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

Procrastination

I had grand plans for my day at work today. I have this “Design Brief” that I need to finish writing. It’s part of my strategy Design work and is due at the end of next week. I made a good start on it a couple of days ago but it’s the kind of thing you really have to sit down and focus on. I had intended to start working on it at 11am after the only meeting on my calendar was over.

Instead, I’ve spent the morning trying to sort out why the recently released version of our software has all kinds of bugs in it that really shouldn’t have made it into the final release of the product. So far some of them can be traced to the specific configuration the client reporting the problem has set up, but others are just bad… I’ve also been spending a good couple of hours cleaning up a variety of small tasks related to the Accessibility program that I run. While these things are all really important, they are definitely NOT getting my design brief accomplished.

The biggest challenge with that is that you really truly have to be in the right mind set to write one of these things. And I can’t seem to get my brain back to that place. It’s now almost 2:30 and I am sitting here writing my daily post instead of trying to settle my thoughts onto the background and audience for my product so that I can write those sections of the brief. It’s just another way for me to procrastinate.

But, that said, I guess it’s not truly procrastination… in the truest sense procrastination means finding things to do that can keep you from doing something you don’t really want to do. I DO want to finish this brief. It’s the first time our company has ever written them and it’s been a really interesting exercise to get my head up out of the weeds and think about the high level strategic overview and reasons for what we want to focus on for the next 18 months of development time. The problem is that it’s not easy to do that AND trouble shoot the fire drill of bugs that keep coming in about our current release. Working on the brief requires me to stay OUT of the weeds and focused on the 50000 foot view of our products. Dealing with the bugs requires me to think about every nitty gritty little detail of the project we just completed and to try and find where we missed something within the testing strategy that I approved. Those are VERY opposing mind sets that really don’t lend themselves to happening in the same day.

So, I am sitting here a little irked that my quiet day which was intended to have been spent 100% focused on finishing my design brief has been completely turned on it’s head. I would like to be able to leave the office at 5pm today – cause I am very much looking forward to going home and taking care of my BF who could just use a bit of special treatment this evening – but my week next week is totally insane and if I can find a way to really focus for the next two hours I may be able to make some good progress the remaining sections of my design brief.

Off to give it a shot at least. Fingers crossed for no more fire drills interrupting my thought process.

August 5, 2011 Posted by | Random | , , , , , , | Leave a comment