I have previously blogged about the concept of jumping off points -- identifying subsets of data in a workflow that an analyst can run with. I often speak about this topic as well -- raw data can be overwhelming, and finding a way to present it to an analyst with a way forward can greatly improve productivity.
What I discovered last week was that this concept also holds with other types of work as well. I was working on a paper with another co-worker. We were having trouble finding a way forward until we identified a jumping off point that we could work from. Once we figured out our jumping off point, everything else flowed. It was amazing.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised by now that a structured, well organized approach would yield good results.