Whenever I meet people at various Tableau events, like at the big annual Tableau conference or the Singapore tableau user group I run, I get asked a common question: “How can I improve my Tableau skills?”
Whether they are new or old to Tableau, I always recommend they get involved with the Makeover Monday project. It’s a great community collaboration project set up by another Tableau Zen Master, Andy Kriebel and co ran with Eva Murray, where anyone is set the task to improve upon or build brand new data visualizations from public data sets, using the free software that anyone can download and use; Tableau Public. They do this every week, usually to the schedule below (all of this is in GMT, so adjust accordingly to your timezone):
- First they post an existing data viz and it’s data source up on their website.
- They then ask people to make their own data visualisations using Tableau Public, to improve upon the existing viz, and to then share their creations via Twitter with the hashtag #makeovermonday
- Monday & Tuesday
- This is when the bulk of the submissions come in, so if you want your content seen and featured in their content, try to aim to have things submitted by them
- Andy and Eva will host a webinar where they will provide live feedback on the entries for about an hour.
- They will send out a summary post on their website, recapping the whole event and their favourite picks.
This happens every week and as the data sets are unrelated and self contained, you aren’t left behind if you miss a week! This whole process is great for many reasons. Here are my top 5 reasons for getting into this awesome project:
- No data issues
- First, you don’t have to mess around with the data, which is often a barrier to people. It’s been pre vetted and ready to use
- Learn by doing
- Being given a set challenge and goal encourages you to get involved and try to get the most out of Tableau.
- I have learnt loads of things when making my own data visualisations and exploring new data sets
- Constructive feedback
- Even if it’s not amazing, the feedback you might get from Andy and Eva will help you learn and improve for next time
- Inspired by others
- Andy and Eva put their money where their mouths are and build their own data visualisations for that week and take you through their own design choices.
- Also when you see others visualisations for that week, you’ll see how many different ways there are to tackle the same challenge. If you see some you really like, you can always download their Tableau Public workbooks and figure out how they did it
- Fun & Community
- And lastly it’s just fun and you’ll be part of a global community. The last time I checked, if you’re having fun whilst learning, that’s not a bad combo!
So will you give Makeover Monday a go or have you already started? Let me know in the comments below!