by Jenny Martin

Confession: I don’t think that I’m naturally a very good team player

When presented with a task, the first thing that I want to do is dive into the detail and unpick the problem. I want to translate it into words that my own brain can understand and, honestly, I fear that adding another person into the mix would only hinder this process.

So why did I enjoy working collaboratively in week 5 so much?

Put simply, I had a great partner.

Natalia and I have different styles and different strengths, but this week I gained an appreciation for how beneficial that can be to a project. Our different skill sets complemented one another really well and we’re both really proud of the work we produced.

Learning from Natalia’s strengths

First off, Natalia creates beautiful vizzes. You should definitely check out her Tableau Public Profile to see what I mean. Watching her build the dashboard taught me a lot about style and design, which are areas that I am looking to improve. Her patience and attention to detail is definitely something I’ll be striving towards.

Still having space to think

Another thing that I found really interesting this week was the importance of space. Although we were working together, that didn’t mean we had to 100% understand what the other was doing at all times. Often, our most productive discussions happened after we had both been off doing our own thing for a little while.

I think this experience will be good to call upon as an example in the future, if ever I find myself working with someone who has yet to see the value of space. I found it much easier to explain my ideas after I’d had the chance to work on them for a little while – regardless of whether they were successful or not.

Respecting one another’s ideas

One area of collaboration that I’ve struggled with in the past is putting forward my ideas in the right way. You don’t want to be too polite and only discuss your partner’s ideas, but you also don’t want to only dominate with your own.

Natalia and I did well here by each giving a summary of our thoughts, identifying where they aligned and building it from there (kind of like doing an inner join). We also maintained a focus on delivering a minimum value product first, parking some of our ideas into the “if we have time at the end” column.

So, in summary, thank you, Natalia!

I learnt a lot about how to build a successful partnership and, more importantly, how to enjoy teamwork. There’s definitely still more I need to learn, but luckily there are many more client project in our Data School future and plenty more opportunities to work together.