What a week! Dashboard week has quite a reputation within the DataSchool and it lived up to the expectations. It was lots of fun. Yes, sometimes a bit intensive, as we tackled a new project each day–challenging enough to be exciting but not so difficult to be overwhelmed. But so much fun!
The 5 stages of Dashboard week
During the first hour of almost every day, while we started to explore the data, we went through the 5 stages of Dashboard week:
- Denial and isolation – “This cannot be happening, there is no way this is happening” (*first day that was the whole thought, subsequent days the thought persisted, only with the added “…again”).
- Anger – aimed at different people/objects: from the one suggesting the topic (I’m not thinking of any French guy in particular here), to the Alteryx workflow not doing what our minds were telling it to do.
- Bargaining – If only I had practiced more what Catherine taught us; If only!
- Depression – At this point, the only thing we wanted was a boiling kettle (or a cup of coffee) to have while mourning.
- Acceptance – gradually, at different speeds on different days, we eventually accepted that the task at hand was real, and it was going to be up to us to do it.
I have really enjoyed this week: moving a bit out of the comfort zone, but still in a friendly environment. Some of my take-away points:
- Feel comfortable being uncomfortable: accept that your final output is not going to match your expectations for other projects when you have plenty of time and resources. This is something I feel quite a few of us struggle with.
- Accept “failure”: Second day. I hit a mental block and lack of inspiration for most part of the morning. After input from other people in the room, I had an idea of what I wanted to build. So, I started to build it. Fast forward a few hours: the idea was not compatible with the outlined requirements for the project. I faced two options: admit defeat and go back to start, or admit defeat and go forward. I went with the latter, experimenting with new approaches that somehow resemble the original requirements. And was way more fun (even as I realize I was only able to do that because of Andy’s flexibility).
- Experiment with new things and ideas: I feel I have learned a lot in these few days about how Tableau works (cannot understand how it has taken me more than 2 months to use my first GIF in a dashboard!*), lateral thinking (that I usually struggle with), my first floating dashboard …
- The importance of spending some time away from the project – and how I don’t entirely like the format of one project per day:
- You start tackling the project in the morning, while you are fresh (which is good).
- You end up polishing the views the last thing in the afternoon, while you are tired (at least I was) and more prone to making mistakes (which is bad).
- Quite often I have had ideas once I spent some hours without thinking on the project. But, by then, it was too late and with little time to implement (except a couple last minute additions added just before the presentations) (which is bad).
- This makes 2 bads and one good. An alternative that, should we have another dashboard week, I would like to try is to allocate the same time per project, but offsetting the start/end. i.e. presentations before lunch, start new project after lunch, thus building into the schedule time away from the project.
These are the results of Dashboard Week:
- Where should you move in the US to experience the worst living conditions? How many people live in that situation?
- Where should you go to maximize your opportunities of being considered attractive?
- Who are the most succinct and verbose of DSers? What are the implications of that? (internal use only).
- What cheese should you choose by “name” or “character” – literally?
- Who fell to the pull of the Dark Side of the Force?