For people in the data visualisation community, Makeover Monday should be a familiar.
Makeover Monday a weekly project where Eva Murray and Andy Kriebel post a link to a chart, and its data, and then people around the world rework the chart to retell the story more effectively, or find a new story in the data. The emphasis is to "focus on what works, what doesn’t work, why those things don’t work, and how you made it better," and to do something quickly ("consider time-boxing yourself to one hour").
What I love about this project is:
- I can use my lunchtimes to refresh myself or try out a new data visualisation technique or tool, and
- it allows you to think critically about a new dataset and the question at hand. Simply put, the act of making a chart should be an act of critical thinking. Deciding what to emphasise and relate should be driven by the issue the data is trying to asses, and the audience you have in mind for presenting the chart to.
This, I believe, is great for business analysts. It's a chance to take an hour off your normal day job, and provide some mental agility to go with your sandwich. Whether or not you develop a chart in end, reviewing other peoples' work and identifying improvements is beneficial.
To complement this, when considering the data and charts in Makeover Monday, and your own work in general, I recommend Kaiser Fung's very useful framework for assessing a visualisation:
- What is the question?
- What does the data say?
- What does the visual say?
Give it a go and have fun!