Fresh from project week 2, I decided to note which actions made the biggest difference for the DSAU19 cohort. It might not be the ‘secret sauce’ just yet, but we’re well on our way to a winning formula!

Standups:

During project week 1, DSAU19 missed out on the opportunity to have daily standups due to a shortened work week and a variety of other factors. However, during the reflection on the previous week, it became apparent that it was important to implement them. So, during project week 2, we started having daily standups (yes, we did physically stand up), which provided a great opportunity for the teams (of which there were 4) to share their progress, what data they were looking at, and their plans for the next steps. This helped everyone to understand who was ahead and who needed help. Luckily, everyone was willing to ask for help, share resources, and assist each other.

Progress reports:

With one trainer off-site, it was crucial to have a record of what the teams were doing throughout the day. As the project team lead, I started sending daily progress reports to our trainers, David and Ross, around 5pm.

Deadlines:

During the reflection on the previous week, we also realised the importance of deadlines. We found that we had run out of time on Friday to work on presentations, leaving no time to make changes after consulting with the trainers. Therefore, we decided to set a deadline for Tableau dashboards by end of day Thursday to give us enough time to make changes after consulting with Ross. Despite best laid plans, this did get pushed back to Friday morning, but we still managed to have enough time to practice our presentations and prepare with Ross.

Randomised teams:

To form teams, we used an online teams generator, which assigned people to teams at random. This had some benefits, such as giving people a chance to work closely together with colleagues they might not have spent much time with. However, it also had some negatives, as it didn’t guarantee a diverse skillset. Nonetheless, we found the exercise to be worthwhile, and it enabled all four teams to complete workflows in Alteryx and create one or more Tableau dashboards.

Final thoughts as project lead:

As the project lead, it was a tricky week to navigate. I’m not super technically skilled (yet) so I didn’t feel like I could offer a whole lot of assistance in that way. Instead, I was able to support my colleagues by listening to their data stories, offering my thoughts on presentations and explaining where further explanation was needed as a user, which I received positive feedback about.

Overall, the feedback we had from Ross and David made me feel like project week 2 had gone well, owing largely to introducing things like daily standups, forming small teams and implementing a few key deadlines throughout the week. Implementing daily progress reports to help our trainers stay informed was another plus noted by David.

We can only improve further as we venture into the next project week!

 

The Data School
Author: The Data School