November 26, 2014

Stacey Barr: The First Three Steps To Get KPI Buy-In

Last week I attended a webinar by Stacey Barr to launch her new book Practical Performance Measurement, which describes Stacey's PuMP Blueprint for developing performance measurement processes.

The webinar covered the preparatory steps in performing meaningful performance measurement, including
  1. Why performance measurement is difficult
  2. What's wrong with current wisdom about KPIs
  3. What actually works
The webinar also provided a brief overview of the PuMP Blueprint.

If performance measurement is an important part of your work or that of your organisation then you can find out more here.

November 24, 2014

Stephen King Screen Adaptations (Plotly)

Stephen King is a prolific author, whose books I've enjoyed reading since I was a teenager. His prodigious written output has spawned many screen adaptations for film and television, but in many cases I've been disappointed by the screen versions; see, for example, the dreadful "Under the Dome" TV mini-series.

I decided to look at how well-received King's films have been compared with his books. I found a list of screen adaptations, and for each looked up the book's rating on Goodreads and the movie's rating on IMDb. I necessarily omitted screenplays, movie sequels (not a adapted from a King book) and short stories that contributed to only a portion of a movie. I then imported this data into Plotly and produced the chart shown below
Mouse over a glyph to display details.

The chart reveals a positive correlation between the ratings of King's books and their screen adaptations. Highly rated novels such as "The Green Mile", "Rita Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Body" produced well-regarded movies, whereas poorly rated stories such as "Trucks", "The Mangler" and "Tommyknockers" resulted in absolute stinkers on screen.

We can also see that TV adaptations (wide glyphs) were generally less well-received than were film adaptations (tall glyphs). So too short stories (orange glyphs) and their screen adaptations tend not to rate as highly as novels (blue glyphs) and novellas (green glyphs), and their screen adaptations.

Incidentally, this was my first time using Plotly. I was able to import my data and generate a scatter plot with relative ease. Customising it for my needs took a little longer as I was new to the tool. I'll definitely use Plotly again.

November 11, 2014

Visualizing how my personal tax was spent

I received my tax assessment yesterday. On the last page was the bar chart shown below, which visualizes where my "personal tax was spent, based on 2014-15 Budget estimates" (according to the caption). To the right of each bar is a dollar amount (obscured) that represents the portion of my taxes spent in each category.

Where my "personal tax was spent, based on 2014-15 Budget estimates".

I've not seen this chart on previous years' tax assessments. It provides a useful indication of where the Federal government (expects) to spend our personal taxes.

The chart is simple but effective. Sorting from largest to smallest is a good choice, as is the breakdown of the Welfare budget into sub-categories. I don't believe the colours encode any information. I'm glad they didn't use a (3D) pie chart which so often blights public reports of budget expenditure.

I'll be interested to see what charts accompany my tax assessment next year. I'd be interested to see some historical information such as budgeted versus actual expenditure, or the change in amount of tax paid.