You’ve just submitted the report that your supervisor wanted on projected HR costs for next quarter. As you lean back to enjoy your second cup of coffee and begin to tackle your next project, an email asking you to run the analysis based on a different set of assumptions pops up in your inbox. So much for getting a head-start on that other project. Changing one or two input items yielding different results that management can act upon is referred to as “modeling”.read more
Open Data: Your Future, Your Now
I took the opportunity to reflect on these broad topics together while I attended the Data Transparency 2016 + White House Open Data Innovation Summit.read more
EEOC Executive Leadership Conference Wrap-Up
Management Concepts facilitated a workshop on data visualization at the EEOC Executive Leadership Conference. Some key takeaways based on themes are as follows.read more
How Much Data Do I Need?
As an analyst and evaluator, the most frequent question I am asked is, “How much data do I need for this analysis?” You need to have enough usable, representative data to answer your questions …read more
Top 5 Questions from Our DATA Act Webinar
With so many questions asked at the end of our DATA Act webinar last week, we were unable to answer them all on the spot, but here’s a follow-up on the top…read more
Picture This: Data Visualization
In an earlier blog post, I wrote about how an evidence-based culture supports making data-driven decisions. As I was reviewing our data visualization course this…read more
People Analytics Is Trending Up
This summer, I have been watching a lot of baseball. The sport has always captured my attention because it is highly strategic game. Baseball managers are faced…read more
Why Don’t We Make More Data-Driven Decisions?
As of this writing, Data.gov hosts 184,055 datasets. We have petabytes upon petabytes of data, yet struggle to find the best answers for common problems like employee…read more
Breaking Down Big Data
The term “Big Data” is thrown around a lot in the IT and data analytics communities. Managing the size and complexity of available data has become a primary challenge…read more
DATA Act – Federal Countdown to May 2017
Last week my colleague Kim Coehlo brought us up-to-date on the data standards updated by Treasury last week. This hopefully will allow movement on DATA Act…read more
DATA Act Standards Released: What’s the Impact?
At the end of April, the Treasury Department released the fourth and final iteration of the data management standards called for by the DATA Act. These standards…read more
Myth or Reality? I Don’t Need Data Analytics for My Job
Data is exploding, especially in the Federal sector. Yet, the increase in data analytics has come with an increase in specialized data analyst roles. So, is it a…read more
Understanding Data for Better Analysis
Data analytics has exploded: We have more data at our fingertips than ever before. And we can do more with data than ever before. Demonstrating data leadership…read more
Visualization and Metrics: Using Data to Build High-Performing Organizations
I recently attended the Government Analytics Breakfast forum hosted by Johns Hopkins University where HHS’s Chief Data Officer Dr. Caryl Brzymialkiewicz discussed…read more
Data Analytics in the Workplace
Did you know that the United State Postal Service (USPS) photographs and documents every single piece of mail it processes? In 2012, this accumulated to 160…read more
Pentagon’s Personnel Focus: Analytics
There is a growing interest in people analytics in both the public and private sectors. I applaud Defense Secretary Carter’s decision to create an Office of People Analytics…read more
Three Ways DATA Act Standards Will Help Government Act Using Data
The standards are set for government data. The end of this summer marks a significant milestone achievement in the push for the Federal government to make more…read more