Presentation of performance data & analysis?
cswiger at mac.com
Fri Apr 24 18:58:03 UTC 2009
On Apr 24, 2009, at 9:50 AM, David Wolfskill wrote:
> While I don't have any PHBs in my direct management chain, I've seen
> some PHB tendencies in the management of the folks I'm supporting.
> I get the message that "complicated" won't ccommunicate to them. Nor
> will "nuanced."
> Even a pointer to some examples of approaches that seem to work well
> for this sort of thing would help a great deal -- my training hasn't
> exactly been in statistical analysis or in presentation of data. :-}
Presentation to PHBs and statistical analysis are remarkably different
skills. Save the latter for an appendix or footnotes, so the
engineering types have some confidence that you've actually done some
work in testing and your results are likely to be sane, if/when the
PHBs for the client ask their local tech gurus about it afterwards.
For the "presentation to PHBs" part, it's simple: start with an intro
that briefly mentions what you want to talk about and why they should
care, typically, how much money can they save if they make the change
(or how much more can they make, depending, etc). The most direct
example I can recall of this was from a professor of human-computer
interaction (HCI), who was studying things like supermarket checkout
line scanners and telephone operator systems.
It turns out that if you pre-record the initial greeting, ie, where
you dial 0 and the operator says "Hello, this is AT&T [or whomever],
how may I help you?" so that the operator can focus on the type of
incoming call (ie, residential line operator request, pay phone, fire/
police/emergency, jail/prison calls, etc) instead of speaking a rote
response, this saves a few (about 3 seconds) per call in processing.
At the time this study was done (1990ish), that represented on the
order of $50 million dollars per year savings to the phone company.
Then go into more details such as what the change would entail, what
benefits should occur, what tradeoffs might apply, any caveats, and
then summarize with a repeat of the core idea and cost/benefit or
savings they get for the conclusion. If this sounds to you like the
way the classic 5-paragraph essay works (ie, paragraph 1: intro, tell
them what you're saying, paragraphs 2-4: three points, paragraph 5:
conclusion, where you tell them again what you've just said :), well,
you're getting the idea....
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