Importance of Communication

There are several real-life skills I have learned from this IS/OM Practicum Course. From project management skills to technical skills, I know that I will be able to apply these skills somewhere down my future career path. However, it was not an easy journey in my team’s project completion. When my team and I met with our client for the first time to discuss our task at hand, I had little to no idea what they were asking us to do. As a junior who has not taken a lot of major IS courses, I did not feel prepared to tackle their issue. There were several things I had to learn for myself and with my team and it all turned out to be very valuable in my learning throughout the semester.

One of the things was clear communication with our client and our mentor. I had previously never experienced working one-on-one with a client. It took plenty of time and effort as well as collaboration with my team to learn how we can best connect with our client. This included learning how to set up meetings, send emails with concise updates, and make the information ‘business friendly’. As a result, I have gained a lot of soft skills, including problem-solving, active listening, and the willingness to learn. Moreover, there would be times where we would struggle with our code and visualizations. We figured that we would need to seek help outside of the classroom. We connected with a great mentor, and we had to communicate what the project scope was and what kind of help we were hoping to seek from them. Ultimately, we were able to utilize more machine learning algorithms models and interpret our models for our client in a clearer manner with our mentor’s help.

Another thing we learned was related to team management and organization. We had to focus on setting aside time outside of class and completing work at the deadlines. It was quite the semester for me and my team members and with our busy schedules, we had to make sure we found time to meet. It was very useful that we found resources and tools early on to help us find those times in each of our schedules and set one day of the week free to Zoom with one another. Since this was a semester-long project, we had to ensure that we were completing portions of our project by the deadlines. This was important so that our client could see our progress, follow along, and make corrections for us as needed. We also found it beneficial to assign tasks for one another through a task manager. Additionally, we discussed our tasks in person and through Zoom to make sure that we knew what each member was working on and see if we could help one another in the process.

All in all, this course taught me how to communicate clearly with a client and/or professional and efficiently collaborate on a team. I am thankful for all the help we received from our professor, fellow classmates, and mentor in finishing this project. I have learned many leadership and organizational skills that I know I can bring to my future careers. I am truly grateful to have had this opportunity to potentially make an impact on a real business and I hope to have more experiences like this one moving forward.