That's a conundrum for sure, but there is a happy balance. These are two topics I often see when I consult with clients about what they want to see in graphs and KPIs. Let's take a quick peek at where someone can be too general vs. too specific.
OVERSIMPLIFIED: Using "General Maintenance" or "Miscellaneous" too much.
A gentleman had a great idea to develop his first preventive maintenance schedules in PMDirect based on the emergencies and high priority items he had received over the years. I loved the idea until we looked at his data to see the top 5 "hot button" items for his building's occupants:
Heating/Ventilation /Air Conditioning: 35%
General Maintenance: 30%
So, here's the problem. General Maintenance really doesn't give true insight, at least not on the surface without some serious digging (which his boss and school board won't have time or patience to do). These "GM" work orders were for system installations, replacements, testings, inspections, power outages, equipment moving, etc. and were for electrical systems, glass, fountains, fire systems, furniture, HVAC and more. Also, it doesn't tell the true story in a visual or a quick statistic about what his team accomplishes or what skills are needed to hire a new employee.
No matter what, if there hadn't been a list of work orders, he would have been dead in the water in his goal, so luckily he has a database vs. their previous method of paper forms.
OVERCOMPLICATED: Creating too many categories in one dropdown box, when you can use two or three dropdown boxes.
When asking someone what they did in their previous database, they said they had codes for "Roof Leaks", "Fountain Leaks", "Toilet Leaks", "Urinal Leaks", "Valve Leaks", etc., etc. and all in one dropdown box on the work order form. They are very detail oriented and needed this data to analyze where problems trends were, especially for performing PMs to cut back on emergency situations. I recommended to keep it simple by creating a Purpose code in MaintenanceDirect for "Leaks". Then, use Classification and Type to identify if it was "Plumbing" as a Class and they could have a list of Types of plumbing items such as fountains or sinks. With this method, it is easy to trend and identify Leaks as an whole, but you could break it down into what was leaking without having a massive dropdown box or a graph that is hard to read.
You can see in this graph, I used a combination method to show the Purpose of work orders (this case, it is PM) vs. the Type of item being maintained:
The same holds true for Crafts in MaintenanceDirect and Problem Types in ITDirect as we outlined in an earlier post.