Help for forecasting practitioners

Hyndsight

I often get email from forecasters wanting assistance. As much as I’d like to provide a free forecasting advice service to the world, that’s not what I’m paid to do, and I choose to spend my unpaid time on other things. However, there are some very helpful resources available for forecasting practitioners.

First, every practicing forecaster should be reading Foresight. It is far and away the best journal or magazine for forecast practitioners. Subscribe, read it, buy the back issues. You won’t be disappointed. Please pass this on to every forecaster you know.

Next, get on to CrossValidated.com. It is designed for people to ask questions and there’s usually someone out there who might be able to answer. There’s also an active LinkedIn group for forecasting where some discussion of forecasting issues takes place.

Attend the International Forecasting Symposium. A mix of academics and practitioners attend, and it is a great opportunity to find out what others are doing, and to learn some new techniques. The next one is in Boston in June 2012.

Also, get on the IIF email list. That way you will find out about meetings and activity in the forecasting world.

Read the best books. I usually recommend that practitioners get hold of the following two books.

These books won first and second prizes, respectively, for the best forecasting books to be written during the first 25 years of the IIF. (Yes, I did co-author the second one so my recommendation is biased.)

Finally, make sure you are using some decent software. The majority of questions I’m asked are easily solved by just getting hold of some good forecasting software. The best stand-alone forecasting package I know of is ForecastPro. If you must use Excel (ugh), at least get a decent forecasting add-in such as PeerForecaster. But best of all, learn R and use the forecast package.

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