This work is what launched me into the world of development and solidly formed the idea in my mind that whatever you can conceive in your imagination, you can bring into the world with your skills and creativity.
I was just a consultant, a job I had barely met the requirements for but once my foot was in the door I proved myself to be a valuable member of the team. My role at Added Insight was primarily to look after candidates, organising and administering their assessments, interpreting and writing up psychological test results, and exit interviewing past employees from a large New Zealand retail organisation over the phone. This was the bread and butter of the business until an opportunity arose to branch into something new.
One of New Zealand's largest companies was on the lookout for a provider of a 360 Surveying solution. My boss had largely handled the research of a survey provider and agreeing on a report format with the company's HR team, but here I saw an opportunity to improve our processes.
Our initial solution was effective, but it was very labour intensive. Everything had to be done manually. Lists of survey respondents had to be uploaded, data had to be downloaded, then analyses had to be done to make graphs, and comments needed to be placed in a document for each person undergoing the survey. The projects often involved hundreds of people and up to about 20 reports (~10,000 words each). Although I had not used Excel or Visual Basic for Applications much beforehand, I knew that there was a way to reduce the work involved and ensure there was more consistency in our work, so I set out to build a program that would automate the data analysis and report creation aspects of the job.
After much learning using the internet and trial and error, my solution reduced the time we spent creating reports by about 2/3. I had put a monumental amount of thought into creating the analyses and it was not possible for data to be incorrectly calculated using my methods. We had to routinely deal with incomplete responses, uncommitted responses, combining participant relationships, and at the same time had to conceal everybody's identity, but our data integrity did not take a hit to meet these requirements.
By now there have likely been upwards of 1000 reports created using this software. The knowledge, skills, and practices I acquired during this work formed the basis of my ongoing automation and analysis work such as the Online 360 Application for Added Insight, and Psychological Assessment Scoring Software.