My 2017 #DataMemories

I have enjoyed reading everyone’s #DataMemories in the last few days, so here is my tuppenceworth – five data highlights from 2017, and one lowlight!

The highlights

  • Promoting Data Visualisation within Lloyds Banking Group

One of my two main achievements in my most recent role was the Data Visualisation page I established on the Group’s internal collaboration site (Jive), which brought together all the expertise across the organisation into one place.

As well as creating engaging content including monthly Data Viz digests, a series on unusual graphs, and webinars on how to create effective infographics, I helped to establish the annual Viz of the Year competition and enable best practices to be shared across the Group.

When I left in November (more of which later), the page was in the top 50 most followed sites out of almost 7,000 and in the right hands to make it even more successful.

  • Embedding Tableau within my team, and creating new advocates

My other big achievement was to finally secure access to Tableau Desktop for my team (three years after my first attempt, albeit in a different role).

Through a mix of one-to-one coaching, team self-learning and regular Show and Tells (with Tableau swag as prizes) I was able to upskill a team of 7 analysts and develop a core of Tableau enthusiasts within the department.

It wasn’t a total success – I was still battling for Server access when I left – but it was the first big step in the transformation from providing old school, semi-manual MI to self-serve reporting and meaningful insight.

  • Becoming more involved in the Tableau community

I made more of an effort to attend Tableau User Groups and engage on Twitter in 2017 and I continue to be inspired and educated by the wider community.

Of those I met in person at either the Midlands or London User Groups I would like to thank and give a big shout out to Elena Hristozova, Ali Motion, Neil Richards, Chris Love, Neil Davidson, Sarah Bartlett and Simon Beaumont, with apologies for those I may have missed.

I even left my comfort zone to present my National Student Survey dashboard at Leicester (fuzzy photographic evidence courtesy of Neil Richards) – for more of the dashboards shown see Elena’s post NSS 2017: One data set, many approaches.

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Of those I have only engaged with on Twitter, I would particularly like to thank Andy Kriebel and Eva Murray for all their hard work sourcing datasets and providing critiques for Makeover Monday, which formed the basis of over half the vizzes (25/46) I added to my portfolio this year.

  • Putting more time aside for learning, and seeing the results

At the start of the year I reduced my hours so I could spend more time developing my Tableau skills and creating a portfolio.  Then in May my manager offered to pay me for the development time as there was a clear benefit to the business – big mistake!

My good intentions to ring fence my Fridays soon went out the window and the demands of the day job muscled out my development time.

In November I left my job to take a career break, and learnt more in the last two months of the year than in the rest put together – I personally feel that there is a clear increase in quality from the start to the end of the year, with more to come in 2018.

2017 – first 5 vizzes:

Made using TurboCollage from www.TurboCollage.com

2017 – last 7 vizzes:

Made using TurboCollage from www.TurboCollage.com

I even made Viz of the Day in November for this effort, which made the Tableau Public team’s top 40 Team Picks: Notable Vizzes of 2017:

30 Sustainable Public Transport

  • Becoming a Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate

In December I took – and passed – the Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate exam, luckily submitting my answers just minutes before my internet connection went down!

As someone who is self-taught I found it very useful to learn in a more structured way and fill in some gaps in my knowledge – I found Mark Edwards’ blog post on the exam experience (and the embedded Tiny Tableau Talk by Joanna Hemingway) an excellent resource to help me prepare.

The lowlight

  • When is 74.6% higher than 75%?

The lowlight was a lost afternoon justifying to a senior colleague why my team was reporting her department as Red on a KPI which came in at 74.6%, below the target of 75%.

Her argument was that if you rounded the number up it was the same as the target (and yes, we reported it to 1 decimal place, or with greater precision if just under target).

The silver lining was that this crystallized my perception of elements of the wider culture, and how numbers were used within the area I worked in.  I had been considering – and planning financially for – a career break for over a year, and this helped give me the little nudge required to change paths.

So an exciting 2018 is in store!  Keep an eye on the blog for my New Year #VizGoals (one of which – spoiler alert – is to start blogging again more often).

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