8 Replies Latest reply on May 2, 2012 12:14 PM by Mike Moore

    Lessons Learned

    Craig Bloodworth

      Hi Everyone!


      I'm gearing up to establish a second user group in the UK, one based outside the natural base of London. Before I really get going I was hoping everybody would be willing to share some 'dos and don'ts' from your own user group organising experience. Is there anything a good session must have or something you tried which was really successful?


      Thanks in advance for any help you can give. Cheers,


        • 1. Lessons Learned
          Ilja Heitlager

          Hi Craig,


          Great to hear you want to start another group. First practical advise: find a partner to start the group, it helps! With NLTUG we would like to have a meeting once every two months and are about the have the second one. We find that the users really like to meetup. One thing we noticed in the first meeting is that a lot of users have lot's of hands on questions. Our first meeting was basically sending with presentations, we would like to get it more interactive.


          With respect to tooling: we just moved to our own group in this community site, to become more accessible. The dutch group was already active on linkedin and we will continue to keep that active. Next to that we have a twitter account and facebook, although the last one is not very popular. Ellie Fields can help you setting up meeting invites for your meetups, as expected the tableau people are very helpful.

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          • 2. Re: Lessons Learned
            Ben Jones

            Hi Craig,


            I just started the Los Angeles User Group this past January, so after 3 great monthly meetings I have some fresh perspective for you:


            Before your first session:

            1. (You're already doing this) - reach out to other user group organizers. I had a phone call with Andy Kriebel in Atlanta before my first session, and he was super helpful giving me advice on how to get started.
            2. Find a suitable room - it should have technical capabilities to support live web meetings, etc. My MBA school CLU has been kind enough to give us free use of a state-of-the-art facility, so I've been able to keep the group fee-free.
            3. Share the load - find a guest speaker to do a case study or hands-on training session (in our case, Joe Mako is not far, so we got lucky)
            4. Use Tableau's user group support team - Ellie Fields are her team will help get the word out and facilitate registration (special thanks to Kellie Osterhout for her help to date)
            5. Give plenty of advance notice - 2 weeks minimum, 3+ is best.  My biggest mistake so far was giving less than 1 weeks notice for the 2nd meeting, and had low attendance


            After the 1st meeting:

            1. Send out a follow-up email with links to your Tableau Community Page, LinkedIn group, etc.
            2. Post the slides to the Tableau Community Page
            3. Create a simple survey (surveymonkey, eg.) asking for feedback, and gauge interest in different types of meeting content, meeting frequency, location, etc, etc.
            4. Give the group a "save the date" for the next meeting


            I hope this helps!  Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help, and good luck getting started!



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            • 3. Re: Lessons Learned
              Jacqueline Taylor

              Hi Craig


              Ellie Fields asked me to reply to your post. As you know the UK Tableau User Group is the first and longest running user group. Post Barcelona we are arranging the next meeting, currently organising the keynote speaker and due to have a meeting with Concentra once we have bagged this. The Data Studio was a key partner with us in organising last years and Concentra have stepped forward to help organise the next one. So I agree with the point made by IIJA.


              We have community managers in the group who are Tableau Jedi and they help on an ongoing basis to answer questions and provide support, this is a key point.


              I am interested in the fact that you are planning to set up another group in the UK and would welcome a discussion as to what your objectives are in setting up this new group.


              Happy to provide more detailed feedback when we speak.


              Kind regards



              • 4. Re: Lessons Learned
                Michael F. Clarke

                I have started or participated in starting the Johns Hopkins Tableau users (private group, discusses internal data and strategy) and the Washington DC Tableau user group, later we merged the Baltimore Tableau Users into this group. Now, it appears there is a need for a Baltimore Tableau User group, because the DC group is meeting often at sites in Virginia and is quite a time commitment for the Baltimore Users. So, I started the Baltimore Tableau User group again.


                My recommendation is to manage the group using Linked-In. Members can self select to be included in group activities, recieve notices, and participate in discussion, The members background is already available on Linked In. Discussion in the meeting can be continued on the Linked In site, and the trail of the discussion can be followed by all interested users. The record of the discussion is on the site...


