Second Client Project, First Imposter Syndrome Case

by Alessandro Costanzo

Last week I wrote a blog post in which I explained the work that my fellow DSers and I have carried out for our first client project at the Data School. This week, instead I will focus on the difficulties I have encountered during our second client project and how these reflected in my actual presentation.

Last week client project was very different than our first one. This time we had to deal with a company operating at a global scale, with a large amount of raw data that needed preparation and interpretation.

For this fact, our work during the week has been mainly carried out in Alteryx. The challenge I was assigned to consisted of flag specific items and find a way to merge this information effectively with different datasets.

Unfortunately, I do not consider myself fully familiar with Alteryx just yet, due to this, I found this week project much more difficult than the previous one.

I believe that for the first time since the beginning of my training at the Data School, I have experienced what here we call the Imposter Syndrome. It represents the feeling of being out of context, especially where compared with peers.

During the week I spent a lot of time reviewing my work since I wasn’t 100% sure of the accurateness of the data myself. At the same time, I noticed how some of my peers produced much more articulate workflow much easier than me.

This made me feel quite a few times ‘out of place’ and had a negative effect on my overall productivity over the week.

Despite the difficulties, Debora and I have managed to produce an Alteryx workflow by Thursday, and we then spent the remaining time in building a dashboard to display this output.

The syndrome appeared in this stage as well. I wasn’t very happy with my dashboard, I thought it was very basic and therefore largely improvable.

I believe that my insecurity was visible during the actual presentation. Andy and Carl make me notice this during the feedback time and pointed out how I apologetic I looked during the presentation.

After the presentation, I had a chance to have a chat with one of the clients, which actually praised my work. I explained to him the difficulty I have encountered and the reasons for my insecurity during the demonstration.

He reassured me telling me that he found the information on the dashboard useful to answer some business question and that my Alteryx workflow, despite being simplistic, delivered its purpose. He also added that they were not expecting a perfect work, but rather a good proof of concept which could be finalised by their internal employee.

Other feedback from former DSers went in the same direction. I was told that it is important to not undervalue your own work, otherwise, this will reflect badly in the message delivery.

This is the most important lesson I take this week, not to undervalue my own work, and not let negative thinking impact my performance.

I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last to experience Imposter Syndrome, other DSers Seffana and Louise have written about this topic in the past. Check their blog posts too!

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