A simple concept that can make us laser focused

You already know what a Question is. In the context of Simpler Analytics, Audiences ask Questions, that are answered by Metrics through Data Products.

Questions are important for two reasons:

  1. They focus the work

  2. They are accessible and understandable to everyone

In technically complex projects like data analytics, it is easy to lose sight of goals, even for seemingly simple tasks. By keeping at least one Question in focus anytime we are working on a Data Asset, we avoid losing our way.

Everyone finds Questions understandable and can engage. Even people who have zero background in data can articulate Questions that they want to be able to answer.

That accessibility is the foundation for Data Workshops. By simply asking participants to frame things in terms of questions they need answered, you can keep Audience members out of technical details and complexity.

A list of Questions then lends itself to prioritization. If the Audience members identified 10 questions, it’s easy to ask them to identify the most important ones to answer.

In my work, I’ve found it not helpful to keep a permanent list of Questions. Unlike Data Assets (Metrics, Sources, Data Products), Questions do not belong in the Data Asset Inventory.

Questions are more fluid. Although it’s helpful to keep a working list at times, trying to maintain all questions that might be asked isn’t worth the effort.

However, when working on a Metric, it’s critical to identify at least one Question and Audience that the Metric is addressing.

Questions, as a concept, also encompass decisions, insights, and other labels people put on information that Metrics can provide.