Benefits of creating a Storyboard for Analytics Projects

Storyboards are graphics , generally a series of illustrations or images, much like a comic book. It enables us to understand how the story or situation will unfold.

The idea of storyboarding, was developed at the Walt Disney studio during the early 1930s. An animator with the Walt Disney Studios by the name of Webb Smith came up with the idea of drawing scenes on separate sheets of paper and pinning them up on a bulletin board to tell a story. This concept had evolved from comic book like story sketches . It has become the first draft of movies . Thus, a film storyboard is essentially a large comic book of the film, which helps the film directors and sponsors to visualise and take decisions on the movie. In theatre, a storyboard is frequently used to understand layout of scenes. In business, storyboards are used for planning advertising campaigns, proposals, business presentations with an intent to convince people to take actions. It is a good way to create the business case and is often the stage before the prototype of a technology is created.

Figure 1 :- Sample Storyboard  Source :-
Figure 1 :- Sample Storyboard

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Sample storyboard 2
Figure 2 :- Sample storyboard 2

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In analytics, a storyboard can be used:-

  1. Externally: – for the Client
  • To represent to a possible client the stages and benefits of Analytics to solve a business problem
  • To discuss the process and way forward in a project
  1. Internally: – for Consultants and Analysts
  • To educate them on a processes / stages in projects commonly or frequently executed
  • To do project management and planning internally for the execution of a project
  • To understand workflows and contributors in a client’s business for the analytics team.

Pre-requisites for the storyboard.

To create a storyboard, there should be some clarity on the problem at hand , the solution and the process to be followed/ recommended to be followed to solve the problem or implement the solution. Thus, a storyboard works well post the brainstorming session once concrete ideas are decided upon.

Most consultants and analysts have some standard procedural stages in will which they will execute the project. For example, I generally follow the process of DCOVA and I to solve a business problem using analytics. Thus, my storyboard is divided into these six sections of :-

  1. What is the business problem ? How can I write it in statistical terms –DEFINE
  2. Where will I get my data ? What is relevant data for the project ? – COLLECT
  3. What are the transformations needed to make the data ready for Analytics? – ORGANISE
  4. How does my data look, especially in the context of the business problem / Y variable ? – VISUALISE
  5. What is the statistical technique to be used for creating the solution ? –ANALYSE
  6. What is the final solution proposed / recommendation? – INSIGHT GENERATION

How do I use storyboarding externally, while dealing with a client?

  1. To represent to a possible client the stages and benefits of Analytics to solve a business problem:– Sometimes a client approaches me with a problem. He has heard about analytics, but is unable to understand how or what analytics actually is. For this client, I generally create a storyboard detailing the above-mentioned six stages in context to the problem. This enables him to understand if he wants the problem solved using analytics and makes him comfortable with taking the project ahead.
  2. To discuss the process and way forward in a project :- Sometimes the client understands and is sure that he wishes to use analytics. However, he is unable to appreciate how much time would be used for that particular project or what would be the stages in that project. I use a storyboard to show him the stages and help him set up toll-gates for the project. We then use the toll-gates to monitor the progress of the project.

How have I use story boards internally :- for Consultants and Analysts

  1. To educate them on a processes / stages in projects : – When a new team member joins, it is important for him to understand the process and the stages that I generally like to follow in the execution of a project. This is best demonstrative to him using a storyboard to take him through some of the common projects that I work on frequently.
  2. To do project management and planning internally for the execution of a project:– When the team gets a new project, we need to understand who needs to work on which parts of the project, depending on their skills. We also need to allocate time to execute the same. A storyboard is a great way to reach a common understanding and execution plan.
  3. To understand workflows and contributors in a business for the analytics team.- Sometimes we get projects from businesses. We have never been exposed to before. To even understand the problem statement, the type of data that will be relevant, the way the data is stored and captured in the business, is not very easy. A storyboard makes it much easier to understand.

Do you use storyboarding in your organisation? Do share your feedback . My mail id remains

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