This Is Your Defiant Moodle Data Plan

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0. Your role

You are about to define the ways in which a more ambitious implementation of LMS Data will inform your current activities in Moodle. Here you can take advantage of the current roles and the existing solutions that cater to each one. There are vertical agreements too, likely starting with the fact that we all want verifiable, high-quality education. This definition casts a wide net, and that’s a benefit for the practice. There is a world to discover!

There is a more delicate problem for some of you, depending on what some define, McKinsey included, as the “Data Culture” in your organization. How much “buy-in” is there across people, and how much autonomy you have to begin implementing data experiments, pilots and initiatives, will determine how early you will be able to see results from your Data plan.

1. Your addressable problem

Your first Data initiative should reflect a combination of your strengths and vantage points, on the personal and the organizational level; the most urgent needs of the industry, the market or the consumers; and of course, your Data availability.

Don’t be surprised, nor discouraged, if you feel “underdeveloped” in either or all dimensions. It is okay to begins by investing on skills, market research or data acquisition (or better yet, data generation processes). That is, after all, addressing an internal capacity problem. For once, these are investments with a high likelihood of positive return at decreasing costs. Nobody is betting against data. Nobody is going, “please, I don’t want more information.” (Well, almost nobody. See “Bonus” section below.)

2. Your game plan

What is the boldest move you can make given your given (or recently acquired) strengths? You should be able to answer stakeholders’ questions about how your plan aligns to the organization’s problems or strategies. Of course, you should be able to defend ideas that will not materialize right away. Hopefully the leadership at your organization is wisely patient, but keen to encourage and understand your continuous progress. But on principle: Fail fast.

Capitalizing on Data successfully comes with a little bit of fine print. If you find a continuous path of sustainable growth worth your commitment, you will have to adopt a more conservative stance at every new stage. Even if you don’t agree, you will be demanded to. It is only a natural effect of having earned some equity, however intangible. This is why the beginning should include diverse experimentation in as many fields as possible.

3. Standard practice

By now, you would have reached the arduous but exciting 20% of your Data plan. You guessed it: It is largely worthless without the dreading 80% that follows. Visualize months on end taking part of all kinds of meetings and producing internal documentation. You will be explaining the same basic aspects over and over, often to the same people arranged differently. There is no workaround if you want to ensure seamless organizational integration. After all, a truly innovative Data initiative amounts to learning a new language. Not only that: You are expected to remain enthusiastic about all things Data, all the way through. Attitudes about technologies and processes are largely contagious.

4. Capitalization (aka Exit Strategy)

Congratulations, you’ve managed to implement a process of innovation within your organization, broadly adopted, and that hopefully will remain valid for a reasonable amount of time. Time to reap what you sow. You may wish to remain at the helm of your initiative. Or you may feel eager to get back to the lab and build the next great Data product, in which case you must ensure a successful handover. The business literature offers plenty of examples for both, with the latter being more common, understandable and possibly more beneficial for the organization, even the business environment.

BONUS: LMS Data are People. General management advice.

  • Be true and transparent, but not needlessly so. Data initiatives come with a bitter pill. Many organizations are not interested in finding out truths they are not going to like. But you cannot pull the neck of an ostrich out of her under-the-sand hideout. In comedy as much as business, it’s all about timing.
  • Always make sure you are seen as having the business problem relentlessly on sight. This doesn’t exclude doing things that might not relate to it, in fact they make you more rightful in the eyes of the people.
  • Seek visible “early victories.” They are a great reassurance to leaders and stakeholders. Just make sure any discovery made possible by Data is not unflattering. Ideally, it would entice better practice, not demand it.
  • Befriend boredom. Your goal is to innovate, not entertain. Plus, a little idleness can actually be a powerful asset.
  • Never assume people are tech savvy, but never let people see you think that. You must maintain a friendly, ready to explain attitude. Keep frustration and sarcastic attitudes about the silliest questions to yourself. As a rule of thumb, move as slow as the slowest one of the team.■


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