BI consultants the hard way: structuring mail and tasks

‘When you start working as a consultant in a new environment, usually you have given very little tools to be productive; so it’s smarter to build some strategy to play at the best. Here I would like to share with you what I’ve developed for me hoping it’ll be useful for you too’

So you have a mail client (usually outlook); the first is to create subfolder to divide the emails by subject/task and to keep a sort of Action logs

Example here

Each folder refers a row in a excel that you might call Action Logs or something like that, in which you keep track of the progress; while in the mail folders you can keep together the various emails exchanged with team/ business users

It’s useful to create a lookup sheet with the current state ex Closed, Fixing, Open; you might use this approach if other task tracking tools are not available to you (Jira, TFS etc)

You might even add some extra columns to add a priority and UID

I’ve found using the UID is very useful when dealing with a lot of mails and related deliverables so you can easily identify them; an idea is to add a hyperlink to to create a unique ID for a new task and use that value in the mails/folder mail container so a search would retrieve only related items.

Finally even having a code repository it’s good to keep some backups on intermediate work; an approach would be to create a folder for each task with some batch that would copy the data/files to a backup folder

The grab batch basically dump the content and call the archive utility and increment to the next ids so the copies are isolated from each other

Echo !!!! —————– !!!
Echo !!!! Add History Notes !!!
Echo !!!! —————– !!!
call notepad t%TaskID%.txt
REM *** move old 7zip and Zip new files
move *.7z %BakDir%
for /f %%a IN (‘dir /b *.$$$’) do “_7-ZipPortable_\App\7-Zip\7z.exe” a -r %%~na.bkp.7z t%TaskID%.txt
for /f %%a IN (‘dir /b *.$$$’) do “_7-ZipPortable_\App\7-Zip\7z.exe” a -r %%~na.bkp.7z %%a
for /f %%a IN (‘dir /b *.$$$’) do “_7-ZipPortable_\App\7-Zip\7z.exe” a -r %%~na.bkp.7z “%WorkingDir%\*”
call next.bat
echo *** TaskID=%TaskID%
echo *** DirToBkp=%DirToBkp%
echo *** WorkingDir=%WorkingDir%
if NOT “%WorkingDir%” == “_working_” echo *** Be Carefull with this change, you might delete all your disk
echo *** BakDir=%BakDir%
dir /b %BakDir%
echo *** Latest bkp
dir /b *.7z /od

And the next

REM at the beginning the file 1.$$$ should exist
@echo OFF
set /a myID=0
set /a myIDPrev=%myID%
set /a myID=%myID%+1
IF NOT EXIST %myIDPrev%.$$$ (GOTO AddOne)
del %myIDPrev%.$$$
DATE /T>>%myID%.$$$
TIME /T>>%myID%.$$$
echo ***v%myID%>>%myID%.$$$

I think this is a good start to keep a bit of structure in the daily task even if you land on a new project where you cannot bring/have your ideal tool-belt


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