In my spare time lately, I have been studying. My partner Patric deserves special recognition for handling the bulk of homestead related activities as I park myself in front of the computer each evening to delve into the specifics of Z scores, standard deviation, degrees of freedom, probability and regression analysis.
It is interesting and also quite challenging to be facing an exam with the practice question: “43.5% of students pass this certification exam. The department head is sending 12 people from your company to take the exam and says that if you all pass you will each receive a bonus trip to Hawaii. What is the probability that you will be travelling?”
Low, very, very low.
A working knowledge of statistics is a very useful item for your legal business toolbox. For example: Business question: Do we need another printer? A predictable answer based on applied statistics might look something like: What is the mean time to failure for the models of printers in this area, the probability of down time for all the printers in this corner of the office, the relationship between ‘missing’ print jobs and the number of people printing to one device.
If like me, you haven’t used applied statistics lately and you need a little help there are resources available. Your local public library probably has Statistics for Dummies or another readable primer. The dummies.com site offers some cheat sheets so that you can remind yourself of basic rules and formulas for business statistics, common statistics, and probability. I am usually just offended by the title of this series of books, but these tools are very handy.