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Know what you're measuring before you start measuring

Data Strategy

We work with a number of clients who know that they need to measure (quantify) how they’re doing but they don’t really know where to start. Often we see them try to measure “all the things” which means you’re really not measuring anything. Most people obviously know what data is but they’re not really sure where to start in terms of setting up their own data collection methods and processes.

We start by encouraging people to think about what success looks like for them. For example, we work with a group that trains female coffee farmers in Rwanda. When we started working with them, they came to us with about 50 different indicators they wanted to measure. We spent about a month slimming down and simplifying the data they needed to capture, ultimately winnowing it down to about 5 key success metrics.

From there we set up data collection tools to track those 5 success metrics. And we used Metabase to visualize the results. We were able to quickly show them that their helping increase yearly salaries by around 4% (and chart it month-to-month). By simplifying what they’re looking for, they’re able to focus more directly on positive outcomes for their non profit and for the people they work with.

Metabase Dashboard for Standard Co

Contributed by
TJ Muehleman
Standard Co

TJ is a CEO at Standard Co, a data management solutions company headquartered in Atlanta, GA, that helps organizations to collect, manage, and analyze data. You can find TJ on Twitter at @tjmule or read his blog at www.muehleman.com

photo of TJ Muehleman