Five cohorts already? What we'll cover in week 1 of The Data School

by Andy Kriebel

Not even two years have passed and we’re already starting the 5th cohort at The Data School. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed and how I continue to look forward to each new cohort. Clearly that’s a sign that I’m in a job I love!

The first week is quite a blur for the consultants. They have to consume so much information so quickly and I know it’s overwhelming, so that’s why we repeat everything, lots and lots of times, throughout their training. At the end of the week they will present a makeover of their Data School application.

Here’s the breakdown of what we cover in the first week:

Monday

I always arrive super early on day 1. Heck, I don’t even need an alarm I’m so filled with excitement and anticipation. It was great to come in and see all of their kits already prepared for them by Mel Elwin, our Operations Manager.

Once everyone arrives, they get a great welcome to TIL from Tom Brown followed by a few hours getting their laptops set up by Craig Bloodworth.

That takes us into the early afternoon, from which I take over and their formal training begins. I believe in setting them up with a strong foundation, so I run them through a data viz best practices class. This includes lots of hand drawing. We talk about a bit of theory, then they split into pairs and makeover a viz by hand focusing on what works, what doesn’t, and how they can make it more effective. Each pair then presents their work.

We repeat this over and over as I continue to add more theory. Normally this continues until the end of day 1. However, I wanted them to do a more formal presentation on their first day. Yup, you read that right, their first day and they already have to present. At 3:25pm the timer started and off they went to work on Makeover Monday week 7. We stopped promptly at 4:25pm and everyone presented what they created. They had yet to have any formal Tableau training, yet they STILL created some amazing work. This is what happens when you hire smart people and give them easy to use tools.

Tuesday

Tuesday starts with Dan Raines reviewing his take on Tableau in the marketplace, how he positions Tableau, and how what his role is at TIL and how the consultants can help him. We’ll follow up after Dan by finishing up the data viz class before they work on their second project: analyzing TIL time sheets. They’ll present these Wednesday morning as I have to leave a bit early for a family Valentine’s Day date at Five Guys!

Wednesday

Formal Tableau training starts on Wednesday. Many of them have used Tableau for a bit, however, making them start from the very basics will reinforce what they already know and also show them the best way to “teach” Tableau. Their formal training requires them to build hundreds and hundreds of charts. There’s really no way to get better at Tableau then to use it.

Zen Master Rob Radburn will be popping by in the morning to inspire them with his work and talk about the impact they can have in the Community. I’m secretly hoping he brings Joe along for the trip!

Lastly, they will get an hour or so to work on their application makeovers.

Thursday

At the end of each cohort, I take them through a start/stop/continue exercise. This helps us continuously improve the curriculum. What that’s led to is a bit of a change in week 1. DS4 felt it was critical for DS5 to get an intro to Tableau Server in week 1, so Jonathan MacDonald will come in and give them a half-day overview.

James Eiloart will stop by for his regular, incredibly inspiring session. James is one my favorite guest speaker, amongst an incredible array of great guest speakers. James’ commitment to us at The Data School shows how Tableau believes in what we are doing, believes in them as consultants, and “gets” what we’re trying to build.

Thursday at 3pm the team will present their application makeovers. You’re welcome to join us as we live stream it. In week 1, they’ll have given three presentations in four days. Pretty strong effort there!

Thursday night is the DS5 welcome party at Lucky Voice! Week 1, karaoke, lots of new people, what could possibly go wrong? The big surprise this time is that my wife is coming along. This will be her first DS party and quite the indoctrination it will be.

Friday

If the last karaoke party is a barometer, Thursday be a late, late night, so I’ve given the team Friday off (Really I’ll need Friday off). I’m hoping they use the day to catch up on things they want to learn and write a blog post or two.

The pace is crazy. The training is deep. The people are smart. This is The Data School.

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Andy Kriebel

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