                This facilitates free organization of activity, and is self managing. Members can follow, discuss and post (or opt-back out) at their discretion.


                Keep meetings simple, allow time for users to mingle a little. They get a lot out of being able to ask really detaied questions to someone they think might be able to help. See if you can provide for a way for the meeting to continue "after hours" so discussions can continue conveniently...


                Try to get three to five decision makers to help run the meetings, location, logistics, etc. After the first year, rotate the members so that some remain for continuity, and some are new.


                Use the membership to display how they use Tableau and what they learned. This will really help after a while, because members will start to remember who can help with various issues.


                Introduce everyone and remember that members are all in different levels of awareness. Some will have enterprise-wide deployment that is heavily supported, Others with just have installed their first desktop. Most are somewhere in between.


                Tablaeu updates pretty often, so even experienced users can learn something about Tableau, almost all the time.


                If you are the organizer, just try to stay out of the way: Tableau has so much potential -- people don't need to be motivated to learn it, they just need someone who has solved the issues they have to help them see a way through.


                Don;t be surprised if a lot of the issues are about the data, instead of about Tableau. (If all data is clean data, Tabledau would work like a charm)


                Have a lot of fun!

                • 5. Re: Lessons Learned
                  Craig Bloodworth

                  Hi Jackie,


                  Thanks for the info on UK TUG as it stands, it's very useful to know how it operates. My primary driver for creating a second user group is to bring together Tableau users from outside of London (I've heard there's one or two of us now ;-). As you may know the cost of travel into the capital is quite high with a travel time for those in the north of at least 2 hours, for a single, free afternoon event this is quite an ask both in terms of spend and time.


                  If there's any other advice you may have I'd love to discuss further, I'm sure you've got my contact details.





                  • 6. Re: Lessons Learned
                    Craig Bloodworth

                    Thanks to everyone for your help! There seems to be consistency across everybody's advice which I'll be sure to take into account. For those outside the UK I'll feedback my experience and any other lessons learned, hopefully we should get a good crowd together.





                    • 7. Re: Lessons Learned
                      Jacqueline Taylor

                      Hiya Craig


                      Understood. If there are any specific questions you have, happy to have a chat (07789 966802). I'm regularly in the North (Leeds and Manchester) happy to meet up for a coffee to discuss in more detail if that suits you better.


                      Kind regards



                      • 8. Re: Lessons Learned
                        Mike Moore

                        Hi Craig,


                        I'm a member of the Greater Omaha Tableau User Group.  We've had two meetings so far and our third meet up is this Thursday.  I tell you what has seemed to work for us far...


                        1. Make sure the acronym for your group is really cool - like GOTUG!
                        2. Partner up with folks who you can bounce ideas of off and and get advice from.  Dan Murray from the Atlanta Tableau User Group or ATUG (another cool acronym!) is our mentor and he was our first guest speaker.  He's the Godfather of GOTUG!
                        3. It helps if you have lots of big companies or institutions that will make space available for meetings.  Millard Public Schools and Creighton University have been really good for us and we have members from a number of large companies in the area who have expressed interest in hosting meetings.
                        4. We meet quarterly.  We decided to do that as opposed to monthly.
                        5. Get good speakers.  Our local users have great stories and we always try to find a guest speaker from outside the area.  They are not that hard to find.  Look for the Tableau mavens out on Twitter or Google+.  So far we've had Dan Murray and Andy Kreibel present.  This week we're super excited to hear Tim Costello talk about parameters!
                        6. We poll our group at the end of each session to make sure our sessions are productive and meet the needs of our group.  One thing we learned is that most of us want more techniques and tips for using Tableau.  Our user want to improve their expertise with the tool.
                        7. Promote your group on the social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ but also leverage the folks at Tableau to spread word about your group and upcoming meetings.  We found that not everyone is actively engaged in social media.  I estimate that our group would be half it's size if we relied only on social media.


                        Good luck!