This is more of a diary entry about my experience of DS13’s first client project.

Data Preparation:

The challenge I was working on didn’t require much data prep so I decided to help prepare date for a different challenge to speed things along for the rest of the team. I’m really lucky to be working with some amazing people, who are able to adapt to tough situations and look at the bigger picture to help others, so I wasn’t the only one who was prepping data that was for someone else to use.

Turned out, after spending hours helping to prepare for that different challenge, the team came across an obstacle which meant the data I had prepared was no longer being used. At this point, I was already working on creating visualisations for my own challenge so I wasn’t involved in the decision, but it did sting a little when I felt like my time prepping the data had been in vain. This feeling didn’t last long as I knew I needed to focus on my task and respect that my teammates were making the best decision based on the situation. I’ll be taking this as a learning experience that not everything goes to plan in client projects! Preparing data without knowing how you will visualise it brings the risk of not being able to use the data in the end for your intended purpose.

Designing Visualisations:

I had an idea in mind for a suitable chart type based on the data I was working with and the request made from the client: Slope charts. I was comparing two years worth of data so it was the first thing that came to mind. I went online to search for inspiration for my visualisation and tried to recreate some that I saw online with my own visualisations. I spent some time doing this before realising that the change over the two years was always too small and therefore the change wasn’t seen well in slope charts. I scrapped my slope chart dashboard and was back at square one! Another thing that didn’t go to plan. I still had quite some time left to work on the project and was glad I realised the problem with slope charts early on. The visualisation I came up with afterwards was far better than my initial idea anyway! This is a good example of when it’s better to look at the problem with fresh eyes rather than getting stuck working on something simply because you’ve already started it.

Creating Visualisations:

Once I had sketched out my dashboard, creating my dashboard didn’t take too long. I spent my extra time perfecting things and getting feedback from the rest of the group. I have to say, getting opinions from the rest of the team was extremely helpful and I gained a lot more confidence in my dashboard, which helped calm nerves during the presentation portion of this project. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook simple improvements that can be made when you’ve been working on one thing for a while so it’s important to get feedback from others.

Presenting:

I made sure to leave myself some time to rehearse with someone from my cohort. We decided to rehearse with someone who we hadn’t worked with during the project, so it would be more like presenting to someone outside of the project. I can’t tell you how valuable this rehearsal was. The difference in my presentation style compared to previous weeks was huge! I felt a lot more professional and sure of what I was saying when I presented. I really hope I manage to make time to rehearse each week. Now I’m sure you’re wondering if I was nervous at all. I felt it most while I was waiting for my turn to go up and present, but once I began presenting and it was all going to plan, my nerves were gone. We all received great feedback from the client and Andy Kriebel, so I’m really pumped up for our next client project!

Thanks for reading!

Kolsuma