Brijj request forms are a simple way for your stakeholders to ask questions of your data teams. They ensure you’re given the right amount of context up front. They make sure that all requests and questions are collected, so none fall through the cracks. They help you quantify and prove the scope of the work you manage. And they provide vital data on the work you accept, and the work that you don’t.

Why does this matter and how does it help me?

Most data projects start in the same way. Someone, somewhere in your organisation has a question. That can be something simple like a director asking “how many sales did we make to this segment last year”. Here the analysis is obvious, the data is modelled, the answer is simple and the result is “a number”.

The other end of that spectrum is a multi faceted project which informs organisational strategic decisions. The “question” asked isn’t simple, singular or answered with ease. Still, at its core, someone, somewhere needs information they do not currently have.

What this means is that whether you are an insight, BI or analytics team you’ll be asked questions. But what’s the best way to take in these questions and manage them?

If you are like the other 90% of teams out there, you’ll rely on legacy methods like email, chat or face to face interaction.

And this is fine, to an extent. We say this because you don’t want to put up too many barriers. Making it easy for stakeholders to engage with you is essential. But there are some intrinsic issues with taking in questions in this way.

The biggest issue is that its messy data. Why spend all day tidying data to derive meaning out of it, to then collect messy data on the very nature of your work? Having multiple channels to take in work breeds inconsistency, it risks questions falling through the gaps. Its not bad practice per se, but is it best-practice?

As a manager or leader ask yourself;

If questions are coming to analysts through personal channels, like chats or emails, how do you know you’re seeing everything?

Truthfully, how many times does an email provide you with the context you need? When you go into a requirements meeting do you sometimes find the initial request has changed?

How do you record the nature of your work? Do you know the number of projects you deliver by person, department, date and output type? Do you know which questions are asked most frequently? Do you know the full scope of your organisations need? Do you know which questions you can and cant ask?

You can only have this if you collect this data consistently.

There are two essential parts to the questions you’ll receive. These have a huge impact on the success of a data and insight project.

What do you want to know, and what do you actually want to do with that information when you get it? These two questions work together. Because what you want to do should inform what you need to know, and what you want to know informs what you need to do.

Do you collect and record these two tenants in your intake process? If I were to ask you; “for every piece of work over the last year, what did the person want to know, and what did they want to do?” Would you be able to tell me?

And if you cant, how do you prove that you actually delivered on a project without knowing the initial intent?

Many teams already use some kind of request form to solve some of these problems. Its one of the simplest things you can do.

This is what Brijj’s best practice forms do. They train your data consumers to think in the right way from the beginning. They’re similar to email so they don’t put up a barrier, but they provide more context, leading to less back and forth. They gather the nuance you need. For instance, what’s the intent, or whether your stakeholder wants an evaluation or proof. They are customisable so that you can expand the question set to fit your own organisation.

Starting a data project depends on you ensuring the right questions are asked.

You should have a consistent, method to gain this context for all your stakeholders. And they should have that consistency, regardless of which data team they’re engaging with. With Brijj, you can provide that one place, and start projects the right way.