Background

At the Data School, the trainees do projects for clients partly for training and partly as a demonstration for potential customers. Our cohort is 8 people and we each take it in turn to be a project manager (PM), meaning we do 8 projects and this is typical for other UK cohorts too. The rest of the team does most of the “technical work” of the project (think ;ableau and Alteryx), where the PM is there for the higher level project work (think planning). I am the 7th person from my cohort to be the PM and so I have had the opportunity to learn from their work, but perhaps the pressure has risen by this point from the coaches to perform well.

I thought it would be interesting to log what I, the PM this week, was thinking on this day to try and demystify it.

The Log

7:00:00
become woke
7:01:00
check the shirt I had to hand wash last night is now dry
7:01:05
ERUPT IN LOUD CHEER THAT IT IS INDEED DRY
7:01:05 – 7:45
showering, organising, packing bag
7:45
Tell myself in the mirror that I will iron my shirt well
7:46
Commence ironing
7:55
It ain’t perfect, but I need to go. Kind of like presenting an unfinished project really
8:00
Scurry to work
8:15
Wave hello to the big pickle glistening in the sunshine
8:20-8:30
Internal repetition of ideas around:
– am I dressed appropriately?
– how can I help my team feel sure about their successes?
– what criticism we will receive in our project feedback?
8:36
Bounce into the office, quickly realising the my ironing was ineffective. My disappointment is immeasurable. I even watched a tutorial this morning on how to iron a sleeve well.
8:36 – 9:00
Breakfast in. Coffee in. Building up enthusiasm with the team to help keep today a productive and good one.
9:00
Catch ups with the team and progress checks. Relaying information between a few members how their work integrates together. Trying to ensure everyone has a clear focus and can use their time today productively.
9:30
Presentation slides are starting to come together and I’m thinking a lot about tying our story of the project together to create a good presentation flow.
9:30 – 12:30
Continuing to work on presentation
Reassuring team that things don’t have to be perfect.
Dashboard review with a team member and giving feedback. It’s shaping up nicely.
Give out Donuts to the team as per tradition 🍩
Declaring 1-3pm is practice time and all work should be complete by 12pm so lunch can be fit in and a break taken.
12:30 – 13:00
Getting penne pesto for lunch, not bad not bad, but start feeling too nervous to eat it half way through.
13:00 – 14:50
Accidentally giving feedback with dashboard recommendations too late in the day and scaring the designers.
Later telling dashboard designers to move past my feedback and concentrate on the presentation.
Reassure multiple team members individually that they have plenty to present and try to walk them through the topics they could talk about.
Realise that our working from home team member has poor audio quality and make decision for them not to present.
14:50
Loaded presentation title slide onto projector and froze the screen so that it stays up.
15:00
Client arrive, elbow bump due to CV-19, everyone sanitises hands, go to start presentation, BUT where the prep are DS19. Count them one by one to ensure the flock is present for our glory.
15:01 – 16:00
Presentation consisting of:
Introduction, setting the scene and introducing the team
Over to the data prep team going over their work, their successes, the limitations etc.
Over to the dashboarding team presenting their dashboards with similar discussion.
16:00
Be very happy with the team and their fantastic work.
Be pleased that we delivered to the client a big chunk of what they asked for.
Get feedback from coaches and account manager.
They seem happy and I am glad. Some surprise with how far we got.
Feel like they maybe went a bit soft on me because I literally broke down crying at work on Monday.

Done

Beer
Ping pong

In Summary

The project as a whole felt more stressful than challenging and Friday pretty much felt the same as the other days aside the pre-presentation anxiety. I spent a lot of the day communicating with my team, ensuring we work cohesively and aiding with any issues. It has been quite a rough week but I think being in a similar situation in the future would now be easier, which I believe is partly why we do it.

In retrospect, Friday was fine and the project went well. So all is good. (❁´◡`❁)