Structuring unlearned information
I recently cleaned up our corporate folder structure. The challenge with this is, that you have two types of data. Existing data and future data.
Sorting existing data is easy. You can look at it and define where to put it. You can cluster it in meaningful groups.
Sorting future data is hard. You don’t know the data. You can’t cluster or move it somewhere. And you are most likely not the person to put it in the right place.
You need a structure, that is so obvious, that future data can’t fall out of the system
The most common ways are:
- What kind of data is it?
- What is the data for?
Purpose driven structure (what is the data for) has one massive advantage:
You can identy the gaps. Because you can create folders for a purpose, that have no data in them.
If you have an empty folder called “customer research” or even no such folder at all, that might be an issue.
When thinking about user behaviour, it’s the same challenge.
You need a place for the information you don’t have yet
Thus you need a structure, so you can see missing information.
It’s like a puzzle. You notice the missing piece, once the puzzle is almost complete. But if you sort the pieces for the sky first, you notice the missing piece earlier.
Here is a guide to building such a structure:
- Define a purpose
- Define the metrics of progress towards it
- Break it down to data you need
- Define how to aggregate the data
- Collect the data
- Work with the data
Remember: It’s easier to see thinks, once you start looking for them.