Well, I haven't really worked with 1.1 since 2.0 went gold, I was thinking of getting rid of the support for 1.1 (though I can make a mock-up version for 1.1, and never really update it ever, or something).
What it does is that when it is first used, groups can be assigned to specific columns. It uses a database query to update the list of groups you can sort up. All the groups you sort up are then sorted up into a data array and is passed on to when you view the page itself-- when you view the page itself, it caches all the groups you defined.
After that it queries all the possible member data that the groups hold (it stops looking after 100 members, though, I had trouble thinking of a limit but this mod is intended to show staff, most people don't have over 100 staff members in the same group). This limit can be easily altered though. From there it caches all the member data, and then the mod will continue to use the cache until a new member is added to a group that was defined, or if you edit any of the mod settings.
I didn't build it with using the cache as absolute as it still makes the queries it needs, it just utilizes the cache more. The only problem is that if members update their avatar or other info, it won't be reflected on the staff page until the cache is dropped. Though I don't really see that as much of a problem right now.