Here are my three main reflections about the DS first project week.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up
Communication, or lack thereof, often plays a large role in the success or failure of any given project. It is important to try and communicate your thoughts. You have another way you can think of doing something? Say it! Disagree with some of the directions that have been taken by the project manager for the week? Say it. By voicing your opinion, you are offering an avenue for discussion: it will allow for people to explain, in maybe clearer terms, the reasoning behind their original ideas, and give a space of discussing the implications of those choices. In the event that it doesn’t change the direction, it helps put everyone on the same page. Teams who communicate effectively and efficiently tend to get over hurdles and difficulties a lot faster. For that however, team members need to keep an open mind about their methodology, more on that in the next point.
- Be open minded about challenging your choices and listening to the thoughts of others
As a continuation of the previous point, while it is important to speak up, it is equally as important to listen with an open mind. Offering an open ear to the comments and opinions of your team will allow for a vastly improved experience for everyone involved in the project. It is quite easy to fall into the trap of getting attached to the methodology and choices that you have come up with. Opening discussion gives you a chance to explain your reasons for choosing to do things a certain way, but also gives the opportunity for someone else to suggest an alternative methodology which you did not think about.
- Don’t be afraid to ask (for help, for advice)
Some projects can be quite large, and solving certain parts of them can also be very tricky. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, might it be from the rest of your project team or of the wider company. Sticking to a stubborn mentality of ‘I will succeed at solving this even if it takes me the day’ can lead you to waste a lot of time that could have been used more efficiently and effectively by listening to someone explain to you how to do that very thing and practising it until you understand it yourself. Similarly, if you aren’t sure of which angle to take when approaching a part of the project, asking someone for advice from the get go will help you put into perspective the task at hand and what needs to be done.