I've been teaching Tableau a lot and recently I started using Tableau Explorer to do the training since that's what the client is using. First off, what a great way to give some power to the people. I love this solution! In Explorer, you get most of what most people need. This post is part one of two parts; information you should have readily available for Explorers when training (based on my experience). The next post is functionality that feels like it's missing to me.
Tableau has put together a nice bit of information on explaining the license types and what may be best for your organization. You can find it here. Once you've made that decision, then it's time to train your users and 99% of the time, you'll need a vendor to do that. Being a contractor that provides training, I want to share a few questions I've received so that it helps your organization when it comes time to rollout the product and training.
"We're going this because..."
Share background information. Yes, you may have already said it before, but people are busy, so please say it again. In my experience as a Reporting and Analytics Team Lead where we were championing Tableau, some people won't be happy about the transition or maybe they just have questions about their role/license. Communicating out the why and what each person's value is, is really important.
"After this training, here's how we will support you."
Soooo many questions arise as people start to use Tableau, from technical tips to data management/governance. My advice is to spend a little time on the front-end to prepare people to be successful with the tool after training.
Where can people go to with questions after the training? We've all been there, right? You learn something in a tool and it's like "I've got this!!" only to use it in real time, and wonder "How did we do that in class?" Making sure that people know where a communication portal/hub/whatever-you-call-it is and what resources are available there is SUPER helpful. Even FAQs like, "If you used to connect directly to data sources and now have an Explorer license, here's the process to get access to your data."
Who can people go to after training? There will be a Tableau champion/evangelist emerge. One way to help identify them is through having internal user group meetings/meet ups. Sometimes people think of Tableau as just another piece of software, like Excel and you probably don't have meetups about Excel. But Tableau isn't Excel and there is a learning curve associated with it. To help identify these champions or leaders, having a space for people to talk Tableau is super helpful! Here's a link to Tableau's 'Internal User Group Best Practices' information that can help you set up an internal user group. Support people when they want to talk Tableau. It will help your analysts product better analytics.
What do people do after training? Practice and get involved with the local/online Tableau and data visualization community. Practice will help you/your people get better. Whether it's a social project like Workout Wednesday or just a data set you find online. It's also really helpful to have people get involved with the Tableau community. It's more than just tweets. Being involved looks differently for everyone (it might be the Community Forums, twitter, Tableau User Groups, or something else. What I do know is that building out your Tableau network is helpful when you need additional support and is a great way to give back to others on their Tableau journey.
I love training and I really hope that everyone falls in love with how impactful data visualization and Tableau can be. But above all else, I want people to feel comfortably uncomfortable and conversant in their dataviz/Tableau journey.
If you haven't read or heard, Tableau and Salesforce have cancelled their in-person events. You can read about it on their FAQ page here.
I know that the Tableau fanatics, the active members of the community are super disappointed. I think the general sentiment I've heard is, "It sucks, but I guess it's the best decision." And while we may put on a cheery face in public, I know that behind the scenes, some people are having a difficult time dealing with this.
You may have thought (or, if we're being honest, heard from a partner or friend),
"It's just a work event, what's the issue?
For those who want it to be more than an education, it is. Tableau Conference is a place where you can learn an amazing amount of information, you really can't get anywhere else, it's a place to connect and create community. I have met my best friend through the conference as well as people who are just so super supportive and whom I'm proud to call friends. And I won't be seeing them. In the case of my best friend, this is the first time in eight years, we won't be at conference to meet up, give each other a big hug, and hang out. Or seeing my friends from Australia. And I'm just one upon thousands who feel the same. And beyond the positive, BFF vibes, there are some people who look forward to this conference because they can come and be accepted for who they are and that's something that they don't get at work or at home. They feel seen. From what I've learned through my research for work, is that people have the need to be and to belong. Tableau Conference definitely helps us meet that need to belong.
So when something like that it taken away from us, what do we do?
I am seriously going to miss seeing the Tableau community members that I've seen for nine years (my first conference experience was at the Las Vegas Wynn hotel in 2011 when I thought it was big at ~1600 people in attendance).
I know that Tableau will host an amazing virtual event. We will get the conference buzz (but with better coffee). I for one, am looking forward to seeing my friends from all over the world in 2021.
I'm not a mental health professional, so I don't feel comfortable doling out advice, especially if people feel a loss so deep. That's why I asked Dr. Jen Bauer to share some ways that we can cope with this change.
In this current state of uncertainty, with so many losses occurring, we are likely to feel a sense of grief. Many people are finding that they are experiencing ambiguous loss without closure, such as major events being postponed until further notice or even a loved one without the chance to attend a funeral. Losses are occurring on all levels both big and small.
You may even find yourself falling into the various stages of grief including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Contrary to popular belief, grief is not linear and not everyone experiences the different stages of grief.
We have the choice in this situation to continue to be emotional about the loss or to allow some grieving and then find hope for the future. Having hope for the future and practicing mindfulness can be helpful for our mindset and are necessary to pull us out of a dark place. Our thoughts actually have the ability to put us into the fight-flight-freeze mode if we let them. Don’t let them.
Begin by practicing mindful moments throughout the day. Mindfulness is being in the present moment, non-judgmentally. Notice thoughts and let them go as if they are on a conveyor belt. Don’t hold onto them.
We live in an age where technology is at our fingertips which includes the ability to connect and socialize with others. It’s time to get creative. Connect on a videocall with groups of people you would have enjoyed being around and that fill you up. Start to think about the next opportunity you’ll have, perhaps how next year might be so much better! You can build on a positive mindset and have hope.
Some amazing resources include the apps Headspace, Calm, and Mindshift. Deepak Chopra has an excellent 21-day guided meditation with Oprah titled Hope In Uncertain Times. He also provides a variety of articles that discuss ways to cope during this time. Reach out to others to connect, you may be safe at home but you’re not alone!
If you want to chat about it, please reach out to me or another trusted person in your circle. And should the need arise, where friendly conversations aren't cutting it, please reach out to a mental health professional.
My sincere thanks to Jennifer Bauer, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist, whom contributed to this post. Should you have questions or need to reach out to her, you can do so by emailing her here.
Be well, friends.
Helping people and organizations begin their data visualization and Tableau journey. I'm a fan of training, Tableau, data viz, my kids, cupcakes, and fitness.