I’ve been working with reports for near 5 years now in some capacity – At a business level, a personal level, open-source project level. Through various stages of my professional career I’ve been told that my report designs have been… Aesthetically unappealing.

NOW during my first 2 years of reporting I didn’t really care about the way the results looked, my job was to get the data, pull it out of whatever system was being used and just let managers fiddle with the results in Excel and show their managers what was needed. Great.

At some point in my last job, I was responsible for getting reports out to customers and I was informed that my reports could use some care as they were now going directly out to customers – F*** – That was scary.

At that point, changes started happening (And have been continuing to happen/improve):

  • Text formatting
  • Text alignment
  • Table spacing
  • Text spacing
  • Indentation
  • Branding (Corporate/Non-Corporate)

These haven’t always been correct, but luckily I’ve had 2 direct managers with very specific requirements when it came to “How a report should look” and because of that there has been this odd thing – which I rarely recognise unless pointed out to me –  called personal growth within business.  I’ve noticed that my 2 managers (Both being at director/head of level – With a lot of patience!) have made me change the way I work in day to day tasks. Not only with report structures.

The way I write word documents have changed (Tables of tables, structures, versioning and branding), the way I structure reports within BIDS (List above) without thinking about it (E.g. 4pt padding on the left of all column titles, certain background colours and fonts) and even the way I approach problems (Big picture more than small section) – It’s weird. My way of working has turned from “How do I think it should look” to “How does the business expect it to look” and honestly, massive improvements all around.

Hell, I guess the only way to grow in business/technology is to be criticised. Who’d have thought. (Shame there are no sarcasm tags.)

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