10 Tableau Maxims


10 Tableau Maxims

What is a maxim? According to Merriam-Webster: “A general truth, fundamental principle or rule of conduct.” 

Recently, I read a book called “Clear and Simple as the Truth” that got me thinking about maxims. The authors reference a French essayist named François de La Rochefoucauld, who wrote a book of maxims translated into English as “Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims,” published in 1665. 

François de La Rochefoucauld

Above: François de La Rochefoucauld.

La Rochefoucauld revised the book many times. The final version contains over 503 maxims about human nature. Here’s one of La Rochefoucauld’s maxims:

Maxim 250: “True eloquence consists in saying all that should be, not all that could be said.”

This got me thinking about maxims that relate to Tableau deployments, data visualization and data governance. Here are a few ideas.

My Tableau Maxims

Maxim 1: Strive for simplicity, accuracy and beauty in the visualizations and dashboards you create.

Maxim 2: Build your data ecosystem on the most granular data possible to encourage discovery and facilitate opportunity.

Maxim 3: Place accountability for the visualizations and dashboards being built on the people that are making them – not IT.

Maxim 4: Place accountability for the accuracy and completeness of source data on the IT/BI team, but only for the data they have been charged with owning.

Maxim 5: Reinventing the past is a recipe for disappointment. Encourage visual metaphors for expressing data and express only the data that is actually required in a text table.

Maxim 6: Strive to make your dashboards important, complete, self-contained and intelligible.

Maxim 7: Encourage learning by creating an internal user group that meets regularly. Assign responsibility for organizing and running this group to your best Tableau designers.

Maxim 8: Put comments in your dashboards to make navigation obvious, provide relevant context, anticipate questions that your design engenders and make the related details easy to access.

Maxim 9: Prioritizing security over accessibility reduces the timeliness and utility of data. Work to provide timely access without compromising security.

Maxim 10: Support your user community by supplying rapid response to requests for help – think same minute. Then, track your performance and build credibility by reporting your progress.

There’s No Max to Maxims

I’m sure there could be hundreds of maxims related to Tableau. What would you add to this list? Please share your ideas in the comments section.

If you need help applying these maxims to your Tableau endeavors, contact us. We can help.

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