NFL, Sherlock Holmes, and Core Reports
Updated: Jan 20, 2022
Watching the NFL, I heard the announcer tell the audience, “The Colts are 9-0 this season when their star running back rushes for 100 yards and 0-6 when he doesn’t.” They failed to mention that the same Colts team was 9-6 when he rushed for 1 yard. In a famous novel, Sherlock Holmes states, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” A frequent scenario I see in financial institutions is this. A subject matter expert requests specific data from their core. A tech specialist runs a query, returns the exact data, and makes executive-level decisions. Unbeknownst to either the SME or the query writer is that another small dataset should be added for the analysis to be 100% correct and was not.
Six months later, someone catches the error. Why? How? As in football or a Sherlock novel, we see data or facts and naturally make a fit because that’s what we were initially looking for; self-validating instead of validating oneself. Simple controls such as using the “spot-check” or a "sample size" audit can help during this process. However, a full query analysis review can provide greater assistance. We can take the hand-off and help either way.