You Want Me To Do What With My Data?

I was all kinds of excited to see the latest post from Joe Patti at ArtsHacker. The title alone triggers one of my biggest pet peeves: Yes, Data Driven Decision Making. But What Data Is Important?. It’s exactly the right question and at the core of a conference session I present on this very topic.

Seeing the reference to vanity data was especially nice.

The most valuable data for an organization is key performance indicators (KPIs). Most data points are diagnostic metrics which, while valuable, support KPIs rather than measure progress toward organizational goals. Vanity metrics make you look impressive, especially in front of your governing board, but are not really useful in measuring the success of the organization.

Vanity metrics tend to fall into the larger category of mostly useless information funders have annoying habits of asking for in grant applications. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a good bit of these metrics fall into the sort of thing a good data manager spends time pushing back against when dealing with HiPPOs (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion).

In addition to Joe’s post, swing by this one I wrote for ArtsHacker that draws from my Data Driven Decision Making presentation.

Yes, Data Driven Decision Making. But What Data Is Important?

GA Skills For Creating A Data Driven Culture: Secondary Dimensions

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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