With your plan in hand, sanity checked and ready to go, you are ready to get started! Wait one minute, actually, there is one last thing you should do: Make sure you write down all the decisions you made in coming up with your plan and the data you used to make them.
Why is this important?
When you look back at your plan after executing against it, you will have either hit your targets or missed them. There are two reasons you might miss your targets:
- You failed to execute well enough.
- Your plan was bad.
Telling the difference between a bad plan and plan execution is critical if you are going to make better plans in the future.
Okay, how do I make better plans?
When you look back to evaluate yourself against your targets, you will now be armed with the decisions you made and the data you used to make them. You can look back and see if the data you used was reliable and correct, and whether the decisions you made with that data were correct. This will help you avoid the trap of evaluating your past decisions with what you know now, instead of evaluating them based on what you knew at the time.
Chances are, no matter whether you attained your goal or not, some of the data you used was incorrect or unreliable. Knowing which data was bad and why will help you choose your data better in the future and hopefully make better decisions in the future. You’ll know that you are improving when you reliably attain your targets and can look back and believe they were the right targets to set.
Next Time: The Data Driven Daily is taking a week off for the holidays. We’ll be back in 2017 with more daily advice on using data to make decisions. If there are topics you’d like us to cover in the new year, or thorny data problems you are struggling with, send them over!
Quote of the Day: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” ― Oprah Winfrey