When several different people have editing privileges for configurations in an analytics tool, disaster awaits if there aren’t ground rules.
Here are some tried and true ground rules we have published among ourselves to avoid being shorthanded due to one of the analysts being in jail on grounds of assault on another analyst.
Analyst Ground Rules
- Create a sandbox profile for each analytics team member. Each analyst can use theirs (and ONLY theirs) to create and test new or modified configurations.
- Team members should put their initials somewhere in the “Name” field of all custom items they create. That means custom reports, dimensions, filters, measures, content groups, path analysis definitions, URL search & replace rules, URL rebuilding rules, templates, dashboards, or profiles. We Outsiders happen to like having the initials at the beginning of the name for alphabetization purposes, but there are other approaches.
- In addition, it might be a good idea to create a Category for each analyst. Finding one’s own items then becomes easy when looking at long lists of configs – just sort the list by Category.
- Nobody is allowed to alter anything that has another analyst’s initials, unless there is a damn good reason, some communication happens, and the reason is documented somewhere.
- The Change Comment box that pops up whenever something is saved is not optional. Comments should be done every time, and should be complete and clear enough to be understandable six months from now. This is part of the ground rules among analysts, but it’s also an important practice even if you are the only analyst around.
- Anybody on the team can, of course, freely re-use something with another analyst’s initials on it, by applying those items as-is (no changes!) to one’s own reports or profiles. However, everybody should remember that the owner of a configuration might change it, so be prepared for that.
- There are many out-of-the-box reports that don’t have any initials. They appear in config lists as plain black type, no underlines or hyperlinks. Luckily, they cannot be edited. So, if someone wants to modify an out-of-the-box report, they’ll have to copy it, add their initials, then do their modifications.
- There are two, exactly two, out-of-the-box items that CAN be edited. Be ultra-careful with these: Paths from Entry and Content Paths from Entry. It’s possible to edit the number of steps in these. There is only one of each allowed in all of your Webtrends installation; they cannot be cloned. So, be aware that if somebody changes the number of steps in the one-and-only master configuration, they will be erasing all already-analyzed data in all instances of those from-entry reports in all profiles. Get together, decide as a group on the number of steps you want in all future uses of these reports, and keep the above in mind.
- Finally, remember the license constraints if you are using OnDemand. Your Webtrends OnDemand license allows you a certain number of profiles and a certain number of “custom report tokens,” which are the sum of all custom reports that are assigned to the sum of all profiles. Get to know the rules of how they are tallied and manage accordingly.
Let us know if you have improvements or alternatives. And if you want to wing it without implementing ground rules like the above, don’t contact us to bail you out of jail!