This week, I volunteered to be the project lead. I was nervous about it, as my personality is not the leadership type and I usually don’t like telling people what to do or solving any issues with people. Luckily, since we already had two projects under our belt, the team knew the workflow, so I didn’t have to stress much. Additionally, we worked with MIP, an internal project, so we could ask them questions whenever we needed. As a result, we had a fun project, and I loved it.

On Monday, we had a team meeting. After the meeting, I had a quick meeting with my team to discuss the requirements and assign tasks. First, I defined the problem by talking about what the customer needs, including two points: expressly stated needs and anticipated upstream and downstream needs. Second, I discussed the business context, which included two parts: operational and commercial. Finally, I outlined the project plan, including overall tasks, data collection and preparation (including the systems and types of data to be used), data analysis (including the methods to be used), and presentation preparation (including the creation of visual guides, packs, speaker notes, and mock-ups to preview what is expected).

Then we break down the tasks, first, we identify the technical skills required for each task and select a team based on those skills. Our team is composed of experts in data collection and preparation, data analysis, and presentation.

Next, we break down the project into distinct stages, starting with data collection and preparation. This stage involves obtaining customer resources such as logos and identifying relevant organizational stakeholders. We also understand their focus and pain points, obtain inputs from the data analysis team, and brainstorm the data story. Once we have completed the data collection and preparation stage, we move on to the data analysis stage. To ensure that the project stays on track, we timebox each task. This helps us to meet deadlines and keep the project moving forward in a structured manner.

After a week of work, we showed the clients our findings and they were happy with what we had done. As the project lead, I learned that I need to improve my leadership skills and communicate with people more often. Sometimes, I may need to push people to work faster to ensure that the project stays on track.

The Data School
Author: The Data School