The First Question I Have For Every Data Request

There are very few absolutes in the world, death, taxes, and dirty data sets easily come to mind — but when it comes to internal experts in support positions like researchers, data analysts, and data scientists, I’d like to nominate another one: their reaction when someone comes to them with a request.

“Tell me what problem you’re trying to solve, not the solution you think you want.” — All of us, all the time. The majority of the time, especially if there’s not a lot of cross-functional experience, people will come and make a specific request for an analysis or data that they believe will help them do whatever it is they’re doing. Often it’s couched as a “small data request” or “just a chart or two”. Very often their request has little context.

Author: Randy Au

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