I recently attended a great, one-day seminar by Edward Tufte. It was full of highly valuable strategies for presenting visual information and very inspirational. He definitely isn't afraid to challenge conventional notions in interesting ways. If you are interested in data, communication, and data visualization you should take the opportunity and see him.
All this got me thinking about my own work differently, and how I can work with my company's data to improve our work on projects. I work for a consulting company and we have lots of data on project execution - hours used, features completed, velocity, and client satisfaction especially.
I immediately started to dig into our project data burn data on project with lots of preconceived notions about what I would see in terms of the shape and composition of projects. Some of these preconceived notions were valid, and some of them were way off.
I am in the process of trying to come up with some base visualizations I can use (easily) across all projects and also re-evaluating my preconceived notions in the process.
A good opportunity to take a deep breath and listen, instead of trying to force my preconceived notions onto data that is clearly contradicting them.