Before You Start
Okay so you might have collected a lot of data on a new product or a new task strategy. This might be from a beta test or from a survey. What do you do with it though? Collecting data is just one of the steps in the entire process. Analyzing the data, and making a sound decision is definitely the difficult part. After all, a poor decision could cost you, literally.
Even if you’re raking in the huge profits, you still don’t want to lose any money, and if you have a problem with a product or task strategy, then you want it solved as quickly as possible. If something is costing you money, then you want to deal with it even sooner than if you were just in the development stages of something new. Speed can certainly be your enemy in either situation though, as a rushed decision based on a poor analysis can leave your business reeling. So let’s go into the steps required to make a good and informed decision.
Put the Data In Order
The first step is to put the data in the order that you received it in. Rudimentary data such as survey data, or data collected through simple investigative work that does not actually include the practice or product should go first. This data was collected to determine where it the product or app should be put in place, and for whom.
Next is the beta test, or field test data. The secondary data in this case will help determine if the product or practice is worth further development or investigation, and where it should marketed or implemented, as well as other important details about it. If you have review data at hand from a final product or practice already in place, that data would be considered after everything else has been evaluated.
Begin Your Analysis
Once you have got it all the data in the proper sequence then you can begin the analysis process. There are key factors you are going to want to determine from this data:
- Will this work in not just the short term, but the long term?
- Is it worth the cost in needed to proceed?
- Who is product or practice directed at? (Different domestic departments or customers)
- Where does this need to be implemented?
- How far should the new process be extended?
- What are the effects of implementation? (If you have done a beta test or have review data)
- Will this or did the product or process meet the goals set?
These are all very important questions that you need to be able to answer from this step in the process. The best way to move forward is with a solid answer to every single one of them. It is about making an informed decision at the end of the process. If an answer is not certain then it is best to go back and retrieve the data again, but more thoroughly. Sadly then you have to restart the entire process, but generally that is worth doing. Never be desperate or in any kind of rush to make a business decision, because again, it may cost you. It might even cost you more in the long term than it would have had you simply not made a decision at all.
A Proper Analysis
Proper data review is not done by one or two people. It is done by a group of people with different opinions, and points of view. One of them might see an undesired consequence that the others did not. A member of the group might even discover a better way to implement the new product or practice that everyone else just missed. The more eyes, ears, and hands that you have on a project, the better and less biased the assessment will be.
Before Decision Time
Give yourself a little bit of time, at least, to think over all the data, opinions, and points of view. You may come to some new conclusions yourself. There will come a time to pull the proverbial trigger on the decision, but it does not have to be right away. Chances are that you have all sorts of options, and resources at your disposal, some that you might not even be considering. A breakthrough can happen any time of day, all it takes is an open mind, and a little bit of thought.
Rendering a Decision
Once you have gone through all of the previous steps, reviewed all the data, and looked at what is best for business, then you can make your decision. Failure is never an option. Keep in mind that a horizontal business move is also a loss in today’s world. If you cannot determine that a decision one way or the other is going to bring in a healthy profit, then give it a pass. A fight that you didn’t partake in did not hurt your business, or cost it a dime.
Resources and money can both be lost to a poor or even just poorly timed decision. Good timing is the final step to be considered in the analysis process. A decision made too late is just not worth the time invested in the process, or the headache of trying to reverse engineer the mistake. On the other hand, a product or practice that would be better implemented at a later time should be delayed until the time is appropriate. So consider all your options and weigh all the details to assure decision you make will yield a triumph rather than a catastrophe.