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A Dashboard Project – and Possibly Some Basic Analytics

New Project for November 2015While I continue the roll out and training on the report automation project, I’m starting a new project. But before I start describing, in vague terms, my new project, I want to talk about something I learned about training on the report automation. A lot of the folks that I train are not familiar with computers or spreadsheets, so I have to train from the perspective of never having seen Excel. While that perspective may sound extreme, it’s really not that far from reality. What I’m doing now is after I train them, I hand over the screen to them and have them do the report. There is a three-fold reason for this: 1) to make sure my training is clear (I am not a trainer by nature); 2) to give them practice and have that practice as part of their memory when it comes time to do the report on Mondays; and 3) to handle any unique computer layout such as no Excel software or inability to download data from a supplier. The third item is really critical. Since they are not familiar with computers, they are unable to solve problems that come up. The problems generally involve downloading, enabling macros, or opening files properly. So I am testing to make sure their computer is set up properly.

Okay, now back to the new project. This one looks like it will be a dashboard type project with maybe some very rudimentary analytics. I think it will also embed some elements of project management because of the way I’m developing the dashboard. We’re going to be bringing in a lot of new people so we need a method of managing the influx of new people. This project was given to me with the idea that they are looking to me to design the solution, i.e., they are not dictating to me. I think they want to see what I come up with first before closing off options. I’m rushing to get some prototypes of preliminary ideas to show, so I can elicit some information on the goals or end deliverables they are seeking. Once I find out, I can include it.

Like I said, I am designing a dashboard type report that will help manage the influx of new people as well as provide some analytics throughout the year. I don’t think it will have any predictive elements because we don’t have any data to perform predictions – at least I don’t think we do. I did some research, mainly through the internet and readings, to get some ideas of common KPI indicators or common thoughts surrounding managing influx of people. I’m also trying to think of something totally off the wall but still be valuable. I haven’t thought of anything new yet but I’m still trying. At the moment, I’m rushing to develop a prototype which I hope will generate some new ideas as well as lead to asking what is the business problem they are trying to solve. Once I have an idea of what they are trying to achieve, I can then dig into what kinds of data are available and where the data will come from and is it easy to obtain. I will also need to find out the formats of the data (text, values, or something else). Finally, I need to answer the question of the frequency of updates.

Hopefully, I’ll learn something new from this interesting project.

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