We all know that Big Data is cack.
“So if you don’t like Big Data, what’s your alternative then?”, I hear nobody cry.
There’s all sorts of data, here’s some definitions I just made up.
Data and lots of it, used for analysis to look for patterns and correlations, often from all over the shop. A bit like the TV programme “Through The Keyhole”, you look at everything and try and work out [puts on voice] who would live in a house like this.
Example: Netflix snooping on your choice of
smutty art films.
Data an organisation currently holds, often as a by-product of buying something silly like a CRM monster. Used to manage work or produce performance reports for other people elsewhere. This stuff has been sloshing around for ages and is what people automatically think of when measures are mentioned.
Example: a phone system snitching on how long humans are taking to pick up the phone.
The most important data there is.
I call it tiny data as in most organisations it’s invisible or it doesn’t exist. Think Magic Elves. It is collected when someone needs to know something useful about their work process so they can take informed action. This is why it mainly doesn’t exist.
Example: a five-bar gate count of customer demands, written down by the member of staff who speaks with customers.
How to create Tiny Data
- Establish purpose. Not by writing it down, not by consensus, not by looking it up in a document, purpose is forensically excavated from the muddy earth of the work.
- Now you know purpose, find out what you need to measure to understand how capable you are at meeting it.
- Does it help you understand what is happening and why, does it connect actions and consequences? Does it help people learn from it, to improve?
NB Collation of Tiny Data may require the purchase of special equipment such as a pencil and notepad.
Why Tiny Data rules
1: TINY DATA IS WANTED
Big and Small data are by-products, created as a consequence of someone somewhere else doing something else.
Tiny Data is created because it is needed to find out about the work. It never exists unless it is useful.
Tiny Data is born of purpose!
2: TINY DATA IS TRUSTWORTHY
Relying on the stuff that’s already there is lazy. Tiny data forces you think about what it is your measuring and what you will do with it.
Tiny Data is lead by purpose!
3: TINY DATA IS DEVOTED TO YOU
If you want to keep it close to hand, it’s not going anywhere. Nobody will come to audit or change it’s definition, frankly the sort of frotteuristic no-mark who does that type of thing for a living couldn’t even see your lovely Tiny Data as being worth pressing themselves against, as it isn’t official. So you use it. It’s yours.
4: TINY DATA CAN’T BE BENCHMARKED
Tiny Data can’t be damaged by being frog-marched into quartile rankings by officious Performance Management Officers, because they don’t exist as official measures. They aren’t on the comparator lists or on scorecards, so they exist below the noses of the Performance Managementers without ever being noticed. This means Tiny Data escapes being used in a reporting mechanism, it escapes the influence of gaming and targets. It retains its usefulness.
Even as a useless Policy Officer I have managed to horde Tiny Data, so if I can anybody can.
What Tiny Data are you collecting to help understand and improve?