365 Days of Random

Random musings about nothing at all

Training Woes

So today was day 1 of this two day training seminar that my company asked me to attend. I was very excited about the possibilities of this training. It’s a ‘google analytics training seminar’ and since I have a focus on reporting & analytic within my organization I was hoping to learn more about their information design and data visualization. Turns out today’s session was more about using th tool and the canned reports you can use with your company’s website.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten a few really good nuggets out of the session and really do think that tomorrow’s session will focus more on the stuff that I am particularly interested in. So in the end it will be very much worth it (at least I hope it will be). but I’ve spent a big part of the day listening to things that I learned about analyzing data about 2 years ago. There hasn’t been a lot of ‘new’ information for me.

This is the second time that I’ve been really excited about a training session only to get there and feel like it wasn’t entirely worth the cost. As I said, I still hold out high hopes for the tomorrow’s session, but it would be really great to find a training session that truly taught me something relevant and new. Sure, a lot of that is probably as much on me for not properly vetting the training before signing up. But some of it is the slight tendency for companies to oversell the training they offer.

One of the things that I’d really love to learn more about is information design and data visualization. Last year I attended an ‘Edward Tufte’ session about information design and I learned a lot that’s helped me progress in the reporting work that I do. But, a huge component of what makes his stuff so interesting, engaging and cool is the massive volume of data that’s included in his info graphics. I’d like to find a session (or course) where I can learn more about how to think about common (medium sized) sets of data and find better, simpler, more engaging ways to present that data.

So, fingers crossed for a more meaningful day tomorrow. When I get back to the office I may need to start looking again for a more relevant form of training to attend.

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August 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AHHH!!! Too much

Sorry… just need to get a bit of a rant out about work… I’ve spent my entire day today in meetings and tomorrow is worse. I literally have 15 mins free between 9am and 5pm – not sure when I am supposed to eat or even pee. I have two projects that are ridiculously behind schedule and nothing I can really do to bring them back in line. I am working as fast as I can and so are all the other people involved to bring things back into some semblance of ‘doable’. Here is one example of how crazy today was. I started meetings at 10am and before I knew it, it was 5pm. I had just started to write my post for the day and I got called into another meeting. This meeting ran until about 6:10 or so and I had to leave because I had a 7:30 softball game. I am just now getting back to trying to wrap up this post for the day.

There is no real reason for why we’re behind schedule with these projects other than we’re behind. My team just messed stuff up this time and didn’t get things done on time. Now we have to rely on the other members of our cross functional development team to be agile enough to ensure that the project as a whole completes successfully. One of the challenges that we face with this is that we need to really knock the UI and Experience out of the park. This is a HUGE feature that will impact ALL our clients and sets us up for some of the overall improvements we want to make to aspects of our Assessment product in the next couple of years. To some degree this experience we’re working on right now is a stepping stone to some GREAT things in the future. We should have started to work this out about 6 weeks ago…. but we didn’t really know what we were building with any amount of certainty until about 4 weeks ago. Then we needed to figure out all the functional stuff that would impact this and try and get the business objectives inline with what was a realistic development plan. This project has just been one big ball of hectic from day one. There is no shortage of competing priorities and more challenges to work out than I’ve had in a single product in a long time.

I think one of my biggest frustrations about today is that I am just not at all used to being behind schedule. It doesn’t happen to me very often and I really don’t like it. As much as it frustrates my development manager and cross functional team, I guarantee that it frustrates me more. I hate hate hate to not deliver things on time. One of my strongest qualities is generally my ability to handle a boat load of projects all at one time. Right now I really only have 3 major projects going on. You’d think that would mean I have time to handle everything that’s being thrown at me. I don’t have a good reason for why that’s not happening for me the way that it normally does. I think part of it is that I am constantly needing to switch contexts. None of the three major projects I am working on are incredibly related. Some have incredibly challenging design problems to solve. But all of them come from a different direction. And everyone thinks their project needs to be the highest priority.

For now I need to re-focus and get my current development projects back into full swing. This means I need to pull back from my more vision and strategy based projects in order to dedicate the time necessary to current development. As that just simply MUST be what’s priority one. Starting tomorrow I am going to practice the art of saying NO and just paying extra attention to the time I spend on what projects at what time in my week. Rather than front loading all meetings I need to request they be spread out so that I can actually have some good solid chunks of time in my day to really just buckle down and work. If I can do that I might just get all my projects into a semblance of order that stops stressing me out.

But on a good note, as you may have guessed, the break that was my evening softball game has definitely tempered the stress and frustration I was feeling when I started this post. Now to wrap things up… grab a little dinner and park my but in front of the TV with my BF for a little True Blood Season Three goodness.

May 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment