Dashboard Dangers Part 2: Completion Rate
If you haven't read my prior post on this topic, you can find it here. In this post, we will discuss other areas where analytics can help.
Suppose we were tracking completion rate on our tasks. We have completed 5 tasks and have 5 tasks remaining. What is our completion rate?
Simple math tells us that we have completed 50% of our tasks. Is it possible that we've only completed 5% of our tasks?
By defining our completion rate as tasks completed divided by the total number of tasks, we are making certain assumptions. Our biggest assumption is that every task is the same. What if our tasks are different?
Let's say that our objective is to drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas and we defined our tasks as follows:
You can tell based on this breakdown that if we only completed the first 5 tasks, we are nowhere near 50% complete! If you define the completion based on time instead of quantity, you see a drastically different completion percentage.
Our completion percentage is closer to 5%! Many people and organizations make decisions based on data without understanding that the assumptions they use can drastically affect the message of the data. Through analytics, we can develop a better understanding of what the numbers mean and how we can utilize them effectively. Always ask what assumptions are being made anytime you see numbers or visualizations.