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Junk Data: How to Cope with It?

Junk data is a real thing. The term refers to every file and byte of data that does not serve any real purpose other than wasting space. Salesforce classifies four types of junk data: missing information, inaccurate information, outdated data, and duplicate data. Some users tend to keep such files because they presume those might be helpful in the future, but it usually does not happen.

Storing of junk files generates expenses. According to Sirius Decisions studies, a single junk (useless) record in a database might cost a company up to USD 100 per year. Lane Four explains that this loss stems from wasted work time and potential customer losses. Even the most prominent company can lose millions of dollars each year if they do not get rid of their useless files. Outdated files can also be misleading. Using them for essential business decision-making may lead to a financial catastrophe. It is especially dangerous for teams and companies that use classic Project Management methodologies. A single decision based on a lousy batch of data at an early stage of the development cycle can mount up with each consecutive step, accumulating into a botched product or a poorly designed feature.   

On top of that, hoarding junk data can lead to legal problems, especially for companies that operate and gather information in EU countries. GDPR obliges them to collect only the necessary, minimum amount of data from their clients and users. Furthermore, these data must be easily accessible if they need to be deleted or edited and protected from a potential cyber-attack or a security breach. 

Project management can be described as a process of data management and effective communication. Every piece of useless file can harm these elements. Project managers work daily on tasks and assignments with specific parameters, like name, estimated effort, start, end date, or supervisor’s name. Also, data relations are essential, and BigPicture can visualize dependencies in work breakdown structure, which relies on many connections. 

If only one of the tasks’ parameters is incorrect, they can become junk data. In such a case, when the manager doesn’t know that or won’t spot the wrong set of information at the right time, he can jeopardize the entire undertaking. It begs the question: how can PPM software effectively help with junk data? BigPicture allows users to manage data in a few different ways. 

How BigPicture helps to solve the problem of junk data 

First of all, BigPicture is hosted on Jira, and Jira can be configured and used as a Single Source of Truth. This method structures data, information, and its elements in one place. Single Source of Truth provides relevant, accurate, and referable data. If employees use Jira as a project management tool exclusively, it most likely becomes their source of truth. The matter gets complicated when the number of tools in use is increasing. That’s why BigPicture 8 introduced Boxes – universal, multifunctional, deeply customizable management spaces for tasks, deliverables, resources, risks, and… other Boxes. With Boxes, users can organize all projects, programs, products, teams, or entire portfolios into various collections and track them scientifically. The system integrates with Jira and Trello. Moreover, each stakeholder, on the other hand, acts within their own Box. Thus, rather than getting distracted, the individual project manager is busy observing the initiatives related to their organizational role only.

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Another important feature is data selection. Team managers must choose which data sets and sub-sets are crucial to their work. BigPicture is so flexible that it allows this type of selection to work with valid data, e.g., fully customize column views in Gantt Chart and Scope. When team members update their tasks with selected software, BigPicture unifies this information for managers. 

For Teams, BigPicture is an excellent choice when planning a sprint. It gathers and presents all tasks and teams on a single board, where users can track progress with objectives and initiatives. It’s available for each member, meaning changes are visible and don’t interfere with the workflow.   

After blocking out the information noise and getting the most reliable data, managers can use BigPicture to visualize it and turn them into neat graphs. This form of presentation is much more pleasing, intuitive, and digestible for viewers. Filters and configuration are also helpful for business – they allow managers to access and view data necessary for a specific context.  

Junk data is a potential threat to a company’s workflow and security. With proper PPM tools like BigPicture, managers can hide data useless from their teams’ perspective and help employees be more productive. BigPicture allows assigning proper roles to each user, such as Viewer, Editor, or Administrator. This way a manager can assure that no unauthorized individuals would interfere with the project, especially by providing wrong data, which might lead to potentially harmful results. 

The amount of data in the world will only grow. What’s more shocking, around 73 percent of business data is unused. BigPicture allows companies to better navigate data and effectively eliminate junk pieces of information. 

Author: Grzegorz Burtan

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