Critical Skills for Performance Work

I was just watching John Rauser’s keynote “What is a Career in Big Data?” from last weeks Strata Conference New York and I have to say it’s an amazing talk. I would highly recommended it to anyone who does any type of data analysis, including any type of performance analysis.

I found many of the “critical skill” points John made to have a strong correlation to performance analysis work as well. Some quotations that really stand out to me:

On writing:

“[writing]…it’s the first major difference between mediocrity and greatness.” [10:39]

“If it isn’t written down, it never happened…if your writing is so opaque that people can not understand your work, then you may as well never have never done it.” [10:50]

On skepticism:

“If you take a skeptical attitude toward your analysis you’ll look just as hard for data that refutes your hypothesis as you will for data that confirms it. A skeptic attacks the same question from many different angles and dramatically increases their confidence in the results.” [11:40]

The main reason that I wanted to highlight the critical skills of writing and skepticism is I see (read) way too many blog posts from Oracle users that fail on both of those skills. The writing simply fails to clearly communicate the issue at hand, what analysis was done and what data was used to draw the conclusion. Many blog posts also are written without any level of skepticism–they simply “report” their findings and fail to question their own work for accuracy. I hope this talk inspires you to raise your bar when it comes to performance work. Enjoy!

One comment

  1. Steve Howard

    I agree with the sentiment you propose when it comes to ensuring any written work should be of high quality, but keep in mind many bloggers (including myself) post as a way to have consistently available notes that are accessible anywhere/anytime in a searchable format (google). Sometimes (often) it is a quick note I will jot down so I don’t forget. I will then see it later and expand upon it with additional research. Periodically, I will receive an email from someone thanking me for what I wrote, and I always think, “Really? Are you sure it was mine?” :)

    Having mentioned that, I love your blog, and will immediately contradict what I wrote above in that I know you always provide high quality, well researched topics :) It also causes me to think twice before I post something, as everyone and their brother can see it, which brings me to another reason I think anyone should write down anything they think to be of value.

    If they write it down, it is immediately open for consideration/criticism. If they don’t, they can wander through whatever topic it is on which they are writing and be wrong, yet never know it. I have often heard that bloggers shouldn’t write things that are not well researched, as someone may come along at 2AM, find it thinking the posted content is a solution to their current problem, and consequently make a poor decision. “caveat emptor” is the phrase that comes to mind.

    Anything written on the internet should be open to criticism, and anything found on the internet should be (constructively) criticized.

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