When NOT to Use Data

I am big advocate of using data and metrics in your daily operations. But to my surprise a very common problem you see is that people use data too much. So I have documented for myself a short checklist to show myself if my urge to use the data in certain situation is reasonable.

Cost of collecting data is too high

If it costs more to collect data, than value you get from this, just don’t do it. If you are just choosing where to go for lunch, there is no need to check Michelin guide.

When data is not giving you the full picture

Sometimes you have lots of data, but it is only giving you partial information. Look at the Google Analytics report about organic search keywords.
There is no point looking into that report if Google is not providing you the keyword data.

When you don’t have data

I know this sounds obvious, but many times we just don’t want to give up. We promised ourself to become data-driven and are trying to base all decisions on data. But if you don’t have data, you need to move on.

Cost of the mistake is too small

Think of a cost of a mistake of your decision. If its low, just go with your intuition instead.

“the only real valuable thing is intuition”, Albert Einstein

When you don’t have specific question or issue defined

Many data projects start after you read some cool article about big data or new analytics tools and you want to go ahead and also make your company data-driven. But before you do so, please make sure you have an idea of what questions you are trying to find an answer for.