DSAU25 second completed client project was with an Australian tourism company. We primarily worked in Power BI, using Power Query to restructure their current data model and create visualizations that would allow them the ability to understand visually what was occurring in their business, as opposed to just viewing the cold, hard numbers. We also made sure to allow for the ability to seamlessly implement their future data into the model, so as to visualize their present progress concurrently with day-to-day operations.

As the project leader and scrum master for this client project, it was up to me to communicate with the clients, delegate roles and tasks to team members, and ensure we remained on schedule through diligent timeboxing and maintenance of our programme and agenda. One of the important daily tasks I had, before we began any work on the project for that day, was to hold our scrum meetings. This is where we would stand around a table and each talk about what we had previously been doing, what we needed to work on today, and whether there were any blockages that needed to be sorted before being able to focus on the task at hand.

Our week began with a 9am meeting with the clients, followed by a review of the data and a brainstorm of what exactly we needed to do with the data model. I tried to lead the way in terms of delegation, splitting the parts of the project into chunks for everyone to take a bite out of (figuratively), which was followed by a long, arduous process of data cleaning and transformation. Wednesday was the day for our mid-week check up with the clients, and beforehand I ran a quick brainstorm on what we wanted our visualizations to look like, which consisted of the creation of a couple of dashboard sketches. On the fifth day of the week, which is Friday, I made sure to run a practice presentation session, where Beth gave us feedback on our respective parts for the presentation.

Our delivery of our dashboards was, in my mind, exemplary, but as the project leader, there were many behind the scenes aspects that were equally as important as the final product. I made sure to take down lots of notes on what the client was discussing and any specific things they wanted us to include in our dashboard. This was in both our initial and Wednesday meetings.

Our brainstorming process included discussing what our main deliverables for the project were, as well as outlining what tasks needed to be completed and a basic timeline for when we wanted to have them done by. This all needed to be documented in what is known as a ‘sprint planning’ worksheet. I also included a tab where I documented any questions that we wanted to ask the client during our Wednesday catch up. Below is how the tasks tab looked, with the red indicating the various tabs.

Finally, our final presentation was backed up by some slides, indicating any requirements for the project, the agenda for our presentation, and what everyone’s respective parts encompassed.

I feel like I did well for my first time as a project leader, however I do think there were a number of things I wish I had done better and would advise any future project leaders to do. The first is to get a bit more hands on with the project, in order to stay up to date with everyone’s tasks and the progress being made on the project as a whole. There were times I felt a bit on the sidelines, and even though project leaders don’t have a whole section to finish themselves on the project, there were smaller areas I feel I could’ve helped more in, such as the initial data modelling stage.

I made sure to check in with how the other team members were progressing often, but I feel I could’ve documented their tasks and created a more effective checklist that would help everyone see what stage everyone’s on regarding their individual parts. While the sprint planning document took down important tasks and outlined a basic timeline and main deliverables, more rigorous documentation would have been useful for understanding each step of our project after the presentation and while we were reflecting on the week.

The final thing I would recommend is to run a tighter ship on meetings and deadlines. While I enjoyed the casual approach I tried to take, I feel the meetings sometimes were more of a quick overview on what everyone’s been up to and what they plan to do next, rather than a conscientious group analysis on our project’s progress. Meeting notes would be a good idea for this, so there is documentation everyone can access that details the exact stage of work team members are currently on.

Nicholas Seah
Author: Nicholas Seah