Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" seems to be popping up everywhere these days with her book and Netflix show. I decided to take the principles of her KonMari Method and see how we can apply them to how we build Anaplan Models.
The KonMari.com website explains the method:
The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category–not by location–beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service–then let them go. People around the world have been drawn to this philosophy not only due to its effectiveness but also because it places great importance on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking.
The six basic principles of tidying tweaked for Anaplan:
I found it was easy to relate this back to cleaning up Anaplan models I have worked on in the past. Instead of thinking of it as tidying up I thought of it as ways I could organize, improve performance, improve efficiency, simplify, etc. The principles that seemed most relatable to Anaplan are tidying by category (i.e., going through each category of the contents pane in Anaplan) and making sure I followed the right order.
Before cleaning a model, it’s essential to take a 'Copy and Archive' just in case anything should go wrong during the model cleanup.
This is the order I use when tidying up Anaplan models:
A general tip I use when cleaning my models is to export the model blueprint files to Excel and use filtering and simple formulas in Excel to figure out what items to focus on. As I go through my model, I tag items with the word DELETE_ in front of their name and move them to the bottom of the page view. After circling through the different areas, I then come back at the end of the exercise and physically start deleting items in the same order mentioned above.
Diving into each of these sections, here are some tips for how to clean up each one:
Identify ten of your largest modules (again use export to excel and sort on cell count), run through the following set of questions for each one:
The results of this exercise will vary model to model, but in my experience, I've found the 80/20 rule applies to pulling the ten or so largest modules and seeing that they take up anywhere from 75%-95% of the space within a model. Because these modules take up the majority of the model spending time making sure they are providing value in the most efficient way possible can lead to immense improvements in model quality.
Make sure that these ten modules are using model building best practices will set up the rest of the model up for success.
Ask yourself the following questions for each dashboard:
When performing this exercise, it might help to put on the "hat" of the end user. Set your security access to be the same as the end user to get in the correct mindset. The purpose of this exercise is to make dashboards simple and easy to use. Changes to how the models are organized, text headers, synchronized selection, and more can all improve the user experience.
This list should act as a foundation and can be applied to any Anaplan model. Even just choosing one category to organize and clean can be a method to 'spark joy' in your Anaplan model. Following through on the task of tidying up your Anaplan model will lead to not only joy, but also increased efficiency, performance, and productivity.
Frankie Wolf is a Senior Solution Architect in Anaplan’s Professional Services team. She has been building Anaplan models for around 4 years across multiple industries and use cases.