From Data Management to Data Analysis and Visualization: The Project Management Viewpoint

By Hammond, Richard | Online, September-October 2006 | Go to article overview

From Data Management to Data Analysis and Visualization: The Project Management Viewpoint


Hammond, Richard, Online


BACK when I was a young pup in the business of computers, the terms "data management" and "the IT guy" (no offense to IT women, but it's pretty likely they were called IT guys as well) were sufficiently well-defined to cover most everything to do with computers, at least from a project manager's point of view. Projects generated data and the IT guy managed that data. Throughout the 1990s, as the industry and the tools matured, the language evolved as well. Terms such as "data warehouse" and "data mining" described more specific products, and the database administrator was separated from the network administrator. As we kick off the 21st century, the terminology and technologies continue to evolve. This article provides a project manager's (the topic expert in this article) view of several terms and it provides an understanding of how knowing those terms and their use will improve your projects overall. Data management, analysis, and visualization are three peas in a pod.

A little personal history will help this tale. For many years, my job involved managing large data sets of chemical analyses. Around 1990, I started fiddling with geographic information systems, (GIS). These programs provided the IT guy with the tools to create "smart maps," maps that knew a circle represented a sampling point, a rectangle represented a building, and a long curvy line represented a road. The process of "mapifying" those data sets really opened my eyes to the three separate processes that are involved in the data trail and to the fact that the responsibility for, the measures of, and the expertise required for success in each process are unique. As a project manager, understanding how each process impacts the others, and more importantly, how each process judges its success, will definitely help you gather the appropriate team and be able to more effectively communicate your needs.

ISN'T DATA JUST DATA?

When databases were first developed, it was pretty cool just to be able to manage and manipulate that much information. The IT guys could really make those numbers jump. Unfortunately (and too often), the topic expert was not able to effectively communicate to the IT guys a description of what outputs from the database would be most useful. Just as frequently, the IT guys were frustrated, because although their ability to manage such massive amounts data was phenomenal, they remained unable to impress the topic experts. Data management considers data to be just data.

If we assume that both the topic experts and the IT guys are extremely smart, then perhaps we should look a bit closer at the data. Claude Shannon did just that in the 1940s and 1950s when he developed Information Theory [www.lucent.com/minds/infotheory]. Interested in understanding how to measure and control radio transmissions, Shannon did not concern himself with the meaning of those transmissions, only how to best move bits and bytes of information around a system. His work, among many others, helped us learn to move the bits and bytes of data around the system just like a train moves merchandise from one location to another. It is now relatively straightforward to calculate the costs of data management. There are also many consultants who will do a great job for you.

As project manager, it is imperative that you understand what constitutes success for the database manager. The measurements used to judge that individual's performance are essential for understanding the overall project, but those measurements have little or nothing to do with measurements regarding data quality. To continue the train analogy, keep in mind that just as the train engineer and the train owners judge themselves not on the quality of the merchandise they carry, but rather on the timeliness and efficiency with which that merchandise is carried, the database manager is judged by standards that measure how much data was correctly moved from point A to point B, not how "good" that data is. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

From Data Management to Data Analysis and Visualization: The Project Management Viewpoint
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.